Armed police officers surrounded the home of 16-year-old Fortnite World Cup champion Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf during a live-streaming session at his home on Saturday.
The teenager, who won the $3 million grand prize at the Fortnite World Cup in July, was “swatted” in the middle of a live-streaming session. Someone impersonated him and called the police. They said he killed his father and was holding his mother hostage, according to ESPN.
“Swatting” refers to an illegal and dangerous practice in which someone makes a hoax call to the local police. The person reports a crime at the home of a target so that a SWAT team arrives.
Twitch streamers and YouTubers have often been targeted in the past, with incidents captured on live-stream.
A 26-year-old California man found guilty of a hoax call during a Call of Duty game in 2017 was sentenced to 20 years in prison in March. The hoax call resulted in police accidentally shooting an innocent Kansas man.
Bugha was reportedly at home in Upper Pottsgrove Township, Pennsylvania, on Saturday night. He was broadcasting a game of Fortnite Arena Trios with friends on the streaming platform Twitch when the incident occurred.
A recording of the live-streaming (see videos below) appears to show Bugha’s dad interrupting the game to say that police had surrounded the house. Bugha could be heard saying, “I’ve been swatted.”
He left the game for several minutes while his friends wondered what was going on.
“They came in with guns, bro,” Bugha exclaimed when he returned to the game minutes later. “They literally pulled up. That’s scary – The internet’s f**k**g crazy.”
ESPN reports that police in Upper Pottsgrove Township, Pennsylvania, said they received a call from someone impersonating Bugha. The caller claimed he had shot and killed his dad and that he was holding his mom hostage.
Police said they rushed to the address and surrounded the home. They then put a call through to Bugha’s father who answered them and later went out to the officers.
An officer who lived in the neighborhood and knew the family reportedly helped to defuse the dangerous situation.
Police told ESPN they believed the call came from someone in Europe.
The dramatic incident comes nearly two weeks after Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf became the first-ever Solos Fortnite World cup champion. He won it in a highly competitive tournament at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, NYC.
Bugha won with 59 points after six matches, leading the first runner up with 26 points.