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David Hogg targeted by ‘swatting’ prankster as police descend on home

June 5, 2018 GMT

A “swatting” prankster hit the family of gun-control activist David Hogg on Tuesday, falsely telling the police a hostage situation was brewing at their home in Parkland, Florida.

Mr. Hogg was not at home, according to WPLG-TV, the NBC affiliate in South Florida.

The Coral Springs Fire Rescue department sent a unit to the scene and Broward County Sheriff’s Office also sent a helicopter and its deputies fanned through the neighborhood before learning there was nothing amiss.

Mr. Hogg, who was in Washington at the time with his mother on a political trip, told WPLG in a phone call that the swatting was “really a distraction” and “evidence of the fact of how many people are trying to stop us from what we’re trying to do, which is stop these kids from dying.”

Swatting, which has become a common practice in the internet and social media era, is the practice of falsely claiming a crisis requiring an armed response is ongoing at that targeted person’s home. In extreme cases, police can accidentally or inadvertently shoot or kill people.

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Courtney Keisen, who lives in the neighborhood and also attends Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, told the NBC affiliate that she saw two police cars and two motorcycles.

“Today, we’re walking -- we’re going for a walk, and we saw some helicopters here, so we’re like, ‘Oh my God. What’s going on?’” neighbor Marcia Marques also told WPLG.