LANCASTER – A Lancaster teenager was behind bars in Florida Thursday for allegedly phoning in a false report of a mass shooting at a Seminole County mosque, and authorities suspect he may be tied to other similar “swatting” calls across the country.
Alan Winston Filion, 17, was arrested Jan. 18 but was extradited to Florida on Tuesday, Jan. 30, according to the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff’s officials allege Filion made a hoax call on May 12, 2023, claiming that he was walking into the Masjid Al Hayy Mosque in Sanford, Florida, to carry out a mass shooting. He then played audio of gunfire in the background of the call. According to the sheriff’s office, roughly 30 law enforcement officers descended on the mosque, only to discover the call was a case of “swatting,” in which people make fake crime reports in hopes of eliciting a major response from law enforcement, including a SWAT team.
Sheriff’s officials contend Filion created multiple accounts on “swatting” websites, with various IP addresses from the accounts tied to his home address. Federal authorities searched his home in July of last year, and based on evidence obtained, a warrant was issued for Filion’s arrest. Filion was charged in Florida as an adult with various alleged offenses, including making a false report of violence, unlawful use of a communications device, false report to law enforcement regarding the commission of a capital felony, and swatting.
“Investigators believe that Filion may also be connected to other swatting incidents across the United States,” sheriff’s officials said in a statement. “If the connection is made, local authorities will investigate those cases within their jurisdictions and under their local authority.”