Internet Prank Goes Too Far, Sends Schools Into Lockdown

Internet Prank Goes Too Far, Sends Schools Into Lockdown

"Swatting" is a "prank" that involves calling the police on Twitch streamers for bogus crimes. They get arrested mid-stream, one (anonymous) person in the whole damn world has a good laugh, and nobody else wins. This time it got way out of hand.

Jordan "Kootra" Mathewson, founder of popular streaming collective The Creatures, was streaming Counter-Strike from a Littleton, Colorado office when it happened. You can see the full video here:

The short version? A full-blown SWAT team burst into Mathewson's space, brandishing rather large weapons while shouting things like "GET ON THE FUCKING GROUND" and "PUT YOUR HANDS BEHIND YOUR BACK RIGHT NOW."

In most instances of swatting, this is where it ends. Not so this time around, however. Colorado's 9 News reports that this SWAT effort was especially door-smashy and shout-shouty because they'd received an anonymous tip from someone claiming to have killed several of their co-workers and planted bombs inside the building where Mathewson resided.

As a result of the huge SWAT and police response, multiple schools in the area went on full lockdown. People nearby were also evacuated while police searched for bombs and the (non-existent) (non) killer.

Here is the city of Littleton's full statement on the matter:

"Littleton Police Detectives are investigating the origin of the 911 call received this morning regarding the reported shooting at 1221 West Mineral Avenue. The caller claimed to have shot two co-workers, held others hostage, and threatened to shoot them. He stated that if the officers entered he would shoot them as well. There were no victims or any evidence that a shooting had taken place."

"Law enforcement in the South Metro Area and throughout the country are all too familiar with active shooter situations. In the wake of these incidents, Littleton Police and other law enforcement agencies train for rapid response to quickly rescue victims and neutralize the situation."

"Fortunately there were no injuries today, but a massive law enforcement response wastes resources and greatly increases the chances of innocent people being injured or killed."

"Law enforcement in the South Metro Area and throughout the country are all too familiar with active shooter situations. In the wake of these incidents, Littleton Police and other law enforcement agencies train for rapid response to quickly rescue victims and neutralize the situation."

"Fortunately there were no injuries today, but a massive law enforcement response wastes resources and greatly increases the chances of innocent people being injured or killed."

"If the investigation determines that today's incident was a hoax, those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

The lesson? Don't fucking swat people. Ever. It's massively dangerous and irresponsible.

I asked Twitch about their policy for responding to this and other similar fiascos, but they had sadly little to offer. A Twitch rep simply told me, "When these things happen, we are always willing to work with law enforcement."

This is hardly the first time swatting has happened, though. In actuality, it's been going on for years among hackers and groups of the like. Recently a number of streamers have had to pause their games (and sometimes their lives) because of pranks that land them on cold floors and/or in detention cells.

Earlier this month, for instance, popular streamer WhiteBoy7thst got an unexpected visit from the men and women in uniform while streaming DayZ. He and his girlfriend ended up getting arrested on marijuana possession charges. He'd been charged with drug possession before, but still, the point remains the same: this is a "prank" with real world consequences. Huge ones, potentially.

Thankfully no one was actually hurt during the incident in Littleton, Colorado. Still, this is not the sort of prank I would ever venture to call harmless.

Thanks Daily Dot.


Comments

    The internet is too good for some people.
    This prank is going to end up with the people in charge getting pissed off and trying to pass more laws to track people so they can find these assholes who are making false claims.

    Last edited 28/08/14 3:34 pm

      or the streamer or someone at the premises pick up a remote control to turn the TV down and get killed by the SWAT. Absolutely no consideration for any impacts or consequences.

        This.

        Its all gonna come to a head when someone gets shot due to one of these prank calls going badly

          and I work in a Militaria shop, so it's gonna be me while I'm holding a Japanese Sword.

        This... might not be pleasant to consider, but...

        That might actually be a desired result, for the kind of person who does this.

      Orrrrr maybe the lawmakers did this themself just so they could pass those laws!

    I like how a couple of the officers looked at the screen like the wheels were turning in their head and they realised they were pranked, but still had to follow procedure.

    Did they say if they caught the idiot who called it in? They should be punished to the full extent possible. What a friggin' moron.

      That in which lies the problem most swatters with any brains would phone mask/proxy, use mobile burners, public phones or even use special devices designed for the deaf to contact the police, its even possible for a overseas person to prank the police if they have the know-how, it's notoriously hard to catch them unless their stupid enough to use a home line or personal mobile.

    AND IT'S ALL BECAUSE OF VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES.
    (Joke)

    Last edited 28/08/14 5:06 pm

    I'm not sure it is helpful reporting on each one though, doesn't that just make the prankster more happy with their result.
    This case I think needs to be known, but each time one happens it gets a writeup here.

      ^ This

      The problem is that the Creatures are reasonable well know Youtubers and the incident caused enough turmoil to be "newsworthy", that is to say, to generate traffic.
      As a rule of thumb I would say, it is absolutely vital to point out, that the prankster is on the same level as everyone, who drops paving stones on traffic from bridges - they are endangering lives!
      And, you know, it wouldn't hurt to hammer that point home in every line of the article.

      But I would very much love to never see such articles again, for whatever reason.

    This kind of shit is just stupidity at its wost! I honestly hope terrible things happen to the person/people who did/do these sorts of things for their own entertainment. I mean how stupid, desperate for attention, lonely & neurologically handicapped must this 12 year be to actually convince themselves that this is cool or funny?

    want a massive waste of taxpayer money i hope they find and destroy the pranker/s .
    Not to mention that friend you are trying to prank could end up in jail if he has some pot or something on him or dead or hurt, its a incredibly dangerous situation to put them in.
    what a moron.

    Keep doing this that it will be just like the boy who cried wolf, eventually when there is real terrorism, the SWAT team cbf anymore or occupied by another "swatting" of Twitch streamer.

    Bloody americans need to grow up.

    "What about this is funny to you?"
    "I'm not doing anything funny."
    ...
    "Terrorists win!"
    You said it, game announcer :(

    "He stated that if the officers entered he would shoot them as well."
    This reads more like a hit than a prank. I'll be so, so happy if they find the caller.

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