Believe it or not, they were after his Twitter handle.
Marking Herring, a 60-year-old grandfather from Tennessee, suffered a fatal heart attack after police stormed his home, local ABC-affiliated news station WKRN reports.
The man was “swatted,” a criminal harassment scheme in which a person tricks the police into sending a SWAT team to a person’s address.
The reason why Herring drew the harassment is equally strange. The harassers allegedly swatted Herring order to intimidate him into handing over his Twitter handle @tennessee, an exceedingly rare username on a platform of hundreds of millions.
Fortunately, the perpetrators have already been identified. Shane Sonderman, who was a minor at the time of the incident, was the one who “collected all our information, my address, my sister’s, my moms, my mother sister, and put it on a channel on Discord, which is a gaming chat forum,” Herring’s daughter Corinna Fitch told WKRN.
Sonderman is now behind bars and is awaiting trial.
A different minor, from the UK, made the call to the local police department, according to Fitch. Because they are a minor, the UK won’t be extraditing the perpetrator to the US, nor releasing their identity.
According to WKRN, the UK minor had five other targets in the US as well, but Herring was the only target who died.
This isn’t the only swatting incident that has ended in death. In 2018, 26-year-old Tyler Barriss was found to have made several bomb threats, including a swatting incident that ended in the death of 28-year-old Andrew Finch.
Barriss pleaded guilty to 51 federal charges and was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2019.
More on swatting: YouTube Sues Man for Allegedly Swatting a Minecraft Streamer
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