LAPD Raids Video Game Studio; Saw Gun-Toting Call of Duty Statue
'Ghost' statue from Call of Duty might have spooked LAPD. Photo courtesy Robert Bowling.
Talk about your contracted seat muscles. The LAPD raided a video game studio, guns drawn, yesterday. And one lonely soul who stayed at work late was there to face the barrels of those guns: The company's president, Robert Bowling.
It wasn't a swatting, as some initially believed. Nope. It was all for nothing:
The studio on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks just wrapped up some renovations to its offices, including a new security system with a panic button.
One of the last employees out, a designer, was justifiably curious, Bowling told us: He hit the button, looked around and, when nothing happened, took off.
Why does he know that: Review of the security video.
The LAPD in action at Robotoki, courtesy Robert Bowling.
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But something did happen: 10 minutes later about a half-dozen LAPD officers, guns at the ready, raided the studio.
They approached from the front but then went around back. Bowling thinks he knows why: A lifelike statue of a soldier, Simon "Ghost" Riley from
Robotoki's the blockbuster Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 3, graces the company's Sherman Oaks window. [Correction: Bowling and a core team of developers produced Call of Duty 3 before forming Robotoki, he says]:
And Ghost is holding what appears to be an assault rifle.
Yep. If cops thought it was a false alarm, not anymore. Maybe. We called the LAPD for its version of things but couldn't get any initial info.
Bowling says it all started about 7:20 p.m: When officers found him they told him to come forward and detained him, hands behind his back.
But after the cops cleared the office, they were quite cool, Bowling says. They were fans of Call of Duty and even ogled the studio's coffee-table-size, wooden Nintendo controller, he said:
They were super nice and excited. A lot of them were fans of video games we worked on.