After being defeated in a game of “Call of Duty,” a Long Island teenager triggered a full-force SWAT response after he called the police and claimed the victor was on a shooting spree Tuesday.
Authorities believe the prankster found 17-year-old Rafael Castillo’s Long Beach, New York, address by looking up his IP address. He called police, pretending to be Castillo, and said, “I just killed my mother and I might shoot more people. Nearly 70 law enforcement officers descended on Castillo’s house, but quickly discovered the call was nothing more than a hoax, Huffington Post reports.
The prank is part of a growing trend called “swatting,” where teens use false reports to trick police into responding to their intended victim’s house, and get points for how much flare is involved.
“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,” said Long Beach Police Commissioner Michael Tangney. “It’s very sophisticated. Unfortunately, it’s very dangerous.”
Police surrounded Castillo’s house and ordered for him to come out, but he was still playing video and had headphones on, and was unable to hear their commands. Castillo’s mother, Maria, was in the kitchen when she saw officers run up to her front lawn.
Police quickly realized the call was a prank and no one was injured or arrested. Tangney said the suspect used Skype to make the phone call, and if investigators are able to trace it, he’ll be taken into custody.
“If we determine who made this call, there will be an arrest,” Tangney said. “He did something so, so foolish, and so dangerous. I’m very angry – it’s a tremendous waste of taxpayer resources, it’s a tremendous danger to law enforcement.”