A 12-year-old boy and his mom were terrified they’d be shot dead by cops after becoming the latest victims of the deadly ‘swatting’ craze.
Peter Varady was live-streaming himself playing a video game on YouTube on Sunday night when cops and paramedics suddenly descended on his family home in California.
They were responding to a sick hoax emergency call that a mother and son were going to hang themselves.
Minutes earlier Peter had received a warning message on screen telling him he was ‘getting swatted’ but he didn’t think it would actually happen.
Peter Varady, 12, was live-streaming himself playing a video game on YouTube on Sunday night when cops and paramedics descended on his family’s California home in a prank swatting incident
Peter’s stunned mom Carol opened the door and three cops rushed in frantically asking if the pair of them were OK after someone made a hoax emergency call claiming the mother and son had hanged themselves
While live-streaming himself playing a video game, Peter had received a warning message on screen telling him he was ‘getting swatted’ but he didn’t think it would actually happen. He later returned to the stream crying
Stunned mom Carol opened the door and three cops rushed in frantically asking if the pair of them were OK.
Peter told DailyMailTV: ‘It’s probably the most horrifying thing that’s ever happened to me. It’s the scariest thing.
‘As soon as I walked outside and saw the cops I thought maybe they were going to point a gun at me or something, but luckily I was alright.
‘I was questioning if I could have been killed. It’s terrifying that at least one person knows our address and we have the chance of maybe even getting shot.’
Peter had seen the number of subscribers to his YouTube channel Rolly Ranchers rocket from just 600 to 87,000 over the weekend after he was randomly paired on a live stream game with famed YouTube gamer Cizzorz.
He had just set up a new webcam and was live-streaming himself playing the fantasy survival game Fortnite at around 8pm on Sunday when he got swatted.
He said: ‘People were in my comments saying that I’m getting swatted. I didn’t believe them, I thought it was just internet trolls so I ignored them.
‘It was probably about 15-20 minutes after the threats were placed I saw the red lights and cops were showing up at our house. Then I realized that I did actually get swatted. I was really scared.
Peter’s mother, Carol, said she opened the door before police walked up to the doorstep. Peter said he was afraid that his family would be shot in the swatting incident
Instead, police officers rushed to the door to see if the Varady family was OK after receiving the swatting call
It took police (pictured inside the Varady home) a while to figure out that everyone in the house was safe and that the call was part of the swatting craze. Police feared that Peter had been posting stuff online, leading to a worried person calling 911
‘My mom told me they (the police) were running up on the house and when I came out they were questioning me, “Are you okay?” and I think one of them said, “Why do you want to hang yourself?”
‘They had guns in holsters but they weren’t holding any of us at gunpoint, even seeing a gun in their holsters is just so scary.’
The baffled cops took a while to realize it was a case of swatting and initially thought Peter had been posting stuff online that had led to a worried person calling 911.
Peter said: ‘They didn’t know swatting was a thing until the Sergeant came down and he knew what swatting was more about. They finally realized it was a prank and somebody did it and not me.’
In a live stream video posted on YouTube, Peter is seen leaving his computer when police arrive only to return minutes later in tears.
Mom Carol said she started to get prank calls half an hour before the police arrived.
She said: ‘We had been monitoring Peter’s live chat because he had been streaming for three days trying to get to 100,000 subscribers.
‘I started getting phone calls from different phone numbers, hang ups, burp and hang ups, just prank calls. Within half an hour after that I see the police lights.
‘It was a pretty terrifying moment.’
Peter had seen the number of subscribers to his YouTube channel Rolly Ranchers rocket from just 600 to 87,000 over the weekend after he was randomly paired on a live stream game with famed YouTube gamer Cizzorz. It was then that he started receiving swatting threats
However she thinks she diffused the situation from being worse by opening the door before the officers knocked.
She said: ‘I think that gave them a chance to see that there was nothing going on. They said they got multiple different stories, one was saying that I hung myself and that he (Peter) was threatening to hang himself.
