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Marjorie Taylor Greene targeted by attempted swatting call for roughly 8th time, this one on Christmas Day

Marjorie Taylor Greene: The 60 Minutes Interview
Marjorie Taylor Greene: The 60 Minutes Interview 13:43

Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was the target of a swatting attempt at her Georgia residence on Christmas morning, the congresswoman and local police said, marking the latest instance of someone calling in a fake emergency to try to draw armed officers or SWAT teams to her home.

The Rome (Georgia) Police Department quickly verified that the call was a hoax and didn't send officers to the house, department spokesperson Kelly Madden said.

Speaker Election Oct 24
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene outside a House Republican Conference speaker election meeting on Oct. 24, 2023.  Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

"I was just swatted. This is like the 8th time. On Christmas with my family here. My local police are the GREATEST and shouldn't have to deal with this," Greene wrote in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

A man in New York called the Georgia suicide hotline just before 11 a.m. Monday, claiming he'd shot his girlfriend at the address of Greene's home and was going to kill himself next, Madden said. The call was quickly transferred to police when suicide hotline responders recognized the Georgia congresswoman's address.

The department said it contacted Greene's private security detail to confirm she was safe and that there was no emergency at her residence. The call was then determined to be a swatting attempt, so the police response was canceled en route, Madden explained.

"We determined before our personnel could get to her location that there was no emergency and there was no reason to respond," she said. "Her security detail had it all under control, and there actually was nothing going on."

The congresswoman, who represents the cities of Rome, Dalton and Calhoun in northwest Georgia, spent her first term stripped of committee assignments by the former House Democratic majority over racist comments, her embrace of conspiracy theories and her past endorsement of violence against Democratic officials. She has since gained more influence under the House's current Republican leadership and continues to be a firebrand for the far-right.

Greene's statement that she has been the target of roughly eight swatting attempts is accurate, Madden said. Past calls claimed that dead bodies had been found in the bath tub and in other areas of her home, which is located about 70 miles northwest of Atlanta. Police also responded last year to false reports of shootings outside her residence.

The department said it sent officers to the house in response to those prior incidents but has since formed a close working relationship with Greene's security detail, which enables officers to better assess the threat level. The criminal investigations division is working to identify Monday's caller and build a case, Madden said.

Another New York man was sentenced to three months in prison in August for making threatening phone calls to Greene's Washington, D.C., office.

Republican Rep. Brandon Williams said in a post on X that he was also targeted by a swatting attempt on Christmas Day. The Cayuga County Sheriff's office said it received a false report of a shooting at the congressman's home in central New York and sent officers to confirm that there was no present danger. Sheriff Brian Schenck didn't immediately respond to phone messages seeking further details.

"Our home was swatted this afternoon," Williams wrote. "Thanks to the Deputies and Troopers who contacted me before arriving. They left with homemade cookies and spiced nuts! Merry Christmas everyone!"

What is a swatting call?

Swatting is a dangerous, illegal trend where people report bogus emergencies to law enforcement, according to the National 911 Program. The callers attempt to prompt authorities to dispatch a SWAT team to a specific location, often in an attempt to harass, prank or retaliate against someone who lives there.

A bulletin issued in 2015 by the 911 program says, "Often, the law enforcement response is substantial, with police confronting the unsuspecting victims at gunpoint, only to learn that there is no real emergency."

The false emergency reports are a crime, and the practice gained notoriety in the U.S. after a swatting incident turned deadly in 2017 when police responding to such a call shot and killed a man at his home in Wichita, Kansas.

 But swatting is not a new threat, the Department of Education wrote in a separate bulletin. It said swatting incidents have evolved over the last decade, with some examples of hoax reports mentioning "bomb threats, active shooter scenarios, threats of an imminent shooting rampage, hostage scenarios, and threats involving chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosives agents," according to the department.

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