Exclusive-Republican candidate Nikki Haley targeted in second swatting attempt

By Alexandra Ulmer

(Reuters) – Two days after a man called in a fake emergency at the South Carolina home of Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, she was targeted by a second “swatting” attempt, this time by someone who said Haley had killed her daughter, according to an incident report seen by Reuters.

A deputy with the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office responded on Jan. 1 to Haley’s home in the town of Kiawah Island after someone called 911 claiming to be on the phone with Haley, an incident report from the sheriff’s office said.

The caller said Haley had shot her daughter, who was lying in a pool of blood, and was threatening to shoot herself, the report said.

The deputy spoke to an unidentified woman at the front door who matched Haley’s description and quickly concluded the call was a hoax, according to the report, which Reuters received in response to a request for records of swatting incidents at Haley’s home. The Jan. 1 swatting attempt has not been previously reported.

Haley’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Haley said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that she had been subjected to two swatting attempts but did not provide a date for the second incident or provide details of what happened. “It wasn’t the first time,” she said of the Dec. 30 incident. “I think we’ve had it happen twice.”

Swatting is the filing of false reports to the police to set off a potentially dangerous response by officers. Law enforcement experts see it as a form of intimidation or harassment that is increasingly being used to target prominent figures, including officials involved in the civil and criminal cases against Donald Trump. Haley is challenging Trump for the Republican presidential nomination in the November election.

Reuters on Saturday reported that Haley’s home had been swatted on Dec. 30, when a man called 911 and claimed to have shot a woman and threatened to harm himself at her home. Haley’s parents, aged 87 and 90, and their caretaker were home at the time, according to law enforcement records.

The swatting incidents are among a wave of violent threats, bomb scares and other acts of intimidation against government officials, members of the judiciary and election administrators since the 2020 election that have alarmed law enforcement ahead of this year’s U.S. presidential contest.

Swatting cases have surged over the past two months, targeting both allies and rivals of Trump as he campaigns to return to the White House.

The targets include figures who have publicly opposed Trump, such as Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, a Democrat who barred him from her state’s primary ballot. Judges and at least one prosecutor handling cases against Trump have been targeted. But Trump backers such as U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene have also faced swatting attempts.

The hoaxes against Haley, who is challenging frontrunner Trump for the Republican presidential nomination, occurred in the town of Kiawah Island, an affluent, gated South Carolina community of around 2,000 people.

(Reporting by Alexandra Ulmer in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Linda So in Washington; Editing by Jason Szep and Lisa Shumaker)

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