Calif. Teen Accused of Swatting Florida Mosque May Be Connected to Other Incidents Across U.S., Sheriff Says

FOX 35

Seminole Co. Fla., (SCSO / News Release) – The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) has charged a teenager with multiple felonies for conducting a swatting incident at a local Mosque, deceiving law enforcement into sending numerous deputies to the location.

The investigation began on May 12, 2023, when Seminole County law enforcement received a call from a male who stated he was entering the Masjid Al Hayy Mosque located at 786 Myrtle Street in Sanford to conduct a mass shooting. The caller made references to Satanism and stated he had handgun and explosive devices. He then began playing audio of gunfire in the background. In response to the call, approximately 30 law enforcement officers respond to the Masjid Al Hayy Mosque. After arriving on the scene and finding no shooter and the mosque staff safe, it was determined to be a swatting incident.

The SCSO Domestic Security Division (DSD) continued investigating the incident alongside the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Through extensive collaboration, it was determined that the suspect, later identified as Alan Winston Filion, 17, of Lancaster, California, created several accounts on websites offering swatting services. Various IP addresses connected to these accounts led to Filion’s home address. On July 15, 2023, the FBI served a search warrant on the residence. Based on information gathered during the search warrant and incriminating evidence obtained from the analysis of the devices seized, a warrant was obtained for Filion’s arrest. On January 18, 2024, with the assistance of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Filion was taken into custody and booked into the Los Angeles Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall. Filion was charged as an adult on felony charges.

Filion was extradited to Seminole County, Florida, on January 30, 2024, and booked into the John E. Polk Correctional Facility on a no-bond status. This case was investigated with considerable assistance from the Seattle, Los Angeles, and Tampa FBI field offices, and
law enforcement partners at the local and state levels.

Investigators believe that Filion may also be connected to other swatting incidents across the United States. If the connection is made, local authorities will investigate those cases within their jurisdictions and under their local authority.

Regarding the investigation and arrest, Sheriff Dennis Lemma stated: “Swatting is a perilous and senseless crime, which puts innocent lives in dangerous situations and drains valuable resources. The substantial law enforcement response in this swatting case underscores our unwavering dedication to community safety and holding offenders accountable, regardless of where they are located. Make no mistake, we will continue to work tirelessly in collaboration with our policing partners and the judiciary to apprehend swatting perpetrators. Gratitude is extended to all agencies involved at the local, state, and federal levels, and this particular investigation and case stands as a stern warning: swatting will face zero tolerance, and measures are in place to identify and prosecute those responsible for such crimes.”

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