Photo: Mark Herring of Sumner County, TN
Photo Credit: Facebook / Background: John B. Synder / CC
The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
Last week, a teenager was sentenced after “swatting” a 60-year-old Tennessee man which resulted in a fatal heart attack.
Swatting is a call to a police department with a false story of a crime in progress with the intent to draw a large number of police officers to a particular address.
The teenager and his partner in crime targeted Mark Herring of Sumner County because they were after his “valuable” Twitter handle, @Tennessee.
In April 2020, 18-year-old Shane Sonderman, made a call to the police saying that a murder had taken place at Herring’s residence and that there were pipe bombs on the property.
Herring’s daughter told NBC News that law enforcement officers swarmed the property with their guns drawn, the shock causing Herring to have a massive, fatal heart attack.
Sonderman was charged with conspiracy, false information, hoaxes, interstate communication of threats and wire fraud.
*** Click Here to Support Conservative Journalism in Tennessee. We can’t cover stories like this without your support!***
In March, he plead guilty to the conspiracy charge in exchange for the other charges being dropped and was sentenced to five years in jail on July 21st.
Sonderman’s partner in crime is a British minor who has not been extradited to the United States.
According to the indictment, Herring was one of five individuals targeted by the teens as part of a plan to acquire social media handles to sell for profit on internet forums.
Sonderman’s harassments of Herring began with ordering cash-only pizza deliveries to his home and escalated from there.
A couple of days prior to Sonderman’s indictment, Tennessee Congressman David Kustoff was joined by Representative Henry Cuellar (TX), Representative Pete Stauber (MN), and Representative John Rutherford (FL) in re-introducing the Preserving Safe Communities by Ending Swatting Act of 2021.
Swatting is a call to a police department with a false story of a crime in progress with the intent to draw a large number of police officers to a particular address. This measure would penalize false communications intending to cause an emergency response.
Kustoff said, “Swatting is a dangerous and criminal trend that can result in serious injury and even death to victims and law enforcement. Our brave law enforcement officers work hard to serve and protect our communities in West Tennessee and across the United States. Swatting only prevents our law enforcement from properly and successfully doing their job.”
The bipartisan bill will impose strict penalties for swatting, including up to 20 years in prison if someone is seriously hurt.
This legislation is supported and endorsed by the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO).
Cueller said that, “the men and women in blue risk their lives daily for the health and safety of the communities they serve.”
“Unfortunately, however, swatting has eroded the efficiency of our limited public safety resources while consistently putting civilians in dangerous situations. That’s why I am leading this legislation that protects our officers and communities,” Cuellar said.
“We must set tough penalties in order to protect law enforcement officers from false or misleading information that could be reasonably expected to cause an emergency response. We must also protect and save the lives of community members who could fall victim to these crimes,” Cuellar said, “As a member of Congress, I will continue to support legislation that protects and supports our law enforcement and local community members from bad actors looking to cause serious harm.”
Congressman Pete Stauber stated that as a former law enforcement officer, he knows that swatting is a crime that can result in the injury or death of victims and law enforcement officers responding to the call.
He states that swatting also diverts law enforcement’s attention and resources from other serious situations that require their immediate attention.
“Many police departments across the nation are already understaffed and struggling to protect our communities against the recent uptick in violent crime, so they cannot afford to be distracted by fake calls. That’s why I am proud to cosponsor this bipartisan legislation that will help put an end to these crimes by increasing the penalties for swatters,” said Stauber.
About the Author:
Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative
Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Directory for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com