A police SWAT team descended on a Long Island, N.Y., home Tuesday under the belief that a teen had shot and killed his mother and brother and was ready to kill again -- only to learn that the call was a hoax triggered by the loser of a video game.
It's a prank called "swatting," in which people try to get law enforcement to respond in force to a fabricated threat.
In this case, the authorities believe the loser of a game of "Call of Duty" found the winner's home by looking up his IP address, police sources told The New York Post. Then, he called the cops and claimed to be 17-year-old Rafael Castillo, of Long Beach, N.Y.
“I just killed my mother and I might shoot more people,” the hoaxster reportedly said.
Some 70 law enforcement officers responded to the scene, some with guns drawn. Police surrounded the home, called for the teen to come out and even called him on his cellphone, but he continued to play video games.
He had headphones on and apparently couldn't hear the commotion outside or his phone.
His mother, 54-year-old Maria Castillo, was making coffee in the kitchen when she saw police fan out across the front lawn.
“He told me, ‘Go out! Go out!’” the LI Herald reported. “I [said], ‘What happened?’ They said, ‘Somebody killed somebody in your house.’ I told the police my kid’s home, my kid’s on the computer. He don’t know what happened.”
Eventually, police realized they had been pranked.
“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,” Michael Tangney, Long Beach police commissioner, told CBS New York. “It’s very sophisticated. Unfortunately, it’s very dangerous.”
Police are trying to identify the hoaxster, who called using Skype.
“It was probably just an evil little kid,” one officer told the Post.
Police told the Herald that the response cost somewhere around $100,000.
“If we determine who made this call, there will be an arrest,” Tangney told the Herald. “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.”
As for the boy's mother, it seems like she's had enough of the game.
"The kid played too much," she told WPIX. "Go work. He's 17, he can work."