Local family traumatized after alleged swatting

MEMPHIS, Tenn — A Southaven mom said she and her family are traumatized after an alleged ‘swatting’, or prank, involving her son, who has autism.

Her name is Pam Hamner, formerly known as Pam McKelvy, a local Memphis reporter and TV anchor from the late 90′s, early 2000′s.

Hamner posted tweets and videos that now have tens of thousands of shares that show the moments her son and husband were both arrested and her son was placed in a detention center for three days.

One week ago, Hamner said her teenage son, who has autism, was arrested and taken to juvenile detention

According to her, the teen was ‘swatted’ by someone

“Well, swatting is when an individual make a false claim that a person might harm themself or something that’s going on with a particular person. That requires the all police response,” said law enforcement expert and former Shelby County Sheriff’s Office lieutenant Michael Collins.

He said swatting is considered a prank to the ones doing it, but it’s the opposite for the officers responding.

“The police are caught between a rock and a hard place in a situation like this, not responding and someone end up hurting someone else or hurting themselves, then they have a liability that falls on the police.”

In a thread, Hamner said the officers took her son into custody, then told her they were arresting him for terrorism.

She said they also arrested and charged her husband with resisting arrest, hindering prosecution, and disorderly conduct.

And, Hamner said her son was held for three days but was never given his medications.

In a statement released on Monday, the Southaven Police Department said in full:

Due to Mississippi law protecting juveniles, the Southaven Police Department typically does not make statements about juvenile incidents. However, based on the misleading version of events, which is circulating on social media regarding a recent incident, the Southaven Police are compelled to address this matter for the integrity of its police force, along with the individual officers.

On February 6, 2023, the Southaven Police Department received a call from a suicide prevention hotline stating that an individual who resided in Southaven had made threats to either shoot up a school or commit suicide on February 15th. For obvious reasons, the Southaven Police Department takes any threat to commit acts of violence against themselves or other children at school very seriously. The information regarding the threat was provided to the Southaven Police Department’s Investigative Services Unit, and detectives immediately began working to verify the source of the threat received from the hotline. The Southaven Detectives were able to quickly verify the identity of the person who made the threat and the address. The individual, who made the threat, is a juvenile who resides with the parents in Southaven.

Shortly thereafter, detectives contacted the juvenile’s mother, who agreed to meet at the residence. Upon further investigation, a youth court custody order was granted for the juvenile suspect, who was then taken into custody. During this investigation, based on the actions of the father of the juvenile suspect, the father was subsequently arrested for hindering prosecution, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. This entire event was recorded by body-worn camera. At this juncture, in accordance with Mississippi Code Section 25-61-12 (2) (a), the Southaven Police Department is not able to release the body camera footage until the investigation is complete.

The Southaven Police Department proactively investigates threats of school violence, weighing the interest of public safety against the interest of the individual. This case is now in the hands of the Desoto County Youth Court and the Southaven Municipal Court. In the interest of all parties, the Southaven Police Department requests that everyone allow the judicial process to unfold and not try this case in social media or court of public opinion. The City of Southaven’s Police Department is committed to transparency and looks forward to the release of the body-worn camera video of this incident, in accordance with Mississippi law, at the appropriate time.

We appreciate the public’s patience as this case proceeds through the judicial system.

In her tweets, Hamner explained that her son lives in Southaven, but he goes to school in Tennessee.