We Are Witnessing the Result of Swatting and Immature Game Rivalries
Two suspects have been taken into custody two years after allegedly making a prank call that led to the shooting of an innocent minor. Police in Howard County, Maryland were called and steered to the house of one Tyran Dobbs. The prank caller, posing as Dobbs, claimed to have barricaded the house and demanded $15,000 for the freeing of fictional hostages. Ultimately, this led to the real Dobbs–completely oblivious when the police stormed his house–getting shot twice, once in the face. All this came about, apparently, by a dispute over an online video game.
According to The Independent, 21-year old Robert McDaid of Coventry, England is responsible for the call and has been arrested in the UK under the charge of Swatting. Reportedly, his American accomplice Zachary Lee was also indicted last week.
Anyone familiar with the fatal Swatting phenomena knows they can lead to disaster. For anyone who doesn’t know, it is the name behind a ‘prank’ where unidentified callers deliver heinous police reports steering law enforcement to the homes of innocent people, particularly for the purpose of breaking in and instilling fear. This also became an unfortunate phenomenon within the gaming community when online players/viewers started delivering such false reports against fellow gamers and streamers. It appears Dobbs was among the less fortunate of these victims.
During the storming of the Dobbs residence, the police also resorted to Special Weapons and Tactics teams. According to eyewitness accounts, even an armored vehicle. While the bullets that hit Dobbs were non-lethal rubber bullets, he had to undergo multiple facial-reconstruction surgeries. His own father was outside the house at the time of the incident, pleading with police to stop when shots were fired.
Strangely enough, the Maryland police reports claimed that Dobbs failed to comply with officers and that his father reported a gun inside the house. This contradicts the notion of Dobbs lying asleep and oblivious when law enforcement entered his home, as the victim reported to Abc.
At the very least, the so-called pranksters are now in police custody. Hopefully, this will lead to the end of petty claims over games, and we see a de-escalation of such incidents. We still don’t know which game was involved in the dispute.