By Jacob Rivas
What any teen could consider a harmless prank could cost thousands of dollars to our militarized authorities and even cost somebody’s life. Swatting is when someone calls the police and files a false report causing a swat team to be dispatched to another person’s workplace or home. Most swatting incidents are attributed to an outraged gamer causing them to send a swat team to their rival’s home as revenge or a practical joke.
Recently a gamer known as “Kootra” was swatted during a livestream. A livestream is the ability to broadcast live footage over the internet. Kootra had his workplace invaded by a swat team and all the footage was captured over “Twitch.tv”. Police investigated further into Kootra’s case and traced the call back to a 15-year-old by the name “Paul Horner”. Horner also swatted a fellow player after being beaten in multiple games of “Battlefield 4”. Horner called the police and said ‘I just shot and killed four people, if any police enter my home I will kill them too’ causing swat teams to raid his rival’s home. Horner was sent to court and the judge sentenced him to 25 years to life in prison for ‘domestic terrorism’ causing Horner to break down into tears. The judge told him the he felt bad but he must be responsible for the causes of his own actions. Some people claim that his sentence is false , but we will never know.
Kootra is not the only Youtuber who has been a victim of swatting. On August 17 2014, Alexander Wachs also known as “Whiteboy7thst”, was swatted while livestreaming on Twitch.tv. Alex was livestreaming “Dayz” a post-apocalyptic zombie survival game, when police barged into his home. At around 5:34 you see a female police officer looking through Wachs’ computer equipment, at 5:35 the livestream went offline. A couple minutes later, drug sniffing police dogs were sent into Wachs’ home and they soon found over 30 grams of marijuana inside of his home. Wachswas arrested along with his girlfriend (Kpopp), another YouTube star. They were released but are currently under probation. As of now. The person who swatted Alex remains at large.
Swatting victims aren’t just gamers, on September 29, 2014 in Somerset, Ohio, a swatter reported a hostage situation involving a homemade bomb. This case is fairly new, so not much Information has been shared by police or residents. All we know is that it was a joke gone wrong. Though swatting seems like a prank, it is an extremely dangerous way to get revenge, and could have very serious ramifications.