Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, the 16-year-old who won $3 million in the Fortnite World Cup, was the victim of a “swatting” prank Saturday as he was livestreaming on Twitch.
Swatting is when someone calls 911 to report a fake emergency, like a hostage situation, with the goal of sending a SWAT team racing to the scene.
On the livestream, Giersdorf could be heard saying, “I’ve been swatted.” He then left to deal with the situation at his Pennsylvania home before returning about 10 minutes later to share what happened.
“They came in with guns, bro,” Giersdorf said. “They literally pulled up. … That’s scary. … The internet’s crazy.”
Thankfully, one of the officers recognized Giersdorf and eventually they left.
Cpl. Albert Werner of the Upper Pottsgrove Township Police told ESPN that the department received an emergency call from someone acting as Giersdorf who said his father had been killed and his mother was tied up in the garage.
Authorities surrounded the residence then, as per department procedure, called the home’s number, Werner said. Giersdorf’s father answered and went out to speak to the officers.
Altogether, it took about a half-hour to resolve the situation, Werner said, adding it’s believed the call originated from Europe.
Swatting pranks can turn deadly. In December 2017, Andrew Finch was killed when police responded to a similar call about a shooting and kidnapping at his home in Wichita, Kansas. The man who orchestrated the prank, Tyler Bariss, was later sentenced to 20 years in prison for Finch’s death.
Giersdorf’s father told ABC News he had a message for whoever carried out the prank.
“To the individual who attempted to have our home swatted and could have possibly gotten someone injured in the process, I don’t hate you,” he said. “I am sorry that your life has brought you to this.”
Despite vanishing mid-game, the incident didn’t cost Giersdorf the win.