DOJ says man linked to neo-Nazis used 'swatting' against journalists, government officials

DOJ says man linked to neo-Nazis used 'swatting' against journalists, government officials
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Federal authorities believe a Virginia man tied to a neo-Nazi organization is behind a series of bomb threats and “swatting” attacks targeting journalists, government officials and others, according to The Washington Post. 

John William Kirby Kelley appeared before a federal court in Alexandria on Friday, shortly after being arrested.  

According to The Post, officials have been investigating Kelley since 2018, when he allegedly called Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., claiming someone armed with an AR-15 had hidden pipe bombs around campus. Through that incident, officials were able to access Kelley’s phone records, discovering chat logs with members of the group. 

The group practiced “swatting,” a form of harassment where one makes false reports of violence or weapons to police in an attempt to get victims set upon by SWAT teams.

In one instance last month, Kelley allegedly called Alexandria police, claiming to have killed his girlfriend and taken her two children hostage. The address he gave was that of someone protected by the U.S. Secret Service.

He is also accused of committing a similar crime against Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist Leonard Pitts Jr., who was reportedly ordered out of his Maryland home in June after a false report was made about him.