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Police: Another video gamer victim of ‘swatting’

Another Western Washington kid has been the victim of a
“swatting” hoax through an online video game service.
This time, a 13-year-old in Rainier was
the target.

Lieutenant Greg Elwin, with the Thurston County
Sheriff’s Office, says they have reason to believe someone
named “Matt” in Maryland was behind the false alarm.

“AT&T was the Internet service provider, so AT&T calls us
and says, ‘Hey, we’re getting these messages about this
hostage situation,’ and so they’re relaying to us over the
phone the messages that they’re getting electronically,”
says Elwin.

The first message came in around 8:50 p.m. Tuesday
night. The person allegedly stated that they were in the
home and would be shot if they tried to leave. Six
deputies, with lights flashing and sirens blaring, raced
over to the home and surprised the young gamer, who was
there alone.

The 13-year-old told deputies that he had been
threatened last month over Xbox by someone who said they
were going to “swat” him. The teen seemed to know
exactly what that meant, although Elwin says he had never
heard the term before.

“What swatting is, the way this kid describes it,
is that they make up this stuff in hopes that the swat
team will show up at your house,” explains Elwin.

Two hours later, around 10:58 p.m., another call
came in to 911 from the same service provider with the
message claiming to be from the same Rainier address.
This time, the father in the home was allegedly holding a
knife to the grandmother’s throat and had a gun pointed at
the grandfather.

“Which is amazing because in the first call, dad
was bleeding from gunshot wounds, so he’s recovered
remarkably for the second call,” Elwin says.

The sheriff’s office did contact the teen and his
father again. Since the first call, the boy had still
been gaming online. He told deputies that someone named
“Matt” had been bragging about swatting his home. The
Rainier boy saved the information to his flash drive and
turned it over to investigators.

Just last week, the same thing happened to a teen
in Kitsap County. It looks like a gamer in Canada might
be to blame in that case.

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