‘It really got real when I saw the loaded assault rifles:’ Family victim of fake 911 call that leads to police, SWAT response

‘It really got real when I saw the loaded assault rifles:’ Family victim of fake 911 call that leads to police, SWAT response
A Myrtle Beach man was the victim of a fake 911 call that led to a police and SWAT team response. (Source: Robert McCord)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – A Myrtle Beach family is in shock after a fake 911 call indicated that a man had just shot his wife.

The incident happened Monday night on Green Bay Trail, in the area of 44th Avenue North and Robert Grissom Parkway.

Bob McCord said he was at home making dinner with his wife and brother-in-law when one of his wife’s friends called them and asked what all the police activity on their street was.

“So I turn it on and the first thing I hear is my name," said McCord.

He was thinking it was a mistake, so he called the non-emergency line and said he was transferred to the hostage negotiator. After talking on the phone, and the hostage negotiator asking his wife and brother-in-law questions without Bob’s interference, Bob said the negotiator told them what was going on.

RAW: Security footage of 911 swatting victim

“Someone had called and said that there were shots fired in the house and that I had shot my wife and was going to shoot my brother-in-law,” said McCord.

According to scanner traffic heard on Broadcastify, police officers and SWAT began to mobilize and head to the scene.

“We need somebody else up on the north end up there; block the street please,” one officer is heard saying.

Another can be heard saying, “We got movement by the front window by the door.”

McCord said it wasn’t until he got on the phone with a hostage negotiator that he knew something was wrong. He was told someone using his name called police saying he shot his wife, and that he was going to shoot whoever else was in the house.

McCord is a retired law enforcement officer himself. On Monday night, he, his wife Kimberly, and her brother were home fixing dinner.

RAW: Full interview with Robert McCord

Kimberly McCord said she got a call from a friend asking what all the police activity on their street was. When she checked outside the house, she didn’t see anything, but turned the police scanner on to see if they could find out what was happening.

When the McCords heard someone over the scanner trying to get in touch with a person named Robert McCord, that’s when Robert McCord called the non-emergency number. He said at that point, he was forwarded to the hostage negotiator, but still didn’t realize that police were surrounding his home.

“They wanted us to come outside and I said, ‘You got to be honest with me; I need to know what’s going on,'" McCord said. "So he, at that point, had told me that someone had called and said that there were shots fired in the house and I had shot my wife and was going to shoot my brother-in-law or the other person in the house. So that’s when it got real. That’s when it really hit home and started to freak me out.”

Audio of a portion of the 911 calls during Myrtle Beach swatting incident

Surveillance footage from McCord’s front porch shows him walking outside with his hands in the air, as officers can be heard yelling “Keep your hands up in the air,” and “Do you have any weapons on you?”

“It really got real when I saw the loaded assault rifles,” McCord said

“I had guns drawn on me which was terrifying. I never had a gun pointed at me," said Kimberly McCord, who said she was the first person ordered out of the home because from the false call, police thought she was the person in danger.

Police eventually determined that no shots had been fired and there were no injuries.

McCord said he’s not sure who would do something like this to him and his family, but he said he hopes police find out. Myrtle Beach police are still investigating.

“If you’re thinking about doing this, it’s not cool. It’s not funny,” he said.

What the McCords dealt with is called “swatting,” something the FBI first warned the public about in 2008. It is defined as "making a hoax call to 911 to draw a response from law enforcement, usually a SWAT team.”

One expert WMBF News spoke with estimates that swatting incidents rose from around 400 in 2011 to over 1,000 in 2018. He said more advanced technology that can mask a caller's location and identity is one reason for the increase.

Currently, there is no federal law against swatting, though bipartisan bills have been introduced in the House in 2015 and 2017 to make it a federal crime.

Ironically, Rep. Katherine Clark and her family were then victims of swatting themselves when someone called 911 saying an active shooter was in the home.

WMBF News reached out to local FBI spokespersons about how many incidents have happened in North Carolina and South Carolina, but were told that the FBI doesn’t keep stats on swatting.

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