Prank 911 calls take off

by: Aaron Diamant Updated:

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ATLANTA —

Conservative radio talk show host Erick Erickson is speaking out about the prank 911 call that had deputies surrounding his house.

"I couldn't believe I'd written about people doing this three days before, and it happened to me," Erickson told Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant on Friday.

Erickson, a WSB Radio host, is the latest victim in a growing trend called "SWATing," prank 911 calls that prompt a large police response.

Last month, a 911 operator in Bibbs County answered a call from a man who claimed he wanted to turn himself in, because he’d just killed his wife. Then, the caller gave the operator Erickson's home address and said he was going to kill more people.

"I've used the word “sociopathic.” My wife did when she heard it, this calm voice claiming to be me," Erickson said.

He said his outspoken conservative views have made him a target before.

"This is the first time they've tried to implicate my family," he said.

In January, the Barrow County Sheriff's SWAT team stormed a home after a similar hoax.  And last August, Roswell police dealt with the same issue.

"It's very dangerous,” said Roswell police Lt. James McGee. “You got units responding. They're in emergency mode. They don't know what they're going to get on the other end. You've got cars running blue lights and sirens."

McGee said those factors put police and the public in danger. McGee also warns about the cost.

"You've got resources that are spent and other parts of the city are being neglected, because we're going to this one location,” McGee said.

Police said the pranksters are tough to track, because they usually make their calls anonymously over the Internet.

After Erickson’s case and other SWATing hoaxes targeting prominent conservatives across the county, Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss sent a letter to United State Attorney General Eric Holder saying, “Any potential criminal action that incites fear, seeks to silence a dissenting opinion and collaterally wastes the resources of law enforcement should be given close scrutiny at all levels."

Erickson said that action needs to happen fast.

"If it keeps up, someone's going to get killed,” Erickson said. “That's why they're doing it, to try to get someone killed, only because you disagree with them politically."