After winning a round of Call of Duty, Rafael Castillo did not expect the real-world armed forces to come knocking on his door. But that’s exactly what they did, after Castillo’s opponent took offense and called the police in the act of revenge now known as “swatting”.
According to police, the caller claimed to be 17-year old Castillo, who wanted to pass on a simple message:
I just killed my mother and I might shoot more people.
The New York police department then leapt into action, calling in emergency vehicles, helicopters, and cars full of officers, guns at the ready. Upon arriving at the Long Beach address, they were more than a little surprised (and relieved!) to learn Castillo – and his family – were safe and sound.
Still, it took two hours to determine that everything was okay – Castillo was enjoying his spring break. Thoroughly engrossed in his game, headphones on, he was blissfully unaware of the commotion.
Rafael’s brother Jose explains:
He didn’t realise anything was going on, he couldn’t hear anything. I told him that there’s a bunch of cops outside that are looking for you.
Jose also introduced officers to his very-much-alive mother, and voiced his suspicions that the event was all a hoax.
The police agreed, theorising that the unhappy opponent had traced Castillo’s IP address to determine where he lived, before phoning in the phony confession.
It was probably just an evil little kid.
We went and checked out the place and there was nothing there … It sucked up a lot of resources, caused traffic problems. It turned out to be a hoax.
Now, police are using the same IP address tracking to find out where the hoaxer lives – they will potentially press charges. Swatting is becoming uncomfortably popular in the United States, where cases like this Minecraft troll have been taken to authorities.