Three teens are behind swatting incidents at the Mid-City residence of a leading Black Lives Matter Los Angeles activist and nearly three dozen other bomb threats and swatting cases across the county, the Los Angeles Police Department says.
The teens, ages 13 and 16, are suspected in two swatting cases at the home in the 2100 block of Wellington Road in August 2020 and September 2021 when police responded to the block of one of the city’s leading Black Lives Matter activists. Swatting is when someone calls law enforcement and falsely reports and emergency in an attempt to draw a SWAT response to a home.
The LAPD said the group was operating on the Discord chat platform. About 30 other bomb threats and swatting cases throughout the country were linked to the group, the LAPD said.
“Targets from these incidents involve other online persons, video gamers, activists, schools, airports, houses of worship, entertainment venues and memorial parks dating back to July 2020,” the LADP said in a statement.
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The statement also noted that the swatting cases appear to have a racial motivation.
“Some of the language used in the swatting incidents and a review of the subjects’ online activities reflect a racial motivation theme to a number of these swatting attacks,” the LAPD said.
The three main suspects live in Ohio, New York and the country of Cyprus. They used sophisticated software, overseas services and privacy tools to hide their digital trail, police said.
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Arrest warrants were served Tuesday in Ohio and New York. Several devices were seized for analysis by the FBI.
The LAPD’s Major Crimes Division will present the case against all three teens to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for possible criminal charges. Police said they’ll ask prosecutors to consider a possible hate-crime enhancement.