A prank that first gained popularity on video game streaming sites like Twitch may be behind the death of a man in Wichita, Kansas. “Swatting,” as its known, involves sending local police to a streamer’s house when their address leaks online. The somewhat popular prank can be very dangerous in nature, as pranksters typically report killings or hostage situations at the location in question, prompting a large-scale response by police.
Such a prank is now bring blamed for the death of a 28-year-old man from Wichita. The swatting incident allegedly took place after a disagreement between a pair of Call of Duty players who were participating in a wagered match that was worth $1.50. According to Krebs on Security, the disagreement spiraled out of control, with one person giving the other a fake address, which was then passed along to a known swatter.
A story that originally ran in The Wichita Eagle paints a rather depressing picture of the confrontation that came after that. The paper notes that a team of police officers were dispatched to the reported address, believing that someone had shot their father and taken their mother, brother, and sister hostage. When police arrived at the house, a male came to the front door, at which point one of the officers discharged their weapon.
The man who answered the door later died at the hospital, and now police have launched an investigation concerning whether or not the call was an act of swatting and why the officer fired his weapon prematurely. Brian Krebs had a brief conversation with the person who claimed responsibility for the false report to police, and though he admits that he was the one who called police and regrets his actions, he says he won’t turn himself in.
Unfortunately, swatting is becoming a major issue within the gaming world, and it seems that the Call of Duty community specifically has a big problem with it. With so many of these false reports being called in on people who are unfortunate enough to have their address leaked online, it was only a matter of time before someone was injured or killed. In this case, it was an innocent man who had no involvement in the dispute in the first place.
This story is still developing, but we’ll keep you posted as more details surface.