Late one balmy night toward the end of August, Eric had only seconds to live. Two males that he identified as Russians had forcefully entered his house, shot his son dead and scattered military-grade Claymore mines all across his lawn. In that moment, a barricaded bedroom door and a text to 911 were his only hopes at seeing another sunrise.
So, did the police come to rescue Eric in time?
Well, they certainly got in touch with Microsoft's Xbox Live operations manager Eric "e" Neustadter, but Neustadter wasn't under attack by a Russian hit squad, or mourning the loss of a beloved son, or worrying about more than just weeds in his grass. Nope — the real Eric was under attack by a disgruntled member of Xbox Live, who was probably turned ex-member after being banned by Neustadter.
Neustadter and his staff of enforcers are tasked with keeping XBL clean, and sometimes that means banning players who cheat or hack online matches to get a leg up on the competition. That leads to some unhappy people, and lately those unhappy folks have been "swatting" Xbox Live staff, or calling in fake emergencies so that heavily armed police squads will respond to the call.
In this case, an unknown person was sending in texts to 911 pretending to be Neustadter, according to The Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
"Police asked him to come outside. Meanwhile, AT&T got another message that stated, "There's a device blinking red on the kitchen table."
When Neustadter went outside he was "momentarily detained," the report states, until police were sure nobody was hurt.
"He was able to tell us that everyone in the house was alright and that he believed it was a hoax because it had occurred to numerous other Microsoft employees in the past," states the police report, "
Gun-totting Russians? Blinking mystery devices? Claymores? Sounds a lot like the video games that Neustadter and his team are keeping banned players from.