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NEWTON, N.C. — Members of a North Carolina family say they are traumatized after they were the target of a “swatting” hoax over the weekend, according to WBTV.
“I haven’t been able to stop crying,” mother Karen Prince told WBTV. “And my hands are shaking since it happened.”
Police received a call around 10:30 Saturday night from someone claiming to be Prince’s son, Sean Prince.
The caller told police he killed his girlfriend and was considering killing his parents, who he was holding hostage in their home.
After the call, the Catawba County SWAT team showed up at Prince’s home and prepared to enter.
“I have never been so scared in my life,” Karen Prince told WBTV.
When the family went onto their front porch, SWAT team members forced them to the ground and zip-tied their wrists.
“A bit of my hand was poking out of the top,” the son told WBTV. “So they put a metal set on me as well, so they had me in two sets of handcuffs while I was freaking out.”
After the family was questioned, the police determined the call was a prank and the family had been “swatted.”
“Until we know it is a hoax,” Catawba County Captain Joel Fish told WBTV, “We have to treat it as real. It’s unfortunate that people are doing this.”
Police said they think the suspect got the son’s name from Twitch, an online gaming website.
Officials said they believe this is the first “swatting” incident in the county.
Karen Prince is now pushing for police to track down the suspect.
“I would love see them prosecuted,” she told WBTV. “I would love to see it, if not I would love to have five minutes with them, absolutely. Because honestly, how do you get over something like that — not feeling safe in your own home?”
Police said anyone could be a victim of “swatting.”
Officials said to follow police orders if a SWAT team does show up to your home. If you think you could be a target of a hoax like this, police said you should call them immediately.