Some Jerk Swatted The Teen Behind 'Damn Daniel'
The creator of the inexplicably viral "Damn Daniel" video fell victim to one of the Internet's most popular pranks.For no apparent reason, a 30-second video now known in pop culture nomenclature as the "Damn Daniel" went viral earlier this week. It is simply several short cuts of a Riverside teenager, identified as Daniel Lara, going about his day while his friend Josh Holz records him and repeats, "Damn, Daniel." At one point, the Holz states, "Back at it again with the white Vans!" referring to a pair of white Vans shoes that this Daniel wears in a few cuts. Somehow, this video has been retweeted nearly 300,000 times, and people are trying to sell white Vans on eBay, with one bid as high as $300,000, according to NY Daily News.
However, as these things usually go, with viral fame comes a price—usually because people on the Internet are jerks.
Police responded to a home in the 6200 block of Hamilton Drive in Riverside at about 1 a.m. this morning after a man called 9-1-1 and told the dispatcher that he had shot his mother in the head, NBC Los Angeles reports. Police arrived only to find out that no such shooting had occurred, and later determined that the confused occupants of the home had been the victim of a "swatting." Swatting is when someone calls the police to report a phony crime in the hopes that a SWAT team will show up to a particular home.
It turns out that one of the victims of the alleged swatting was "Damn Daniel" creator Josh Holz. The family told officers that ever since the video went viral, they've been getting a number of phone calls from people they did not know, in addition to the malicious hoax.
Riverside Police Department Lt. Kevin Townsend said that swatting calls are usually made out of revenge or by teenagers. "Once we're able to track down who made the call, it's someone trying to get back at someone, whether it be an ex or something like that but that's what it seems like—exes or teenagers," he said.
People have tried to call SWAT teams to the homes of celebrities like Justin Timberlake, Clint Eastwood and Tom Cruise in the past, and in 2014, a YouTube personality was swatted as he broadcasted a live stream of him playing a video game. Those watching the live stream witnessed officers restraining the YouTuber on the ground and searching his office.
Swatting can be prosecuted as the federal crime in the U.S., according to the FBI.