The Story Behind Let Me Go by Willow Rose

09 Dec 2019

By Willow Rose

Let Me Go is the fifth book in my Eva Rae Thomas Mystery series.

Former FBI-profiler Eva Rae Thomas is chasing a killer that no one believes even exists. The story is about swatting, the act of making a prank call to emergency services to bring a large number of armed police officers to a particular address. It’s been known to be used as harassment and has ended up fatally in some cases. It’s used a lot in the gaming community. The killer in this book is using it to get his message out. It’s the perfect murder because it doesn’t look like murder.

The idea for this story came from an article I read about a woman who had been swatted as a form of harassment. Her teenage son was at home alone when it happened, and she was terrified that he might be killed by the police entering her home, thinking he might be armed. He wasn’t harmed, but the thought of it stirred up something inside of me, and I began researching the phenomenon. I found a lot written about it and found out it was very common in the gaming world. Some YouTubers are being swatted regularly while doing their videos. Luckily, it’s rare that it ends in fatalities or even people getting hurt. But I did find one story where it went terribly wrong. That was the story I used as the inspiration for my book.

Tyler Barriss was a serial swatter, and he called in bomb threats regularly and was making money off of people wanting him to swat someone for them. He bragged about it online, and one day, he and someone else decided to swat a guy that they had a dispute within a Call of Duty game. They called in a hostage situation to an address, and when the police arrived, the man living in the house at the address they had given walked out on the porch and was shot because the police thought he was armed and reaching for a gun. The man died. But that’s not all of it. It turned out it was the wrong address. It wasn’t even the guy they wanted to harass; it was some complete stranger, a 28-year-old man and a father of two who lost his life that day. The guy who made the call was later found, and he got twenty years in jail. His friend got fifteen months.

Willow Rose is the author of the new book Let Me Go.

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