Former college student was part of worldwide swatting scheme with white supremacists: Affidavit
Those involved made hundreds of calls in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.
January 15, 2020, 7:44 PM
4 min read
A former college student has been charged in an alleged swatting scheme that permeated through the dark web among a group of self-described white supremacists, according to an affidavit.
John William Kirby Kelley, 19, was among those who reported false threats to authorities — a practice also known as swatting — and was charged with conspiracy to commit an offense against the U.S., an FBI agent said in an affidavit filed last Wednesday in the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Authorities were first alerted to Kelley in November 2018, the affidavit states. A subsequent investigation led authorities to more calls that were allegedly made across the U.S., as well as in Canada and the U.K.
From November 2018 to December 2018, the individuals who operated in the group — identified as co-conspirators in the affidavit — made hundreds of calls that affected 134 different law enforcement agencies, according to the affidavit.
The threats were made against Old Dominion University, where Kelley was a former student, and a prominent African American church in Alexandria, Virginia, among others, the affidavit alleged.
While authorities said Kelley was often not the person to make the alleged threats, he maintained “a supporting role” and identified targets to swat, the affidavit states.
One of the calls that Kelley did make was to his former university, the FBI agent said.
He made a call to campus police, saying he had an AR-15 and placed multiple bombs in buildings at the school, according to the affidavit.
About two hours later, campus police received another call from someone who apologized for making an accidental phone call.
Investigators determined the voice from both calls was Kelley, according to the affidavit.
Kelley’s attorney did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.
One of the members of the ring Kelley was allegedly part of described himself and the others as white supremacists who were “sympathetic to the neo-Nazi movement,” according to the affidavit.
Online chats that were reviewed by the FBI agent included numerous racial slurs and racist views, “with particular disdain for African Americans and Jewish people,” the affidavit claimed.
Kelley, who is in the custody of the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office, was due in court on Wednesday.