Expert gives tips on what to do if you’re a victim of swatting
Kevin Coffey, a retired member of the LAPD and risk expert, provides tips to be safe as a swatting victim.
A California teen has been arrested in connection with a swatting call that targeted a mosque in Florida, authorities say.
Alan Winston Filion, 17, of Lancaster, California, is facing multiple felonies after police say he conducted a swatting call on the Masjid Al Hayy Mosque in Sanford, Florida last year.
“Swatting” targets an individual by calling in a false police report on a home – or in this case, a mosque – to provoke a SWAT team response.
Seminole County law enforcement received a phone call on May 12, 2023, from an individual who told police he was entering the mosque, located at 786 Myrtle Street to conduct a mass shooting.
Alan Winston Filion was extradited to Seminole County, Florida, on January 30, 2024, and booked into the John E. Polk Correctional Facility on a no-bond status. (Seminole County Sheriffs Office)
The caller made references to Satanism and told police he had a handgun and explosive devices, the sheriff’s office said. The caller played audio of gunfire in the background.
Approximately 30 law enforcement officers responded to the Masjid Al Hayy Mosque. After finding no shooter and the mosque safe, the call was determined to be a swatting incident.
SCSO’s Domestic Security Division (DSD) investigated the incident along with the FBI and determined that Filion was behind the May 12 swatting call.
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Investigators also determined he was behind other swatting incidents, having created several online accounts that offered “swatting services.” Various IP addresses connected to these accounts led investigators to Filion’s California address.
The FBI executed a search warrant for his home on July 15, 2023. Based on the information gathered and the incriminating evidence obtained from the analysis of the devices seized, a warrant was obtained for his arrest.
The Masjid Al Hayy Mosque, as seen from Myrtle Street in Sanford, Florida. (Google Maps)
Filion was taken into custody by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on January 18, 2024. He was booked into the Los Angeles Padrinos Juvenile Hall before being extradited to Seminole County, Florida on Thursday and booked into the John E. Polk Correctional Facility on a non-bond status.
Filion is being charged as an adult with false reports, unlawful use of communication devices, and swatting.
Investigators believe Filion may be connected to other swatting incidents across the United States. Should the connection be made, local authorities will investigate those cases within their jurisdictions and under their local authority.
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Filion’s arrest comes amid a wave of swatting incidents targeting Republican lawmakers, including on Christmas Day.
Bradford Betz is a Fox News Digital breaking reporter covering crime, political issues, and much more.