Kansas police are investigating whether a spat over online game Call of Duty prompted a prank call, which led to a call-out where an officer shot and killed a man who apparently wasn't even involved, the Witchita Eagle reports.
The feud between two gamers reportedly led to the 'swatting' hoax - which involves a disgruntled person calls in a fake claim of violence. The false claim usually involves something pretty extreme, like murder or a hostage situation, so that police are given no choice but to act on it with force, usually roping in a large number of officers.
Deputy Wichita Police Chief Troy Livingston said that police were looking into whether or not the call that led to the shooting was indeed a case of swatting, the paper says.
Livingston has said that the department received a call, saying that someone had had an argument with their mother and that their father had been shot in the head. It also apparently claimed that the shooter was holding his mother, brother and sister hostage.
"That was the information we were working off of," he said.
Officers then went to the property, prepared for a pretty large-scale hostage situation.
Credit: Call of Duty
"A male came to the front door," Livingston continued. "As he came to the front door, one of our officers discharged his weapon."
The man has not yet been identified by police.
"This call was little peculiar for us," Livingston also said. "[The call] went to a substation first, then it was relayed to dispatch, then dispatch gave it to us. We have a lot of information to go through."
According to posts on Twitter, there were two Call of Duty gamers arguing, and one threatened to target the other with a swatting call. However, many of the tweets that appeared to provide information have since been deleted.
People are able to play out the prank by using caller ID spoofing, or other techniques that disguise their number. They can also call local non-emergency numbers instead of 911, according to 911.gov.
"Normally this is a prank, but due to the high stress situation, sometimes it is closer to a death threat from a user trying to get cops to kill them," one unnamed man told The Eagle via email.
According to The Eagle, it's thought that around 400 swatting cases happen each year, though it's currently not clear if any have resulted in a death before.
Featured Image Credit: Call of Duty