‘The police were definitely concerned, everybody was “Wow we don’t get these type of phone calls, these are frightening phone calls for us”.’
There is now video uploaded on YouTube titled ‘Rolly Ranchers Swatted Live’ – it shows Peter happily playing and thanking his new subscribers before looking shocked when he hears the police have turned up.
The youngster then turned off his video camera but his live feed kept going and the police can he heard talking to him and his mom in the background.
Minutes later Peter switches on the video camera again and is seen breaking down in tears.
He’s heard saying: ‘I got swatted guys, I got swatted, why you guys gotta do this. I’m not even sure I’m gonna go with YouTube anymore, I’m not even sure.’
Peter told DailyMail.com: ‘Everybody was like “Rolly just got swatted”. ‘When I came back I was crying because I was scared out of my mind, I said, “Why do you guys have to do this?”
‘I was thinking a million different things, like what could this mean for my house, for my privacy and for my family and could we possibly even get shot? People know our address and it’s scary. We were all freaking out.’
There is now video uploaded on YouTube titled ‘Rolly Ranchers Swatted Live’ – it shows Peter happily playing, pictured above, before the swatting incident
When he returns to the stream after the police visited his home, Peter was in tears and told his followers that he had been swatted. Peter and his mother are now keeping a log of the incidents for the police and hoping the pranksters will get bored and move on
Since it happened Carol has continued to get prank calls and the family have also had two prank pizza deliveries.
They are now keeping a log of the incidents for the police and hoping the pranksters will get bored and move on.
Swatting is a deadly new craze in the online gaming community in which a person makes a false report to draw large numbers of law enforcement or SWAT teams to an address.
In December last year Andrew Finch, 28, was shot and killed by police in Kansas after a hoax emergency call.
Tyler Barriss, 25, from Los Angeles, was later charged with involuntary manslaughter and interference with law enforcement.
Peter thinks he was swatted by a jealous gamer because of his new found popularity online.
Peter said: ‘A lot of YouTubers who grow fast tend to get swatted. I expected a swat but I didn’t expect it this early. I think that a bit of it might be jealously but most of it is just them trying to be funny even though it’s not really funny.’
The youngster is now determined to keep his dream of YouTube stardom going and vowed not to be scared into shutting his channel down.
He said: ‘I think I’m currently the youngest person to ever get swatted. It makes me scared that I could get swatted again. I really hope that my channel can keep going, I do take it as a risk because I don’t want to let viewers down.’
Since the swatting incident, Carol (right) has continued to get prank calls and the family have also had two prank pizza deliveries. Peter is determined to keep his dream of YouTube stardom going and vowed not to be scared into shutting his channel down
Peter – who now has more than 120,000 subscribers to his channel – wakes up at 3.30am each morning to live stream for an hour before school.
He said: ‘I want YouTube to be my career, it’s been my dream since I was three years old. I guess it’s just seeing I can entertain people, turn somebody’s day from a bad day to a really good day.
‘Almost all my comments are all positive, they say, ‘You’re the best YouTuber ever’, or the best at Fortnite.’
After news of the swatting incident broke mom Carol has been criticized by some comment posters on a local web group for letting her son be online too much.
She said: ‘I’ve tried to put him in sports that’s not his passion, his passion has been YouTube and there’s actually a marketplace for kids out there.
‘They’ve created their own marketplace, they have careers and that’s what he’s about. So if other parents don’t get that, that’s not for them to get.
‘My son always does his homework before he does anything. As a matter of fact I don’t have to wake him up in the morning, he wakes up at 3.30 and he streams for an hour, then gets ready for school, he goes to school, he gets home and he does his homework and starts his stream after that. He’s definitely getting enough sleep he goes to bed at 8pm.’
She added: ‘This was definitely a learning experience for us, we didn’t realize he was going to grow so fast. So now we’re learning and definitely taking precautionary methods to get it secured.’