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Crime

Kansas Swatting Perpetrator 'SWauTistic' Interviewed on Twitter (krebsonsecurity.com) 434

"That kids house that I swatted is on the news," tweeted "SWauTistic" -- before he realized he'd gotten somebody killed. Security researcher Brian Krebs reveals what happened next. When it became apparent that a man had been killed as a result of the swatting, Swautistic tweeted that he didn't get anyone killed because he didn't pull the trigger. Swautistic soon changed his Twitter handle to @GoredTutor36, but KrebsOnSecurity managed to obtain several weeks' worth of tweets from Swautistic before his account was renamed. Those tweets indicate that Swautistic is a serial swatter -- meaning he has claimed responsibility for a number of other recent false reports to the police. Among the recent hoaxes he's taken credit for include a false report of a bomb threat at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that disrupted a high-profile public meeting on the net neutrality debate. Swautistic also has claimed responsibility for a hoax bomb threat that forced the evacuation of the Dallas Convention Center, and another bomb threat at a high school in Panama City, Fla, among others.

After tweeting about the incident extensively Friday afternoon, KrebsOnSecurity was contacted by someone in control of the @GoredTutor36 Twitter account. GoredTutor36 said he's been the victim of swatting attempts himself, and that this was the reason he decided to start swatting others. He said the thrill of it "comes from having to hide from police via net connections." Asked about the FCC incident, @GoredTutor36 acknowledged it was his bomb threat. "Yep. Raped em," he wrote. "Bomb threats are more fun and cooler than swats in my opinion and I should have just stuck to that," he wrote. "But I began making $ doing some swat requests."

Krebs' article also links to a police briefing with playback from the 911 call. "There is no question that police officers and first responders across the country need a great deal more training to bring the number of police shootings way down..." Krebs argues. "Also, all police officers and dispatchers need to be trained on what swatting is, how to spot the signs of a hoax, and how to minimize the risk of anyone getting harmed when responding to reports about hostage situations or bomb threats."

But he also argues that filing a false police report should be reclassified as a felony in all states.
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Kansas Swatting Perpetrator 'SWauTistic' Interviewed on Twitter

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  • What an asshole (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Sunday December 31, 2017 @02:47PM (#55839787)

    "I didn't kill anyone because I didn't pull the trigger"

    Wow. No, you just fooled a bunch of heavily armed people into thinking they were going to be confronting an armed and dangerous person who had already killed one person. No way could you have POSSIBLY predicted that situation could potentially lead to a death.

    This idiot should be locked away for a very, very long time to think about what he did.

    On a separate note - the cops need to be royally reamed. They know swatting is a thing, they know getting the address wrong is a thing... yet they roll up and without any confirmation of what's going on they shoot the guy who answers the door. FFS, no hostage-taking murderer with a gun is going to open up the front door to the police without a hostage in front of them anyway.

    10:1 the shooter had bad trigger discipline. Odds are even better that what blame the cops can't avoid will be so thinly distributed that pretty much no punishment results despite the fact they killed one of the people they're charged with protecting.

    • Wow. No, you just fooled a bunch of heavily armed people into thinking they were going to be confronting an armed and dangerous person who had already killed one person. No way could you have POSSIBLY predicted that situation could potentially lead to a death. This idiot should be locked away for a very, very long time to think about what he did.

      Don'y you Americans have the concept of felony murder? Not that I feel that it is universally justifiable to apply it to everything, but this seems to fit the bill.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        We do, the only question here is whether the SWAT call itself is a felony, which is likely why Krebs calls for SWAT calls to be felonies everywhere. California also has 'depraved heart murder' which seems to fit the bill.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        This actually sounds like depraved-heart murder [wikipedia.org], which the court treats as either manslaughter or second degree murder, depending on the state.

      • by SEE ( 7681 )

        It's a state-by-state thing, like most US criminal law. Kansas's version is limited by statute to a specific list of "inherently dangerous felonies". Which doesn't include this case, as I understand it.

