Anti-swatting lawmaker becomes the victim of a swatting stunt himself
Gloucester County Assemblyman Paul Moriarity, the sponsor of legislation increasing the penalty for the false police calls known as "swatting" was a victim the practice himself.
Moriarity (D-District 4) was was forced to come out of his home with his hands in the air Saturday after police received a call about a shooting at his Turnersville home. About a dozen officers were outside his home as he came outside. “Some sick, evil person had reported that there was a shooting at my house,” Moriarity told NBC 10.
Moriarity says he knew immediately he was a victim of swatting, the practice of making a false call to police about an extreme incident involving such as a shooting or hostage situation that requires a large police response.
Moriarity's proposed bill would increase the crime to second degree with a $150,000 fine. The caller would also have to pay the costs associated with the law enforcement response.
The caller who notified police about Moriarity's home said he had tied up his mother, father and 5-year-old sister. "He stated he shot his father with a 12-gauge shotgun. He could not tell me whether his father was conscious or alert. Be advised he says he's gonna shoot any cop that arrives." says an officer in a recording of the call posted by NBC 10.
Recent incidents at a home in Upper Freehold, an elementary school in Holmdel and a game shop in Clifton have prompted the Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee to consider Moriarty's bill which was first introduced in November. “This needs to have serious consequences,” she said. “It’s straining budgets for a game, a joke," said committee chair Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-Elizabeth).
The former television consumer reporter says he will continue to push his bill despite the threat made to his own home. "The one thing I would ask is if someone knows something about this incident and the other incidents that have gone on up north and down south... come forward," he told NJ.com.
Dino Flammia contributed to this report