The family of a 60-year-old Tennessee man has died after his blackmailers stepped forward to share his tragic story.
Mark Herring, described as “too smart” by Corrina Fitch, one of his three daughters, is always up to date with the latest technology trends, WKRN-TV reported.
According to Fitch, her father – a Tennessee Volunteers fan – “joined Twitter the day or week Twitter came out,” and finally got @Tennesee to express his love for his hometown, where he grew up and raised his family. myself.
But as the platform attracted more and more users in the years that followed, the number of people keeping an eye on his handle also increased. Herring once talked about the offers he received from people willing to buy his controller, Fitch recalls.
The value of that piece of internet real estate was never a serious issue for Herring and his family until April 27, 2020.
Fitch says the family began to learn what happened to Herring that same day after the pizza delivery driver started showing up on the doorstep of her, her mother, and her sister’s house. All are cash-on-delivery orders in Herring’s name, the outlet reported.
She even tried to contact her father via Facebook to find out what’s going on.
At first, the family thought this was the work of a prankster. But Herring’s son-in-law, Greg Hooge, suspects something else.
“I thought maybe something was wrong with Mark. I started calling him. I finally met his live-in girlfriend,” Greg recalls, according to WKRN. “She said, ‘everything is not fine. I’m in the back of a police car. I have to go.'”
The family later learned that Herring had fallen prey to what was known as swatting.
– Witness News WTVO / WQRF (@MyStateline) July 14, 2021
“His neighbor called [Herring] and say, ‘there’s police everywhere and they think a man killed a woman and he’s on your property. You need to cover up,” Greg said.
“He walked out of the house with a gun because he heard someone was on his property and he saw all these cops around him. They asked if he was Mark Herring and [say] ‘raise your hand.’ He threw the gun away to show that he wasn’t a threat then [puts his] raise your hand,” Fitch added.
Moments after seeing police officers, guns drawn around him, Herring went into cardiac arrest after “terrifying fear”, according to Fran Herring, the mother of his children.
When the family arrived at Sumner Regional Medical Center, they learned that Herring had passed away.
Earlier that day, the family later found out, an anonymous caller called Herring, asking him to give up. Twitter account – a demand Herring refused.
Investigations revealed that months later, two minors were behind the extortion.
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Tennessee resident Shane Sonderman, then a minor, “collected all of our information… my address, my sister, my mother, my other sister. He put it on a channel on Discord, a chat forum about the game,” according to Fitch.
Working with him as a minor in England, who cannot be extradited because he is under 18 years old. He “made a call to” [Herring’s] local police,” added Fitch.
“They don’t play a game, and they don’t think it’s funny. This is legal blackmail,” said Greg.
Swatting is a form of misleading cop, whereby someone dials 911 to notify law enforcement of a fake violent situation taking place at the victim’s address, requiring armed police intervention.
Swatters can do this as a joke or as a threat tactic, as in the case of Herring.
This is a very deadly type of nefarious activity because things can get really ugly if the police mistake an unsuspecting victim for an assailant and open fire.
Sonderman faces conspiracy charges, with five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He will next appear in court on July 21.