    • by Zocalo ( 252965 )
      It's not just the cops that responded who need to be investigated with a view to procedural changes, disciplinary action, or even potentially prosecution, they need to take a look at the dispatcher too. From what I understand, the 911 call contained some remarkably specific information that could only have originated from someone in a house where, according to the caller, there was an armed family member holding the rest of the family hostage - yet had somehow managed to overlook the caller. That seems li
      • Re:What an asshole (Score:5, Informative)

        by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Sunday December 31, 2017 @04:04PM (#55840257)

        From what I understand, the 911 call contained some remarkably specific information that could only have originated from someone in a house where, according to the caller, there was an armed family member holding the rest of the family hostage - yet had somehow managed to overlook the caller. That seems like a pretty big red flag that this was *potentially* a crank call to me

        The caller pretended to be the killer/hostage-taker. He also stated he'd doused the house in gasoline, which added a time-critical element to the situation (gasoline fumes can ignite on contact with many mundane heat/electric sources).

        Basically the caller fed the 911 operator exactly the information needed to cause the police to abandon caution, and thus maximize the chances of the police killing someone. This was a social hack [wikipedia.org] of the 911 and police response system.

        The one part of the story I'm unclear on is that 911 operators are supposed to see the phone's address (landline) or location (mobile) when they receive a call. If those didn't match the address the caller claimed this was all happening at, that should've been a red flag. I'm assuming the caller figured out a work-around to spoof his location in the 911 system. (Actually, based on the sign-up procedure for my VoIP phone numbers, I think I know how this could be done.)

        • Re:What an asshole (Score:5, Informative)

          by Zocalo ( 252965 ) on Sunday December 31, 2017 @04:40PM (#55840473) Homepage
          I suspect there are still a lot of details that are not fully in the public conciousness yet - I didn't know that he'd claimed to be the actual hostage taker - but again that doesn't really work. Right off the bat, that should indicate that the supposed shooter has come to their senses somewhat and may be at least open to being talked down without any further violence. Then there's this:

          gasoline fumes can ignite on contact with many mundane heat/electric sources

          That includes gunfire, so surely that's another reason why the responding police should have been cautioned about not being so trigger happy before they arrived on the scene? Potentially, you're either close enough to know for sure that you won't miss which increases the chance the gun discharging would ignite any fumes directly, or far enough back that you might miss and have a ricochet do it.

          I think the real takeaway here is that are multiple procedural and training failures on the side of law enforcement that need to be kept in the spotlight, rather than allowing it to focus entirely on the actions of the two gamers. A tragic mistake has already happened and that can't be changed, but there's no reason to compound that by failing to learn from it.

        • One thing that has been brought up before is that swatters will spoof numbers. Also with cell phones, some dispatchers in some precincts simply don't know real time where a cellphone caller is. After the fact, a cell phone can be traced but not real time.
      • Re: What an asshole (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The simplest oversight that I caught was when the dispatch operator asked him if it was a one story or two story house. The caller said it was a one-story house, but footage from the scene shows police shooting a man in the doorway of a two-story house.

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        Even better, the caller git some details wrong that would be impossible to get wrong had he actually been in the house, such as how many floors it had.

        That should have been a huge red flag that either the call was a hoax or they were at the wrong address. Either case would have strongly suggested not shooting someone.

        • Have you ever, personally, talked to anyone as unhinged as most people would be having just killed their father and taken steps to prepare to burn the rest of his family alive? No? They're rarely rational enough to calmly relate much about their environment. They'll get simple stuff wrong. Stress does that. Dispatchers are used to getting completely self-contradictory stuff from callers in one breath. It's normal. And it doesn't mean the call is otherwise baseless.
          • Re:What an asshole (Score:4, Interesting)

            by sjames ( 1099 ) on Monday January 01, 2018 @12:16AM (#55841999) Homepage Journal

            It doesn't lend the call any credence either.

            I've never tried to talk down someone who has killed someone (or thinks they have) but I have talked down people having a psychotic break before. Also someone contemplating suicide. It's surprising how oriented they can seem to be as long as you stick to mundane things like what color is your house.

    • He needs to be in prison. The police directly involved probably need to be in prison. The entire police force that those police were members of needs to be disbanded and replaced by an entirely different group of people, preferably trained by non-American policing experts.

      And that needs to be the case everywhere until police killing innocent or blameless people stops. The police shouldn't be used as a weapon, and the police shouldn't be able to be used as a weapon.

      • by arth1 ( 260657 )

        He needs to be in prison. The police directly involved probably need to be in prison.

        The caller and the cop being sentenced to serve in the same cell seems appropriate.

    • by mikael ( 484 )

      If they had those little drone cameras, think how it could have turned out differently, if they could have been able to send one close to the house and asked to look round. No risk to the officer or the home owner.

