The South Carolina home of Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley was “swatted” last month after someone filed a false police report, Reuters reported.
Authorities responded after a man claimed to have shot a woman and threatened to harm himself at Haley’s home in Kiawah Island on Dec. 30, according to town records obtained by the news agency.
The previously unreported “swatting” incident came to light after Reuters issued a records request for threats against Haley’s home.
Craig Harris, Kiawah Island director of public safety, reportedly told town officials in an email that an unknown person called 911 and “claimed to have shot his girlfriend and threatened to harm himself while at the residence of Nikki Haley.”
“It was determined to be a hoax … Nikki Haley is not on the island and her son is with her,” the email read, per Reuters.
“Swatting” is a crime that has become prominent in recent years, gaining more steam in the social media age when people’s addresses are easily accessible.
The crime targets an individual by calling in a false police report for a violent crime — such as a murder, a hostage situation or other crimes that would require a greater law enforcement response — to the home of the target.
The goal of the false police report is to elicit a SWAT team response by the police to the target’s home.
In the email, Harris said he was in contact with South Carolina’s state police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the head of Haley’s security team. “This incident is being investigated by all involved,” he wrote. The email did not mention a suspect or potential motive, Reuters reported.
In a separate email, an FBI official in South Carolina told Harris and other law enforcement officials that federal agents were tracking the hoax call and intended to open a “threat assessment” into the matter, the report said.
Law enforcement has not publicly identified a suspect in the Haley case.
The incident targeting Haley — who is challenging former President Donald Trump for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination — is the latest in a series of violent threats, bomb scares and other acts of intimidation directed at public officials in recent years. Law enforcement officials have expressed concerns that more such incidents will occur ahead of this year’s presidential election.
Since Christmas, three Republican lawmakers — Sen. Rick Scott of Florida and Reps. Brandon Williams of New York and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia — have been victims of swatting at their homes.
Democratic officials have also been targeted, including Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, who barred Trump from her state’s ballot.
Others targeted include judges and at least one prosecutor handling cases against Trump.