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Mass. lawmaker fighting "swatting" becomes victim of one

MELROSE - Congresswoman Katherine Clark, who has proposed legislation to make "swatting" a federal crime, was the victim of the hoax this weekend.

On Sunday night, police officers responded to an anonymous call claiming there was an active shooter at Clark's Melrose home. Melrose Police say they received a computer-generated phone call stating there were "shots fired" at the home.

"We saw lights flashing outside of my house," Rep. Clark told CBS Boston. "I went out to explore. There were a number of police cruisers. There were police visible with long guns on my front lawn.

Clark was home with her husband and two children at the time and officers quickly determined that there was no danger.

"My family and I are grateful to Chief Lyle and the Melrose Police Department for their timely and professional response," Clark said in a statement. "No mother should have to answer the door to the police in the middle of the night and fear for her family's safety simply because an anonymous person disagrees with her."

"Swatting" is when someone makes a hoax call to police that prompts the SWAT team to respond. Rep. Clark has proposed making it a violation of federal law.

"I'm relieved that no one was hurt, but the sad reality is, these hoaxes known as "swatting" are a danger to victims, first responders, and our emergency preparedness," Clark said. "This is the exact reason that I introduced the Interstate Swatting Hoax Act - I want perpetrators to know that there are legal repercussions to their actions, and I'm committed to giving law enforcement the tools to deter these dangerous crimes."

Nationwide, the FBI estimates there are 400 swatting incidents every year.

Clark said this situation has only made her more determined. "Unfortunately for them, they don't know me very well and it is only going to increase my commitment," she said.

Melrose Police are investigating the incident.

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