Police responded to the home of one of the country's most prominent teen gun control advocates Tuesday morning. According to Local 10 News, someone called police describing a hostage situation at David Hogg's house. Law enforcement showed up en masse, only to find that it was a "swatting" situation, when someone makes a fake 911 call in order to provoke a police response.
Hogg was not home when police arrived. He was in Washington, D.C., with his mother receiving the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.
He did speak to local news about the matter, though. "I think it's really a distraction from what we're trying to fix here," Hogg told Local 10 News. "Which is the massive gun violence epidemic in this country."
The call was made to Broward Sheriff's Office and the caller described a hostage situation. It became clear when Coral Springs Fire Rescue arrived to the Parkland, Florida, home on Tuesday morning that the call was a hoax.
The term "swatting" comes from the name of the police units that tend to respond, SWAT teams. Video shot by local news shows several police vehicles pulled up onto the grass near the house and a group of officers dressed in riot gear approaching the house. They go to what appears to be the front door and open it. The footage suggests that the FBI responded to the scene too.
Local news played the a conversation between the dispatcher and responding officers. The dispatcher said that the caller was the suspect. "Apparently the caller is the suspect, and he is the one armed with the AR-15," the dispatcher said. "He broke into the home. He has an AR-15; advised he just felt like breaking in to take money."
A search of the house didn't turn up anything.
"It's evidence of the fact of how many people are trying to stop us from what we're trying to do, which is stop kids from dying," Hogg told local news over the phone. "It's people trying to distract from what we're trying to push here which is the March for Our Lives road to change. And I want people to know that we're just trying to advocate for change and there's going to be people that get in our way and there always will be."
"But we're going to keep going no matter what, nothing will stop us," Hogg added.
The award he was given in D.C. was for the March for Our Lives student movement. Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, a group led by Kerry Kennedy, wrote about why they were selected:
Rising from the ashes of tragedy, these young adults have sparked a fire in the hearts of every generation in America – specifically the youth, leading the next generation into a new age of political awareness and involvement. The purpose of the group is to fight for common sense gun reform and to communicate the need for a large, educated voter force. With nonpartisan messaging, this organization strives to pass legislation that will safeguard every citizen of our country.
Hogg is one of the faces of the movement and has also received a fair amount of harassment as a result. He has been the target of inappropriate attacks from regional TV hosts online, cable news talking heads, and the general population of trolls online.
The "swatting" is another level of harassment, though. It can prove deadly for the victim whose house is targeted. Police have responded to incidents and killed innocent citizens who were in their own homes.
Hogg may not let anything stop the March for Our Lives movement but "swatting" is no joke.