Teen falls victim to dangerous ‘swatting’ hoax
A virtual game of Call of Duty turns into a real-life massive police response at a New York home.
A hoaxer who triggered a massive police response on New York’s Long Island was engaged in an increasingly popular prank called “swatting,” authorities say.
“It’s a nationwide epidemic right now, where people play video games, and if you lose the video game, you try to develop information about the person you’re playing, and then we send this army of police personnel out,” Long Beach Police Commissioner Michael Tangney told CBS New York. “In this bizarre world of swatting, you get points for the helicopters, police cars, the SWAT team, and the type of entry. It’s very sophisticated, and unfortunately it’s also very dangerous.”
Tangney said dispatchers received a call Tuesday afternoon from a person who identified himself as Rafael Castillo, a 17-year-old from Long Beach.
“I just killed my mother and I might shoot more people,” the person said, according to police.
The threat prompted Nassau County police to scramble helicopters and send a SWAT team to Castillo’s home, leading to a 90-minute standoff that involved more than 60 officers, some with guns drawn.