    • by SEE ( 7681 )

      Looks to me like the applicable charge for the shooting cop is voluntary manslaughter under Kansas law -- "Voluntary manslaughter is knowingly killing a human being committed . . . upon an unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified use of deadly force . . ."

      The defense would pretty much have to argue that the call made the cop's belief "reasonable" even in the absence of any confirming evidence.

  • The killing today in Colorado of a sheriff's deputy responding to a domestic violence call highlights the challenge faced by law enforcement officers.
    • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Sunday December 31, 2017 @02:55PM (#55839835) Homepage Journal

      The killing today in Colorado of a sheriff's deputy responding to a domestic violence call highlights the challenge faced by law enforcement officers.

      A thousand cops being killed does not justify a single innocent person being killed by cops.

      If they cannot do their jobs without being killed or killing innocents, it's time to replace the police. Close it down and create a new police force based on police in countries where crime is at a similar level but the death toll in police confrontations is much lower.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Solandri ( 704621 )

        A thousand cops being killed does not justify a single innocent person being killed by cops.

        That makes no sense at all.We're all people- even cops. If we're innocent (police or civilian), each of our lives is worth the same. It only makes sense if you assume all cops aren't innocent.

        And real-life is messy and full of errors. If you set the standard as perfection (no innocents killed), that's an unattainable standard and will result in massive costs elsewhere in the system. You can set it as a goal,

        • For a real-world example, look up Baltimore...
        • by rahvin112 ( 446269 ) on Sunday December 31, 2017 @09:06PM (#55841513)

          Yes cops are people too, the problem is they aren't punished like people when they make mistakes, particularly mistakes that result in people dying. When you make the cops above the law and allow them to make these mistakes without punishment you create situations where the police shoot first and explain it later.

          As in all police shootings the police reported the killed innocent reached for his waist band. Of course no weapon was found and he didn't actually reach for his waist band. Because of this a bad cop will remain on the force, a cop that shot first and killed an innocent father.

          Cops need to be held responsible for their actions in the same way a doctor is held responsible when they make mistakes that result in someones death. In fact cops are about the only profession in the country where they can kill people through negligence and aren't punished for it. That's wrong and you should admit it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Ah yes, the "police officers have a dangerous job" excuse. You do realize that statistically speaking being a police officer doesn't even make the top 10 dangerous jobs in terms of risk to life and limb right? Garbage man, logger, farmer & fisherman are but a few of the professions that beat law enforcement when it comes to danger. I doubt very much that any people in those professions would get a pass if they killed an innocent person in a brash moment of stupidity. No one is saying that police don

      • Ah yes, the "police officers have a dangerous job" excuse. You do realize that statistically speaking being a police officer doesn't even make the top 10 dangerous jobs in terms of risk to life and limb right?

        You also realize that statistically speaking most of "being a police officer" involves driving around in a patrol car, sitting at a desk filling out reports, and performing traffic stops with people who are completely calm and behaving normally.

        The absolute danger rate isn't relevant, the thing that matters is the danger in the specific situations that result in civilian casualties. Dangerous sounding 911 calls, people acting erratic or having trouble following instructions, etc. We don't really know those

    • As pointed out, there are more dangerous jobs than being a cop. Furthermore, even within the threats cops face, vehicular accidents kill considerably more cops than bullets do.
    • by rossz ( 67331 ) <ogre@noSpAm.geekbiker.net> on Sunday December 31, 2017 @04:23PM (#55840369) Homepage Journal

      Uh, no. Police work is not all that dangerous of a job. Cops who die on the job mostly die from car accidents because they drive like idiots, or from heart attacks from all those donuts.

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      Well there, the problem was a different one. They busted in in a "dynamic entry". Over a loud disturbance call. It might have been better to knock.

  • "Hangin's too good for 'im. Burnin's too good for 'im. He should be chopped into tinesy-winesy pieces and buried alive." Pesky "cruel and unusual" clause.
  • Cops and Swatter (Score:5, Insightful)

    by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Sunday December 31, 2017 @02:53PM (#55839821)

    The cop who shot and the swatter should share a general populaiton cell for 20+ years for complicity in the murder.

    Swatter obviously created a dangerous situation, but this danger was exacerbated by the typical behavior of American cops.

    Cops were supposed to be professionals. Instead, they were trigger-happy to save their sorry hides and murdered an innocent man. The cop who shot has blood on his hands and should never be forgiven or seen as anything but a murderer.

