"Uh-oh. This isn't good. They're clearing rooms. I think we're getting SWATted."
Those are the words said by Jordan "Kootra" Mathewson, founder of a Littleton-based gaming group called The Creatures, just before police burst into the studio from which he was live-streaming Counter-Strike. Why? A hoax call about an active shooter that wound up with schools throughout the area being locked down. A video of the entire exchange, plus photos, extra clips and details below.
The Creatures is a collective with a slew of popular YouTube channels in which Kootra and his compatriots comment on games as they play them. Here's a clip introducing the crew....
...and here's Kootra's self-penned bio:
Hello there, My name is Jordan, but most of you know me by my Youtube name: Kootra.
I am a Machinima Director as well as a creature gamer who commentates over those games. I started making machinima in call of duty 4 three years ago which eventually led to me utilizing many different engines for various machinima.
After getting contracted with Machinima.com, I met many creatures who to this day I have worked with on building a fanbase and community. I now make mostly Live gameplay commentaries for my Youtube channel, along with a machinima here and there.
I Hope to do it for many years to come. MLG
Yesterday morning, Kootra let his Twitter followers know he was about to start streaming via this video:
But while he was deep into Counter-Strike, he heard noises in an adjacent room and immediately jumped to the SWATting conclusion. Why? Here's some background from Polygon:
SWATting's recent history includes many incidents related to video gaming, such as griefing opponents or streamers, or even the former head of security for Xbox Live. This weekend, hackers tweeted a threat at an American Airlines flight carrying the president of Sony Online Entertainment, and succeeded in diverting it to an airport short of its destination.
The shit got really quickly. Cops who burst into the room can be heard hollering instructions such as "Put your hands up! Get on the fucking ground!" and "Don't you fucking move, you hear me boy?"
Kootra wasn't the only person impacted by the raid. Nearby schools were locked down -- this being the town associated with Columbine, after all -- and buildings were evacuated. The reason the cops took the situation so seriously is spelled out in this City of Littleton release:
Littleton Police received a 911 call at 11:27 am this morning reporting a shooting and hostages at 1221 W. Mineral Avenue. Littleton Police, Littleton Fire Rescue and law enforcement from multiple agencies responded. There were no victims discovered after the initial search of the building by entry teams. A second search of the building confirmed that there were no victims and no shots fired at the location. Police are questioning several employees of the office building who are cooperating with investigators. Detectives are investigating this incident as a false report.
A subsequent City of Littleton salvo added specifics, noting that "the caller claimed to have shot two co-workers, held others hostage, and threatened to shoot them. He stated that if the officers entered, he would shoot them as well."
Fortunately, none of that was true. But the cost of unleashing so many resources, and disrupting so many lives, was heavy. The Littleton rep notes that "if the investigation determines that today's incident was a hoax, those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
As for Kootra, he tweeted the following after he'd been released.
Dag nabbit that was dern sure an experience. I am all Ok though. Thanks for all the supportive tweets everyone
— Kootra (@Kootra) August 27, 2014
Meanwhile, one commentator on The Daily Dot wrote: "This prank is getting out of hand. What bothers me more than anything, though, is the cop hiding the camera once he learned of its existence."
Fortunately, he didn't find it for a while. Here's the Kootra video, followed by a 7News report.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
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