A suspected neo-Nazi was arrested on Jan. 10 for allegedly taking part in an effort to target various people through what’s known as “swatting.”
The Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Center on Extremism, which worked with law enforcement on the matter, defines swatting as “a harassment tactic in which a prank call is placed to emergency services (911), sending law enforcement officers (often a SWAT team) to a particular, targeted address.” The Washington Post reported that the suspect, 19-year-old John William Kirby Kelley, allegedly swatted Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. — which is where he went to school until January 2019 — as well as the African American Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va., in Nov. 2018.
Kelley is also alleged to have swatted an unknown individual in January 2019 under Secret Service protection and journalist Leonard Pitts Jr. in June, according to The Hill. The Department of Justice charged Kelley with conspiracy to make threats; if convicted, Kelley could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
According to the ADL, Kelley’s alleged swatting was coordinated in an internet chat room with an unnamed group that expressed support for the neo-Nazi Atomwaffen Division (AWD).
“Perpetrators chose hundreds of high-profile targets for hundreds of swatting calls, including government officials, executives and journalists,” the ADL’s report on the matter states. “Other targets were chosen based on the perpetrators’ racist and anti-Semitic views.”
The ADL report also states that it has found anti-Semitic social media posts from Kelley, including tweeting in January 2019 under the alias “Carl”: [email protected] I did shrooms with your sandwich and it was very good, thank you for helping me realize the real enemy: the jews [sic].”
ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted, “I am incredibly proud of @ADL’s Center on Extremism for its role in the arrest of a Virginia man linked to neo-Nazis. With #hate motivated violence on the rise, the COE’s work is more important than ever.”