What is swatting? GTA 5 Michael De Santa actor Ned Luke swatted while playing game on 10th anniversary stream
Actor Ned Luke is best known for voicing the character of Michael De Santa, a criminal who spends his life avoiding the law, in the Grand Theft Auto (GTA) video game series. But, he found himself meeting police officers in real life again earlier this week after he was "swatted" for the sixth time.
The star was playing the hugely popular game for his fans during a livesteam on social media when he suddenly said he had to stop playing due to being "swatted". But, what exactly does it mean to be swatted and what exactly happened to Luke? Here's all you need to know.
What is swatting?
Swatting is a term that applies to a hoax call made to the emergency services in an attempt to bring about the dispatch of armed police officers to a particular address. It is a criminal offence to do this.
The name is taken from the name of a United States team of law enforces called the SWAT team. They are a police tactical unit that uses specialised or military equipment and tactics. SWAT units are generally trained, equipped, and deployed to resolve high-risk situations, which regular police units are not trained or equipped to handle, such as shootouts, standoffs, raids, hostage-takings, and terrorism.
SWAT units are equipped with specialised weapons and equipment which is not normally issued to regular police officers, such as automatic firearms, high-caliber sniper rifles, stun grenades, body armor, ballistic shields, night-vision devices, and armored vehicles, among others.
What happened when Ned Luke was swatted?
Luke was playing Great Theft Auto 5 in celebration of Thanksgiving and the 10th anniversary of GTA 5 during a livestream which was being watched by his fans on Thursday November 23. The stream ended abruptly when sirens were heard in the background, followed by the sound of a call which warned him that police were outside his property.
"Oh nice," he said. "Alright I've gotta go, now these a**holes have swatted my house." Then, he cut off his stream. He then took to his official X page last night, @Ned_Luke, to address the situation with his 197,000 followers.
He wrote: "I was hoping this s*** would stay quiet. . . but. . . let me address it. Everyone is fine, thanks for your concern. This is the SIXTH time we have been swatted, but points for originality, this time they sent the fire department. There is nothing cute or clever or funny about this.
"And in a way I feel sorry for the individual or group of individuals pulling these pranks. That said, the authorities are on the trail, and have some significant evidence in hand that hopefully will lead to this paste eating clowns' mom's basement."
He continued: "I assume the intention is to shut me down, harrass me and put me ill at ease. Guess what? It ain't f****** working. I'm not afraid. I'm not losing sleep. And I sure as hell am not going to stop doing my thing. That thing right now is my 0th anniversary playthrough. That will absolutely continue to completion, and beyond."
He added: "Guys like this. . . I've known them all my life. They exist to annoy, irritate and infuriate. IF YOU LET THEM. I don't let them. While many of you have shown great concern for my family, and we appreciate it, there really is no need. We are fine. We are well prepared for this."
He also went on to reveal that he's not only plagued by swatting, but also fake phone calls and more. "In closing, let me reiterate with total clarity. These occurances. . . the pizzas . . . the taxis. . . the locksmith. . . the swattings. . . the phone calls at all hours of the night...the level of their irrelevance is only eclipsed by the irrelevance of the people phoning this s*** in."
He ended his X thread with a defiant message to the people who had "swatted" him. He said: "You don't matter. You are nothing more than one of those many pimples on your a**, that you constantly pick at. So enjoy your time. Trust me. It will be coming to an end soon enough. In the interim, stay in mom's basement. I'm sure there is much paste left to be eaten."
The 65-year-old also confirmed that his private address information was not attained fromhis livestream or from GTA Online. He said it had been leaked years ago by someone who did a routine search on the internet and "thought it would be cute" to share it.
The star was met with support from his followers, with one claiming "this sounds like a line straight from Michael himself!", referencing his GTA character.
When will Ned Luke's next live stream be?
Luke has confirmed to his fans that he will be doing his next live stream on Thursday December 7, where he will be signing photos. The live stream will take place on his Streamily account.