A feud between two Call of Duty players has resulted in a man being shot to death by a SWAT team in his home due to “swatting” in Wichita, Kansas.
According to news reports, a 28-year-old man was shot and killed by police after a fraudulent SWAT team call sent a small army of police officers to the man’s private home. Even more sad, the man was not even involved in the feud between the COD players. One threatened another with a swatting call, with the person who was the target of the swatting giving the other gamer a false address, which sent police to a nearby home instead of his own, according to Twitter posts.
“Swatting” is known as the act of deceiving an emergency service (via such means as hoaxing an emergency services dispatcher) into sending a police and 9-1-1 emergency service response team to another person’s address, based on the false reporting of a serious law enforcement emergency, such as a bomb threat, murder, hostage-taking or other alleged incident.
The person who was to be the target of the swatting sent a Tweet saying, “Someone tried to swat me and got an innocent man killed.” Apparently the argument began due to a $2 wager over a Call of Duty match.
Deputy Wichita Police Chief Troy Livingston said the department received a call that someone had an argument with their mother, that the father had been shot in the head and the shooter was holding his mother, brother and sister hostage. “That was the information we were working off of,” he said.
Officers went to the 1000 block of McCormick, preparing for a hostage situation and they “got into position,” he said. “A male came to the front door. As he came to the front door, one of our officers discharged his weapon.”
After news began to spread about what had happened, a number of Twitter posts appeared, that have since been removed regarding the incident.
It’s incredibly tragic that, due to this online “prank”, a completely innocent man has lost his life. There are plenty of elements at play here as well, and questions come to mind about why someone pulled the trigger on this man so quickly, although I’m certainly not going to question what a SWAT team would do if they were going into a scenario with the frame of mind that there was a mother and children being held hostage. But again, how much aggression is necessary if the man didn’t actually have a weapon on him when he came outside?
Swatting is no doubt an idiotic prank to play, putting peoples lives at risk along with wasting resources of emergency services who definitely have better things to do than be involved in a situation such as this. On top of that, this will end up as another story about how Call of Duty – a video game known for its violence and controversy in the past – has in one way or another led to the death of someone IRL.
Cue the discussions around video games leading to violent, childish behaviour in 3… 2… 1…