    The emergency dispatcher who didn't ask the right questions to determine if it was a prank is also somewhat negligent. The call was to the city hall, not 9-1-1, and described a different home than where the murder took place.

    • The emergency dispatcher who didn't ask the right questions to determine if it was a prank is also somewhat negligent. The call was to the city hall, not 9-1-1, and described a different home than where the murder took place.

      What sort questions? Is this a hoax? What's the name of your neighbourhood school?

      Recall the 911 call came from an individual who had supposedly killed someone, was considering killing several more people, and was potentially having some kind of mental breakdown. And while we know it was a hoax know most calls like that are going to be legitimate.

      Her only job was to keep him calm so he didn't finish off the rest of the family.

  • by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Sunday December 31, 2017 @02:55PM (#55839829)

    He begs to be made an example of, and it should be done pour encourager les autres.

    We cannot have that in civil society.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I've read of how some of the responding officers are so adrenaline filled and under trained for the high alert event that they suddenly get involved with that they get..., "over-zealous". That officer never should have had his finger on the trigger, but instead on the trigger guard. Fatal results ensue, unfortunately. Prosecute the swatter, re-train all the officers.

  • by Diac ( 1515711 ) on Sunday December 31, 2017 @02:56PM (#55839839)

    I don't like advertising this guys channel but as its relevant here is an interview a youtuber called Keemstar did with SWauTistic hours before he was arrested.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

  • by SigIO ( 139237 ) on Sunday December 31, 2017 @03:01PM (#55839881)

    Examples are going to be made of everyone. The kid who did the Swatting. The kid who paid for the swatters services. And the unfortunate cop who pulled the trigger. 4 lives minimum, ruined.

    • by mea2214 ( 935585 ) on Sunday December 31, 2017 @04:15PM (#55840333)

      And the unfortunate cop who pulled the trigger. 4 lives minimum, ruined.

      The cop won't be punished. He'll be treated as a victim in this. The swatters will get good lawyers who will find some loophole in the law. The guy who answered the door is the only life that will have been ruined.

    • I have a hard time describing the cop as unfortunate when he was the one who pulled the trigger on an innocent person who was acting like an innocent person. He clearly thought he was doing the right thing, but the only unfortunate part of him was his phenomenally bad judgement.
    • Bet you nothing happens to the cop.

  • I don't think the laws are very well suited to deal with this in the harshness needed. This sort of aligns with a bartender knowingly serving someone who kills someone in a dui. No, he wasn't driving, but he certainly set things in motion.

    Typically in these cases the family ends up taking them to civil court as well. I don't see the book being thrown at this guy, although the fact he seems to have done this across state lines may give the feds quite a bit more ammo.

  • 1 Wind up some on-line gamers by telling them their Xbox is a toy.
    2 Tell them the address of someone you don't like
    3 Let them call in the police

    Now the police do the murdering, the swatter gets jailed for calling the police, you walk free.

    • by Zocalo ( 252965 )
      You know, that could be the 127.0.0.1 script kiddie bait [iit.bme.hu] for the swatting generation. Try giving your address as "1600 Pennsylvania, D.C." (which certainly fits your second point for a whole *bunch* of people), or local equivalent, and wait for the fireworks to start...

      I'm assuming that the Secret Service (or local equivalent) will actually will get the address of the swatter before they roll, but either way it's popcorn time.
  • I'd say 100 years for starters for calling in a false threat.

    The problem is you can't have police go into these things too soft either. Just today there was an incident in Colorado with a domestic disturbance where several officers (and some bystanders) got shot. So really we need to make sure that (A) if someone calls in a fake threat they WILL be caught, and (B) we punish the hell out of swatters. I'm talking "Lets bring back gladiatorial combat" level punishment since no punishment is too harsh for th

  • by Arzaboa ( 2804779 ) on Sunday December 31, 2017 @04:14PM (#55840331)

    We ask our friends and neighbors to help watch over town. As a society, we let the people arm themselves as a militia to fight the man "to not take away our freedom's", because "guns are the reason we have freedom", and all the other silly things that are said. We then ask the police to show up with kid gloves on, like somehow they have multiple lives.

    If we aren't planning on violently overthrowing the government, then we should store our people killing guns at a safe community place where we all have the combination. In most countries, these places are called things like, The National Guard, or the Army. We could rename it so as to cater to those that don't like ideas that work globally to "American Armed Citizen Gun Storage for Freedom."

