LOCUST, N.C. — A Stanly County gamer fell victim to “swatting,” a term used to describe when pranksters call police on an innocent person.
Authorities received an anonymous phone call from someone who said Ernest Morton had killed his wife and was preparing to do the same to his children.
Morton, of Locust, was playing a video game Monday night -- which was streaming live on YouTube -- when he was interrupted by a phone call.
The Locust Police Department and two other law enforcement agencies responded to Morton’s quiet home after they received the “tip.”
On the YouTube video, Morton asks over the phone, “Is this the cops?”
The call was from the police, who were calling about a red alert emergency that ultimately didn't exist.
“I got my phone in my hand, so nobody shoot me,” Morton told authorities.
Still on the phone, Morton walked outside to be confronted by law enforcement officers from three agencies.
He had been "swatted."
"I thought I was going to die,” Morton said.
Morton said he believed that, if he had made any sudden movement, he would have been shot.
Swatting goes back at least 10 years, and there have been cases that resulted in fatalities. Morton would like to see whoever pulled the prank pay.
The hoax also wastes valuable resources dedicated to public safety.
"They should go to jail just (as if) they pulled the trigger themselves," Morton said.