An Air Force veteran and gamer raided by swat team in front of his viewers
An armed police posse, prompted by a phone call, raided a popular gamer at his home when he was live streaming to nearly 60,000 viewers on the video game website Twitch.
Joshua Peters, a U.S. Air Force veteran and a avid gamer, who lives in St. Cloud, Minnesota, was playing browser games on Wednesday when he fell victim to an apparent “swatting” prank.
Swatting is the practice where a prank phone call is placed to the police with false bait information, base on which they then respond with the deployment of SWAT team or armed officers at the target of the swatter.
The SWAT teams are trained to kill or maim and are generally briefed to take down the target before asking any questions and therefore such pranks can often lead serious injuries.
William Anderson, St. Cloud Chief of Police, confirmed the incident to ABC News and is under investigation.
Peters earns a living by streaming his sessions of Clash of Clans and RuneScape. Peters who is known to the online gaming community like Twitch as Koopatroopa787, was playing with his noise-canceling headphones at his residence where his mother and brothers also lived. At around 5:40 mark on his live Twitch.TV stream, he excused himself from the gaming session after his mother called out to him, saying, “Cops are here, one second.”
He then later returned to close the stream as he held back tears, discussing the events that had just unfolded. Before ending the stream, Koopatroopa787 addressed his attacker,
“I see you posting my address. I had police point a gun at my little brothers because of you. They could have been shot, they could have died because you chose to SWAT my stream,” he said, addressing the anonymous attacker. “I don’t give a **** about what you have against me, or what I did to you. For that, I am at a loss for words. Your gripe is with me so let it be with me and do not involve my family in any way, shape or form with this. They don’t deserve that.”
Speaking to the Guardian the day after the attack, Peters said he had no idea why he was targeted. “There are no possible persons who I can think would do something like this to me.”
He also said that “My channel’s not crazy big, like some of these other mainstream streamers. I just didn’t expect that. I was going upstairs, and before I knew it, my face was on a tile on the ground, hands wide open and a bunch of police officers with assault rifles.”
Although St Cloud police confirmed that Peters was the first swatting target the city had seen, the officers were aware of the concept, so they was able to defuse the situation peacefully.
The officers who stormed his home were “very professional about it” when they realized they had been sent to the house as part of a swatting prank. Peters said he is now working with authorities to identify the anonymous gamer who could have targeted him.