Riverside teen of ‘Damn Daniel’ meme is victim of ‘swatting’ hoax, authorities say
A teenager involved in creating and posting a social media video that went viral became the victim of a hoax known as swatting early Tuesday, triggering a heavy police response to his Riverside home, authorities said.
For the record
1:26 p.m., Feb. 24: An earlier version of this post reported that the teen featured in the “Damn Daniel” viral video had been the target of a swatting hoax. The swatting victim was the teen who made the video, police said.
Several high-profile celebrities, including Justin Bieber and Simon Cowell, have been targets of swatters -- anonymous prank callers who notify police of a phony crime at the victim’s home address and phone number.
Such calls trigger tactical responses from police that waste resources and could cause harm.
The teen gained fame on Twitter recently after recording and posting a video showing a friend’s flair for fashion. In the background of each video frame, his friend says “Damn Daniel.” The video quickly shot to popularity and became known as “Damn Daniel.”
Soon, others began re-creating the video, even drawing the interest of Los Angeles Laker Jordan Clarkson, who attempted his own version of “Damn Daniel.”
But the hit video also drew a negative response: The teen, who was not named because he is a minor, has received several prank calls at his family’s home, Riverside police Lt. Christian Dinco said.
The call Tuesday upped the ante quite a bit, police said.
It came at about 1 a.m. from someone saying he had just shot his mother in the head with an AK-47 rifle, Dinco said.
The urgency of the call sent a flood of police officers and tactical personnel, including a helicopter and SWAT team, racing to the teen’s home.
As police tried to determine whether someone was hurt inside, they secured the area and launched a full investigation.
But police soon realized they were dealing with a hoax -- a swatting call that was probably prompted by the teen’s recent bout with fame, Dinco said.
“We are thankful no one was hurt,” he said.
Riverside police said investigators have software and technology that can help find the anonymous caller who perpetrated the prank.
If the caller is found, he or she could be charged with a misdemeanor for making a false police report, face jail time and be ordered to pay restitution for any costs associated with the police response, Dinco said.
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