Man killed by Wichita police after Call of Duty gamer made prank call
A “swatting” incident by a gamer in Kansas turned deadly when cops fatally shot an innocent 28-year-old man, it was revealed on Friday.
“Swatting” is cyber crime where a hoax call is made to emergency services with the intent of having a large number of SWAT officers dispatched to the victim’s address.
The gamer, who reportedly gave police the wrong address, claimed he had just shot his dad and was holding his mom and brother hostage, Wichita deputy chief Troy Livingston told reporters.
When officers arrived, they surrounded the house where the alleged shooting had happened.
A man walked out the front door. He raised and dropped his hands multiple times before an officer opened fire, killing the man with one shot, Livingston said.
But it was all a fraud.
Officers searched the house and found four people inside — none who had been shot or threatened.
Livingston called the “swatting” incident a “tragic and senseless act”.
“The irresponsible actions of a prankster put people and lives at risk,” Livingston said.
“The incident is a nightmare for everyone involved including the family and our police department.”
Because one idiot who thought it would be fun to swat another Call of Duty player over a stupid game had an innocent man killed, the entire gaming community is going to take a massive blow in attractiveness that it never really had before. Now they see “we” can be violent.
— Ender (@Ender132_) December 30, 2017
Butthurt Call of Duty players have to stop “swatting” to get people to lose games. It’s not that serious at all. ITS A GAME OF CALL OF DUTY. “Swatting” can get people killed, and that just happened. The COD player who called the SWAT should be jailed for some time. It’s only fair
— FALCONIA 🇪🇹 (@heartbreakyoni) December 29, 2017
Jesus. A gamer called in a fake hostage situation to prank another player. That player gave the wrong address. So the SWAT team set up outside the house of an innocent man and killed him when he left the house. https://t.co/VSGQFdv4Fs
— Rob Tornoe (@RobTornoe) December 29, 2017
Gamers told The Eagle newspaper of Wichita that the fake call stemmed from a feud between two “Call of Duty” players.
Gaming industry news site Dexerto reported the argument was over a US$1 (A$1.30) or $2 (A$2.60) bet. There were no immediate arrests.
The prankster put great detail in the deadly prank, cops said.
“The calling party stated that he didn’t mean to kill his dad. He was arguing with his mom and things got out of hand,” Livingston said.
The officer who fired is a 7 ½-year veteran, who has been placed on administrative leave.
Livingston defended the officer, saying the cop genuinely feared the victim was reaching for a gun. He turned out to be unarmed.
“There were several commands given” by police, Livingston said.
“They were all consistent, ‘Put your hands up walk towards us.’ But he continued to drop them down by his waistband.”
Despite this tragic outcome, Livingston his cops won’t discount 911 calls.
“When you call for help you’re going to get help. The officers have to respond accordingly,” he said.
A relative of the killed man told The Wichita Eagle that he didn’t play video games.
According to the newspaper, the actual target of the “swatting” wrote on Twitter: “Someone tried to swat me and got an innocent man killed.”
Other gaming fans have taken to Twitter to call for players to stop “swatting”.