A Bungie executive was the victim of a "swatting" hoax yesterday, according to Komo News. Around 4 a.m. Thursday, officers responded to a 911 call of a hostage situation at the executive's home, mobilizing a SWAT team and helicopter in the process.
According to police, a 911 caller claimed to be holding the family hostage with a rifle after having set explosives throughout the yard. He was demanding $20,000 to let them go. The police responded to the call, and within an hour had determined that the hostage situation was bogus, and that the executive and his family were safe.
A Bungie spokesperson told the station that the executive was fine, but he didn't want to talk about the incident.
The police believe the person who called in the hoax is involved in the gaming industry, with one deputy suggesting a disgruntled contractor or someone at the office "who didn't have a great experience with him." The caller could face up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
"This is not a game," Sammamish Police Department Chief Nathan Elledge said. "This is a very serious response that could've had serious consequences and we're just fortunate that didn't happen this time. It puts officers' lives at risk when you respond to something this serious. It puts the citizens' lives at risk."
This Bungie executive joins an unfortunately long list of people in the gaming industry subjected to threats this year. In August, Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley had his flight diverted after a group claiming responsibility for various hacking attacks tweeted about a bomb on his plane. Last month, a developer threatened to kill Gabe Newell on Twitter because he was unhappy with the way Steam was treating the launch of his game. Another bomb threat briefly disrupted work at Gearbox last month, though police eventually said it had nothing to do with the developer. Finally, Anita Sarkeesian, Zoe Quinn, and Brianna Wu have all received death threats over the course of the GamerGate saga.