LONG BEACH, Long Island (PIX11) – The police response to this quiet Long Beach, Long Island neighborhood Tuesday afternoon was intense, instantaneous and for good reason.
The anonymous caller told the dispatcher he’d just murdered his family inside their home on Laurelton Avenue.
Maria Castillo was one of the reported victims.
But, she is very much alive and so was her 17-year old son, who was playing the popular online video game Call of Duty, when police kicked in the door looking for armed suspect.
A few moments later, more than sixty members of law enforcement began to realize they had been swatted.
“Unfortunately this is a terrible, national problem for law enforcement. It’s called swatting, when people playing a video game, if they lose, they call the police and mimic the person that they lost to, and say that they killed family members and then they see how many people they can get to come down here,” said Long Beach Police Commissioner Michael Tangney.
Maria’s son won a round of Call of Duty and the sore loser he played, who lives somewhere else, in an unknown location, called in the hoax that led to a massive police response.
Swatting is such a serious problem across the country, that even the FBI is now paying attention.
How bad is the trash talking over the headsets?
Seventeen-year-old Rich Zambrano let us sit in on one of his Call of Duty sessions, which he says can sometimes go from funny to frightening faster than you can reload your avatar’s sniper rifle.
Back around the corner, Maria Castillo says although she understands her own son did nothing wrong by simply by winning a round of Call of Duty, it just might be his last.