Two people have been charged in relation to a prank phone call that led to one man being shot twice, once in the face, by tactical police officers in Howard County, Maryland. The “swatting” was allegedly orchestrated because of a disagreement over an online game.
The Independent reports that Robert McDaid, a 21-year old from Coventry, England is the first British citizen to be charged in the UK for swatting. His alleged accomplice, American Zachary Lee, was also indicted last week according to the Baltimore Sun.
McDaid and Lee are said to have telephoned a terrorism hotline posing as Tyran Dobbs. The phony Dobbs claimed to have barricaded himself inside his home with hostages and explosives, and demanded $15,000 for their safe release. Police took the threat seriously, and began to move assets into position including a Special Weapons and Tactics team and, according to one witness, an armored vehicle.
The real Tyran Dobbs was inside the house, and tells his local ABC affiliate he was asleep when the SWAT team roused him. In a tearful interview, Dobbs’ father says he was outside the apartment pleading with officers to stop when they shot his son.
The injuries Dobbs suffered after being wounded by the less-than-lethal rubber ammunition used by police required two different reconstructive surgeries.
The official Howard County Police statement paints a different picture entirely. It maintains that Dobbs’ father told them there was a gun in the home, that Dobbs refused to comply with officers on the scene and at one point reached for his waistband. Police eventually shot him “to prevent him from retreating back inside the apartment.” They also claim that the second rubber round hit him in the face as he was “falling forward.”
The game the three men were playing at the time of the disagreement is not known.