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Columbia senator drafting bill to increase swatting punishment after call to secretary of state’s house


Sen. Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) is working on legislation that would increase the penalty for swatting, following a swatting call to the secretary of state's house on Sunday night.

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft was a target of a swatting attempt at his home Sunday night, Ashcroft posted on his social media.

The post reads, "My home was just swatted. My family and I are safe. I am grateful to Jefferson City law enforcement for the professionalism with which they handled the situation."

Ashcroft told ABC 17 News that he received a phone call from police just after 9 p.m. Sunday telling him to come out with his hands up. He put his wife and children in a back closet and walked out of the house slowly and empty-handed. Ashcroft described how multiple armed officers came up to him and instructed him on how to move forward.

"The police responded in force," Ashcroft said. "They were very professional. They were very calm. They were they were more calm than I was. I really appreciate how they handled the situation. It's not something I had ever planned to have to handle. Didn't really know the right thing to do is in that situation."

It is not clear what led to the Secretary of State's home to be swatted.

Jefferson City police are not commenting on the matter.

The swatting call to Ashcroft's Jefferson City home last night was not the first false alarm against the Missouri government this week. Wednesday, the first day of the legislative session, a fake bomb threat was called into the capitol.

"Whatever the penalty is right now, which I think is relatively insignificant relative to the crime, we're going to enhance that penalty, hopefully, and try to figure out a way to deter folks from thinking that this is acceptable in any way, shape or form," Rowden said.

Rowden said he wants to increase the punishment for swatting in Missouri. The current penalty is a class B misdemeanor.

"If it happens to anybody, it doesn't matter if you're an elected official or you're a teacher or you're a janitor or you're an executive somewhere, I don't care," Ashcroft said. "It's wrong. It puts people's lives in danger."

Article Topic Follows: Jefferson City

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Hannah Falcon

Hannah joined the ABC 17 News Team from Houston, Texas, in June 2021. She graduated from Texas A&M University. She was editor of her school newspaper and interned with KPRC in Houston. Hannah also spent a semester in Washington, D.C., and loves political reporting.

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Erika McGuire

Erika McGuire originally comes from Detriot. She is a reporter and weekend anchor on ABC 17 News.


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