    If we really do think that we need a violent revolution, then lets get it over with. Those that are in need, let your needs be known now, because this middle ground is killing a whole lot of innocents.

    I've never seen anyone need a 15 round clip while hunting an Elk, Deer, Bear's or anything else in North America. I've never seen anyone use a hand-gun when hunting, but maybe pythons?

    Our laws are so harsh in this country as it is, that everyone is an example when they get sentenced. Throwing someone in jail for 10 years or 20 years has zero rehabilitation difference if you're only considering them being a "better person" when they get out. I'd argue anything over 5 and you may as well throw away the key. Don't complain when you throw someone in jail, don't help them and then have to support them for the rest of their lives.

    This kid and his friends need direct intervention. Anyone on that twitter account should receive a direct phone call from someone that sounds like authority and discuss with them why we don't do this to our fellow neighbors and friends online. That in itself would send a HUGE message...that we actually care about each other, that we treat each other appropriately and out of kindness, and that this is a large community of hundreds of millions, and that we are watching each others backs.

    The kid himself needs to face some sort of sentence. He's young though, the news cycle is fast. Any "example" set by him will be quickly forgotten by the masses, only used by the court system to justify harsher sentences for everybody, people won't say "I won't do this cuz that guy got caught."

    There is nothing more jolting to people that think they are getting away with things, than at least letting them know "we are paying attention to your vile behavior." Very few internet trolls would publicly do what they currently do. Outing people is a great way in terms of effectiveness and cost.

    There are so many things that need to be fixed and addressed, and until they are, they're all hanging chad's in our society. Until we figure them out, these things are going to happen, people will say "more jail time", "more laws", but nothing changes when you don't change the way we deal with life.

    --
    Karma is a bitch

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 31, 2017 @04:52PM (#55840531)

      Americans had guns for more than two hundred years, but militarization of the police is a phenomenon that started with the war on drugs. Let's place blame where it belongs.

    • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Sunday December 31, 2017 @06:13PM (#55840925) Homepage Journal

      The "kid" is a 25 year old man-child.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      ... guns are the reason we have freedom ...

      Translation: A hundred mental patients walked out of gun-shops and murdered a thousand bystanders but no-one stole my car; it's all good.

      ... this middle ground is killing a whole lot of innocents ...

      A large part of the middle ground comes from people buying guns to fight the government, not actually learning to fight the government. It's a no-responsibility required, anti-authoritarian masturbation; another way of saying "fuck you, I got mine".

      ... let your needs be known now ...

      In the 1960s, plenty of Americans saw they were excluded from US prosperity and protested for inclusion. The protesters rep

  • by LifesABeach ( 234436 ) on Sunday December 31, 2017 @04:30PM (#55840413) Homepage
    SWauTistic lied, to law enforcement. Causing some bad actor to go Rambo on someone undeserving. Iâ(TM)m thinking âoeMurder in the First Degree, with Special Circumstancesâ fits the event pretty close.
  • by wisnoskij ( 1206448 ) on Sunday December 31, 2017 @05:05PM (#55840605) Homepage

    Publicly took credit for bomb threats, swatted repeatedly, has now killed a man. And he gets paid to do some of these.
    It sounds like it would probably take 10 minutes to track this guy down, and like he would of been on the FBI's radar long ago.

  • by mapkinase ( 958129 ) on Sunday December 31, 2017 @05:44PM (#55840789) Homepage Journal

    Robots. Send a quadcopter. How much does it cost?

    In our society we have much higher sense of human life value, that included policemen as well. Send a drone first, much closer look at the potential perp.

    People portray the situation as black and white. "Pig cop killed innocent man". Watch the video. At that distance it could be that he is protecting his eyes from a high beam, but it also could be that he is preparing to shoot.

    That's what this solution for - this type of uncertainty. Any further development from this situation would have decreased the uncertainty.

    I suspect the solution to many our so-called political problems ("cop violence", "civilian violence") lies in the technical sphere, not in escalation of violence by incessant "occupies".

    • by oic0 ( 1864384 ) on Sunday December 31, 2017 @06:13PM (#55840931)
      The solution is for the cops to calm the heck down. Violent crime is at an all time low but the cops keep becoming more and more violent. We aren't In a warzone. Police shot and killed per year is at it's lowest since the early 1900s despite the obvious population increase. Far more die of heart attacks on duty. Maybe lay off the donuts AND the assault rifles.

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