Robert McDaid and Zachary Lee have been charged in regard to a 2015 “swatting” hoax that led to the shooting of Tyran Dobbs by police.
The Daily Mail reports Dobbs was a “rival gamer” of Lee:
According to police: “Without question, Mr. Dobbs was targeted and victimized in this case by a fellow online gamer. The incident demonstrates the extreme risk and danger of swatting calls. Police would urge people to never provide personal information online.”
McDaid is alleged to have posed as Dobbs at the behest of Lee, contacting a Maryland state anti-terrorism hotline to demand $15,000 be delivered to him in a red bag or he would kill three hostages. SWAT teams responded to the call, entering the Dobbs’ family home and shooting Tyran in the face and chest with rubber bullets, breaking bones in his face and bruising his lungs.
The official police statement claimed that authorities demanded Dobbs remove his hand from his shirt and exit the building, only shooting after Dobbs refused to comply three times. It also described a “consent search” of the premises that revealed a small quantity of illegal drugs. According to the police, “it was clear that the people inside the apartment believed the drugs were the reason the police were at the residence.”
Dobbs’ father told a different story: According to his account, he had informed the police that Tyran was asleep when they arrived. The 20-year-old’s adult cousin also reportedly assured authorities that everything was fine when they were evacuated. They claim that the young man was woken by a call from the police and had already agreed to come out. While he was trying to find something warm to wear, the officers allegedly moved in.
The Independent reports McDaid is the first Briton to be charged over a “swatting” incident, but it certainly isn’t the first time that law enforcement resources have been expended and lives have been upended by the growing trend. According to the aforementioned police statement, it was the fourth such attempt in that county alone at the time. They have described this incident as “an example of why swatting is so serious and dangerous.”
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