Washington, D.C., police responded Friday to an apparent swatting attempt aimed at former President Donald Trump adviser Stephen Bannon.
Heavily armed police swarmed the Capitol Hill row house — where former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon lives — after reportedly receiving a report that a man with a gun was inside and had shot someone, according to authorities.
“There was no shooting that occurred,” stated D.C. Assistant Police Chief Jeffrey Carroll in a Friday briefing. “It appears to be a false 911 call that occurred inside the location. At this time there is no threat, there is no danger to the area. We are closing down our command post and reopening the roadways.”
The call was not made from the house, the assistant chief said, it was made from somewhere else.
“There is no indication it was aimed at members of Congress or the Supreme Court but the location is directly behind the U.S. Capitol and the Supreme Court,” Carroll said, explaining why Capitol police responded to the location along with D.C. police.
Carroll told reporters the call, which he declined to give details about while under investigation, was designed to elicit a response from the police department. It carried all the hallmarks of a swatting attack.
“We will be conducting a follow-up investigation into the individuals that placed the false 911 call here, to determine who that was,” declared Carroll.
He noted there were both male and female occupants inside the house, which appeared to have an additional business capability. “We made contact, did a walk-through of the location to make sure everyone was safe, and then we left,” Carroll stated.
“Obviously, they were a little bit shocked but they understood why we were there,” he added. “They were more than cooperative and happy to have us make sure they were safe.”
“Swatting” refers to false alerts to law enforcement of serious public dangers involving bombs or guns, which typically are responded to by SWATT teams.
Some people who have been targets of swatting attempts have been killed by law enforcement responding to a perceived threat. One older Tennessee man died of a heart attack last year when a large contingent of armed officers greeted him when he stepped outside his house during a swatting attack.
A Kansas man was shot by a Wichita officer in a 2017 swatting attempt, according to Wikipedia. The person who targeted the man for police response allegedly did so after losing a $1.50 bet in an online video game match.
D.C. police posted a notice on Twitter that they responded to a service call in the area. “After further investigation, no shots were fired and there is no active threat to the community,” police remarked. “There are no reported injuries. The scene will be cleared momentarily.”
NBC News reporter Liz Brown spoke to Bannon as he walked up the stairs outside his home after the incident.
“The police were terrific,” Steve Bannon says after a massive police presence cleared his street,” Brown remarked in a caption above a video she shared on Twitter. “@DCPoliceDept just provided a briefing saying there was a false 911 call of a shooting on this block. MPD did not name Bannon’s house as a target.”
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