NewsLEX 18 Investigates

Actions

'I saw an officer with a gun pointed at me': Georgetown couple shaken up after swatting incident

Animated GIF-downsized_large.gif
Posted at 11:56 AM, Apr 15, 2021

GEORGETOWN, Ky. (LEX 18) — March 9th is a night that one Scott County couple wished had never happened.

"We were sitting in our living room watching TV, it was about 9:00 p.m. when my phone rang; it was my neighbor," said the husband who asked not to be identified.

It wasn't a neighbor on the other end of the call, it was a Scott County Sheriff's deputy asking him if his wife was at home and okay.

"I said yeah, she's okay. What is going on?"

Suddenly the couple's home was surrounded by police.

"I saw the officers in my yard, my neighbors' yards they were hunkered down running through the yards I could see the rifles," said the male victim.

The couple soon found out they were "swatted." Someone who said he was a 16-year-old boy called 911 to report he shot his mother in the face and was contemplating suicide. The hoax was said to have happened at the couple's home.

The family's security video captured the terrifying ordeal as the husband walked out of the house with his hands up in the air before more than a dozen armed deputies.

Georgetown swatting incident caught on camera

"They started screaming at me, hands higher, hands higher walk towards the voice," the male victim reflected.

Meanwhile, his wife was still inside the home and wasn't sure what was happening until she walked to the front door.

"I saw an officer with a gun pointed at me," she reflected.

Soon, deputies explained that the couple had been "swatted." That's when someone falsely reports a serious crime to get police and swat teams to break into a home. In 2017, a Wichita man died when police say a "serial swatter" falsely reported that a homicide had taken place at the victim's home.

The innocent targets in Georgetown say deputies handled the tense situation well and believe other law enforcement could use the couple's security video for training.

"If they need a playbook on how to handle it the right way, then they need to look at how the Scott County Sheriff's Dept handled it," said the husband.

As for the investigation, Scott County Sheriff Tony Hampton says it's doubtful they will find the person responsible because people mask their phone numbers in a variety of ways.

"The calls can come from anywhere," said Hampton.

Despite the terror, the victims went through and the enormous emergency response, there is little punishment for pranksters in Kentucky.

"There's no specific charge for swatting, I think it would be a good thing if we could get legislation passed to make it a felony," said Hampton.

He says the suspect would only face a charge of falsely reporting an incident, which is a misdemeanor.

"Yeah, to me that's a joke," said the male victim.

The couple hopes lawmakers make "swatting" a felony.

"100% this should be a felony crime," said the female victim. "We're still dealing with the trauma from this."