A prank from a Call of Duty feud has apparently gone horribly wrong, leaving an innocent man dead.
On Thursday, police in Wichita, Kansas shot and killed an unarmed 28-year-old at his home while responding to a hostage situation that turned out to be false.
Members of the Call of Duty gaming community are now blaming the whole incident on a "swatting" prank, a notorious form of harassment associated with hackers and online trolls. The prank involves an assailant tricking the police into sending a SWAT team to the victim's home.
In this instance, a feud between two Call of Duty players led to one side swatting the other. However, the wrong address was used, roping in an innocent bystander, say gamers who have tweeted out evidence of the prank.
Unfortunately, swatting is nothing new; the FBI was warning about the prank as early as 2008. But this might be the first incident where someone was actually killed by it.
"Due to the actions of a prankster we have an innocent victim," said deputy Wichita police chief Troy Livingston on Friday. "We believe this incident is a case of swatting."
Local police have said they were responding to an emergency phone call that claimed an attacker had shot a family member at the residence, and had been holding the rest of the family hostage.
"Officers came here preparing for a hostage situation. Several of them got into position," Livingston said the day before. "A male came to the front door. One of our officers discharged his weapon."
However, the emergency phone call itself was "peculiar" because it was routed through a substation, Livingston said. It still isn't known who made the phone call, but local police released the recording of it, along with video of shooting itself.
As police continue to investigate the incident, the family of the 28-year-old victim, Andrew Finch, say he wasn't a gamer, according to the newspaper The Wichita Eagle.
The Call of Duty gaming community also say the whole feud was over a mere $1.50.