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L.A. County teen accused of 'swatting' Florida mosque, suspected in other hoax threats

Masjid Al Hayy mosque in Sanford, Florida.
Masjid Al Hayy in Sanford, Fla., was the target of a swatting incident last year. (Google Maps)

He called law enforcement to say he was going to shoot up a Florida mosque. Then, there were sounds of gunfire.

But it was all fake, authorities say. And now, a teenager from Lancaster has been arrested on suspicion of phoning in the phony threat.

The incident occurred May 12, when law enforcement in Seminole County received a call from someone who said he was entering the Masjid Al Hayy in Sanford, Fla., to carry out a mass shooting.

The caller made references to Satanism and said he had a handgun and explosives, authorities said in a statement.

"He then began playing audio of gunfire in the background," the statement continued.

Read more: Child arrested in 'swatting' plot that terrorized Orange County synagogues

Seminole County law enforcement responded to the mosque, but when officers arrived they found there was no shooter.

Officers determined the call was a swatting incident — in which someone reports a false crime or emergency at a specific location to provoke an aggressive law enforcement response, often from a SWAT team.

An investigation, conducted in partnership with the Justice Department and FBI, identified the suspect as Alan Winston Filion, 17, of Lancaster.

Investigators allege they found various IP addresses connected to several accounts he created on websites offering swatting services.

Read more: Oxnard 'swatting' call, with police taunted via Ring camera, is part of federal indictment

The FBI searched Filion's home July 15, and a warrant was later issued for his arrest.

On Jan.18, with assistance from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Filion was taken into custody and booked into Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall.

He has been charged in Florida as an adult and faces several felony charges, including making a false report of violence, unlawful use of a communication device, false report to law enforcement concerning commission of a capital felony while facilitating or furthering an act of terrorism, and swatting.

Read more: Black Lives Matter leader targeted in third 'swatting' incident, the second since last week

Filion was extradited to Seminole County on Tuesday and booked into the John E. Polk Correctional Facility.

Investigators believe Filion may also be connected to other swatting incidents across the country.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.