Sat. Oct 1st, 2022
Heavily armed men in body armor stand behind a van.
enlarge A police SWAT team at work.

Yet another armed police force has been deployed on yet another unsuspecting victim, such as the recently crowned Fortnite world champion took a break from a live stream to deal with a swatting incident at his own front door.

Kotaku Reports Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf Was Streaming Fortnite game late on Sunday when he abruptly left his desk and left the game while the live stream was still running. Cause? His father came to tell him that armed police were at the door.

Fortunately, Bugha returned to the stream unharmed a few minutes later. “That was definitely a new one,” it sounds on a recording of the stream. “I’ve been hit.”

The relatively quick and peaceful resolution of the problem was due in part to sheer luck. “I was lucky because that one officer, yes, he lives near us,” Bugha explained on the stream.

Bugha won $3 million for his first-place finish in the first-ever Fortnite World Cup in July and even appeared on The Tonight Show to talk to host Jimmy Fallon about his win. He is also all 16 years old, so his parents were also involved in a threat against him, whose personal information may have been easy to find.

“Swatting” occurs when someone makes a fake emergency call to a police department, hoping to mobilize an emergency response (i.e. a SWAT team) to the victim’s home. Bugha was lucky that the agents responding to his address were in the mood to ask questions first.

not so happy

Not all slapping victims are so lucky, as US police are heavily armed, increasingly fully militarized, and often all too willing to fire. At least 544 people have been shot dead by police across the country so far in 2019, according to a Washington Post database.

Bugha is far from the first player to be targeted, especially when he’s livestreaming for everyone to see. A Kansas man named Andrew Finch was killed in a swatting event in 2017, although he was not the intended target. The police came to his home to investigate false reports of a hostage situation. The man behind the hoax call was sentenced to 20 years in prison earlier this year for his role in Finch’s death.

Also earlier this year, a 17-year-old in Ohio was charged with 73 counts related to his posting of dozens of hoax-swatting calls to state police.

The unfortunate trend is on the rise. The Seattle Police Department launched an anti-swatting initiative in 2018, with an accompanying public service announcement asking live streamers and other heavy tech users who may be targeted to proactively sign up so 911 operators can keep their can compare name with a known list.

By akfire1

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