Los Angeles, CA – Former “Dance Moms” favorite turned teen celebrity sensation JoJo Siwa was the victim of a swatting incident on Sunday after she released a TikTok video about “coming out to the Internet.”
Videos surfaced hours after her social media announcement of Siwa with multiple police officers and police vehicles blocking the street in front of her Los Angeles home, Newsweek reported.
Siwa, 17, explained what happened on social media after the fact.
“We were at the house and, all of a sudden, a whole bunch of police was asking us to come out, and we didn’t know why,” she said. “We went outside, hands up, because you have to follow the rules.”
“The police were saying somebody had called and made a claim and then, all of a sudden, paparazzi came from around the corner,” Siwa said.
The teen celebrity, who has been at home since tours were cancelled last spring, said she believed that “paparazzi” who wanted pictures of her after she made her big announcement called 911 to force her to come out of her house.
“I think because I recently came out to the Internet, the media is obviously very excited, which I love, and I love the support,” Siwa told her followers. “However, you could’ve just hung outside my house and I would’ve eventually come outside my house.”
TOTALLY UNEXPECTED: JoJo Siwa explains her swatting. She claims she was swatted by paparazzi who were outside her home. pic.twitter.com/YjIy6E7Vhh
— Def Noodles (@defnoodles) January 24, 2021
“I feel bad because there was about 50 police at our house, and those police could’ve had a much better time spent somewhere else actually helping somebody, instead of dealing with a fake claim from paparazzi,” the former “Dance Moms” star said.
Swatting is a form of criminal harassment, according to Newsweek.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines swatting as “a hoax call made to emergency services, typically reporting an immediate threat to human life, to draw a response from law enforcement and the S.W.A.T. team to a specific location.”
Swatting has become more common and is considered extremely dangerous.
In 2017, a swatting incident led to an unarmed, uninvolved man being fatally shot by police in Wichita, Kansas, KWCH reported.
Andrew Finch, 28, was killed after an unknown person called 911 and falsely reported that there was a hostage situation at an address where Finch resided.
“We were told that someone had an argument with their mother and dad was accidentally shot, and that now that individual was holding brother, sister and mother hostage,” Wichita Police Department (WPD) Deputy Chief Troy Livingston said, according to KAKE. “We learned through that call that the father was deceased…been shot in the head.”
In the 911 recording of the call, the male caller said he shot his father in the head, and that he was no longer breathing.
He told the dispatcher he was armed with a black handgun, and that he was pointing the weapon at his mother and his little brother to keep them in the closet.
“I’m definitely not gonna put it away,” the caller told the dispatcher when she asked to put the gun down.
He then told the dispatcher that he already poured gasoline “all over” the house, and that he “might just set it on fire.”
“In a little bit, I might,” the man said.
The caller disconnected with 911 personnel on at least two occasions.
Officers arrived at the 6:20 p.m., just two minutes after they received the call, Deputy Chief Livingston said.
When Finch stepped into his doors, officers ordered him to put his hands up.
At first he complied, but when he lowered his hands, police believed he was reaching for a weapon in his waistband and he was fatally shot.