Long Island police dispatched helicopters, emergency vehicles and
an army of cops to a home where someone called in a bloody rampage on
They arrived with guns drawn and ready for war — only to find out the
call to cops was an act of revenge by a gamer whom the teen who lives
inside had just beaten in an online Call of Duty battle.
Raphael Castillo was the winner of the video game and also the victim of “Swatting.”Photo: Victor Alcorn
The prank caller told police over Skype that he was Rafael Castillo,
17, of Long Beach — and that “I just killed my mother and I might shoot
more people,” cops said.
But Castillo was only using virtual firearms in the online video game.
Long Beach police came out in force in response to the hoax.Photo: Victor Alcorn
“Some guy threatened to Swat him,” Castillo’s brother told The Post. “He was pissed that he had lost.”
The had just been eliminated by Castillo and gave
police the teen’s home address in a dangerous game called “Swatting,”
and the authorities went into full emergency mode.
In the two-hour standoff, authorities scrambled choppers over the
house and rushed in more than 60 officers with weapons drawn — including
elite members of Nassau County’s special operations unit.
Fire trucks also sped to the home on Laurelton Boulevard near West Fulton Street.
When cops got to the home, Castillo’s mother was in the kitchen and Rafael’s brother arrived home from lunch.
“I thought there was a fire at my house. I ran up and saw my mom
running out, I didn’t know what was going on,” said the brother, Jose,
“Then one of the police officers said somebody called and said that
the mother and brother of somebody in this house was killed. I said,
‘How is that possible if she’s right there and I’m right here?’”
The Long Beach’s SWAT team two-hour standoff ended peacefully once Castillo figured out that something was going on.Photo: Victor Alcorn
Cops tried for 20 minutes to call Rafael and get him to come out, but
he had headphones on and was still glued to his video game console.
“He didn’t realize anything was going on, he couldn’t hear anything,”
his brother said. “I told him that there’s a bunch of cops outside that
are looking for you.”
He eventually came outside and the emergency services cops rushed in to make sure there was no reality to the phony call.
Even though it was a prank, police still took Castillo’s computer.Photo: Victor Alcorn
“I right away had an idea what it was, because I’ve seen [pranks] on the news,” said Jose Castillo.
The scene at Castillo’s house was eerily similar to the game he had been playing.Photo: Activision
Rafael, known as Rafi, is a junior at Long Beach High School and was at home playing video games because it was spring break.
The vicious gamer likely traced Castillo’s IP address online to find out where he lives, police sources said.
“It was probably just an evil little kid,” one officer said.
“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,” the cop added.
Cops were trying to track down the hoaxer by tracing his electronic footprints, police sources said.
Long Beach Police Commissioner Michael Tangney said it’s just the latest example of the “Swatting” game.
“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,” he told CBS. “It’s very sophisticated. Unfortunately, it’s very