What began with a seemingly harmless hot take on Twitter turned into a yearslong campaign of harassment, death threats and dozens of ‘swatting’ attacks at Patrick S. Tomlinson’s Milwaukee home. Bevan Hurley reports.
Science fiction author Patrick S. Tomlinson, right, says he has been ‘swatted’ 47 times in just over four years. Alan Filion, centre, is suspected of calling in hundreds of hoax bomb and mass shooting incidents
F or 18 months, a teenager allegedly operated a “swatting” service out of his father’s California home where criminals could call in a hoax bomb threat or mass shooting almost as easily as ordering a burger on UberEats.
Alan Winston Filion, 17, is suspected of targeting hundreds of high schools, mosques, historically black churches, US Senators and even the Supreme Court with swatting attacks that placed thousands of people in the crosshairs of heavily-armed police response teams.
Prosecutors say the 6ft 3in teenager advertised his services under the pseudonym Torswats on the encrypted messaging app Telegram, charging as little as $40 to get someone’s gas shut off, $50 for a “major police response” and $75 for a “bomb threat/mass shooting threat”.