Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, a 16-year-old Pennsylvanian who last month won the $3 million grand prize in the Fortnite World Cup, was “swatted” while livestreaming on Twitch on Saturday night.
Giersdorf was playing Fortnite Arena Trios with friends when the incident occurred. Giersdorf could be heard talking to his father. “I’ve been swatted,” he said before disappearing for approximately 10 minutes.
“Swatting” is a criminal harassment tactic in which someone reports a false emergency to get authorities, particularly a SWAT team, to descend on an unsuspecting target.
“Well, that’s a new one,” Giersdorf said when he returned to the stream. “They came in with guns, bro. They literally pulled up. … That’s scary. … The internet’s f—ing crazy.”
Giersdorf said the incident deescalated after he was recognized by one of the armed officers.
Cpl. Albert Werner of the Upper Pottsgrove Township Police told ESPN that the department received a call from a person acting as Giersdorf. The caller told police he had killed his father, shooting him multiple times, and tied up his mother in the garage.
Police headed to the Giersdorf home and surrounded it. Werner said it’s procedure to then call into the home. When police called, Giersdorf’s father answered the phone, then came out the front door.
Werner said the entire incident only lasted about a half hour but involved lots of resources. He added that police believe the call came from Europe.
In March, a 26-year-old Los Angeles man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for taking part in such a hoax, which he staged as retaliation for a loss in a game of Call of Duty.
Tyler R. Barriss pleaded guilty in November to 51 federal charges related to fake calls and threats including a Dec. 28, 2017, call to police in Wichita, Kansas, during which Barriss falsely reported a shooting and hostage situation at a local address that resulted in the death of Andrew Finch, a 28-year-old father of two.
Reuters contributed to this report.