The list of gamers, journalists, and developers who have been the recipients of “swatting” added another name as an executive with Bungie, the developer behind Destiny and Halo, was swatted during the 4 a.m. hour of Thursday morning.
According to a report from local KOMO News, neighbor Janette Gould was awoken by the sounds of a helicopter overhead her house in the early hours of the morning.
Speaking to KOMO Gould said, “It was so loud and it lasted for 45 minutes. A very long time,” Gould said Thursday. “It’s very unusual. We never have airplane activity in this neighborhood. I was thinking it was a flight for life.”
The reason for the police presence was that a call had been made to the Sammamish Police Department detailing a hostage situation at the residence of the unnamed Bungie executive.
“The caller said he had an assault rifle and he had placed explosives in the yard and he was holding a family hostage,” said Nathan Elledge, chief of police at the Sammamish Police Department. “He wanted $20,000 to release the family.”
The term “swatting” refers to when someone calls in a fake threat such as the one in this situation for the purpose of harassing and scaring another gamer, journalist, or developer. One of the more recent swatting situations that made a buzz was when a swatting was captured on a Twitch.tv stream, which the Inquisitr reported on previously. The caller who is doing the “swatting” usually calls from a network of computers to make it difficult for police and other authorities to track them. The penalty for “swatting” normally comes with a $5,000 fine and up to a year in prison.
In the case of the Bungie executive, no SWAT team was deployed, but it took the better part of an hour for police to determine that the family inside was sleeping and not being held at gunpoint behind a wall of explosives. Kings County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Hock states that at this point, they do not have any leads they can share about the nature of the call and who made it.
“They haven’t been able to unravel the knot of where it comes back to. They were able to tell there were no bombs in the yard, no one with a rifle holding the family hostage.”
The Bungie executive eventually came out of the house in a confused state in a bathrobe.
While there are no leads to the case, police believe that because of the nature of the Bungie executive’s job, he was swatted by someone connected to the video game industry.
“Maybe a contractor for his work or someone at his work who didn’t have a great experience with him,” Houck added.
The International Business Times reported that a Bungie spokeswoman said that the victim and his family are fine, but that Bungie would rather not talk further about the swatting incident.