Officers discovered that an unknown subject claimed they had shot a woman and were about to commit suicide at the home, which was not the case.
After an unknown caller delivered a false report of a shooting and possible suicide using the family’s address, a Twitch streamer and his family in Puyallup were the victims of a swatting call late Monday night.
A swatting call is a hoax 911 call that usually involves extreme violence and is intended to divert emergency public resources to the home of an unsuspecting person.
Shortly after 11 p.m., the Puyallup Police Department was dispatched. after a caller claimed they had shot a woman and were planning to kill themselves, claiming they were in the 300 block of 12th Street NW.
According to the incident report, officers arrived on the scene and set up a staging area a block away to develop a plan. They were able to communicate with one of the home’s occupants via phone, who exited with her hands in the air and spoke with officers.
Officers reported that she was accompanied by two sons, who remained outside while additional officers confirmed that no one in the house had been injured.
One of the sons admitted to police that he broadcasts on Twitch, a video-sharing website popular among gamers. Last year, his Twitch profile was sold without his permission, giving that person access to his home address, phone number, and credit card information, according to the son. Officers said that while the son was able to regain control of his profile, whoever purchased it still had his address and phone number.
He told police that in the year since the incident, he has received photo messages from the unknown purchaser, showing pictures of his home and messages claiming that the person knows where he lives.
The unknown person has not made any demands on the son, according to the son.
Officers were directed to a “TextNow” number, which is an app-based service, by the number used to make the initial 911 call.
After he began receiving the messages, the son called Puyallup police, concerned that he might be the victim of a swatting call, officers said.
Swatting, according to Puyallup Police Captain Ryan Portmann, can lead to dangerous situations.
The swatting victim expressed concern for the future. Swatting is a problem for police in western Washington and across the United States. The problem became so widespread that the Seattle Police Department devised a couple of possible solutions.
Seattle police developed SMART 911, which allows residents to create a profile that informs first responders about their home, including details such as a resident who is deaf, hard of hearing, has a medical condition, or has an allergy.
Before arriving at the residence’s door, first responders would check this information.
The Rave Facility, which allows commercial properties to register swatting concerns at specific addresses, was also created by Seattle police. When a 911 call taker receives a report of an incident at a facility, they can dispatch officers while also checking to see if property owners believe they will be swatted.