Indiana Police Departments Face 'Swatting' Hoaxes

By Marisa Kwiatkowski
The Indianapolis Star
Mar. 10, 2014

I said it before, I'll say it again, this is attempted murder. - ChrisCARMEL – It was like a bad dream for Hannah Chiasson.

The 22-year-old nursing student stood outside her family's Carmel home, staring in shock at an army of police officers in black vests pointing “big guns” at her, her father and her friend. A spotlight shone on her family's house.

“I asked, 'Why are you pointing guns at me?”' she recalled. “'Why are you doing this?'”

Police didn't answer, she told The Indianapolis Star. They handcuffed her, her father and her roommate, tears streaming down her face. Police forced the two women to walk down the street to an ambulance – barefoot and still in their pajamas.

Chiasson's mother, Louisa Chiasson, was on her way home but had to turn around. Police had cordoned off her neighborhood. She drove to another neighborhood entrance, but it also was blocked. An officer asked her which house she lived in, then explained the situation.

We got a report of a shooting, the officer said. Your husband, daughter and her friend are safe.

Safe, but shaken up. The Chiasson family and Hannah's friend, who lives there, had been “swatted.”

Like others around the country, the Chiassons were victims of a false report, one so extreme it requires a massive police response, often a special weapons and tactics, or SWAT, team. Whether reporting mass murders or hostage situations, “swatters” sometimes use technology that makes it look as if their calls originated at their victims' homes.

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