A prank caller sparked a full-scale emergency response involving 60 police officers after telling police a rival player had killed his mother and would kill again.
1. This is the moment heavily armed police officers stormed into a home in Long Beach, New York, after receiving a call saying: “I just killed my mother and I might shoot more people.”
AP Photo/Newsday, Jim Staubitser
But instead of discovering a crime scene the officers found themselves caught up in a very high stakes prank.
Inside was 17-year-old Call of Duty fan Rafael Castillo, who had not killed anyone and was completely unaware of the chaos outside. Police took 20 minutes to reach him as he was still playing the game with his headphones on.
Castillo appears to have been a victim of “swatting”, where mischevious callers attempt to get emergency services called out to tackle a hoax threat. Police suspect it was instigated by a furious gamer whom he had beaten.
The result? Around 60 officers from Nassau County, including special operations firearms officers, SWAT teams, hostage negotiators, several fire trucks, a helicopter and an ambulance turned up to the scene, spending more than two hours there.
2. “Some guy threatened to Swat him … He was pissed that he had lost,” according to Castillo’s brother, and police suspect the caller traced his home address by following his IP address.
“It was probably just one evil little kid,” one cop told the New York Post. “It sucked up a lot of resources, caused traffic problems. It turned out to be a hoax,” he said. Police are now trying to trace the hoax caller.
Michael Tagney, Long Beach policer commander, said: “In this … bizarre world of Swatting, you get points for the helicopter, for the police cars, for the SWAT team, for the type of entry … It’s very sophisticated. Unfortunately, it’s very dangerous.”
3. To make matters worse, police confiscated Castillo’s computer too.