“Long Island police dispatched helicopters, emergency vehicles and an army of cops to a home where someone called in a bloody rampage on Tuesday,” nypost.com reports. “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.” I like that “ready for war.” You know; in the sense that I so don’t. Anyway, “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.” I’m not a sworn police officer – I just Monday-morning-quarterback them here – but is that the kind of call that elicits a full-on SWATfest? And I do mean full-on . . .
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, 21.
“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?’”
Good question! Here’s another one: what if there’d been a terrorist attack during the two-hours that the SWAT team was busy surrounding Castillo family home?
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.
Apparently this is nothing new. Long Beach Police Commissioner Michael Tangney told CBS 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. It’s very sophisticated. Unfortunately, it’s very dangerous.”
As dangerous as having an army of cops “ready for war” ready, willing and able to deploy at full strength no matter how flimsy the pretext? This is what happens to an over-armed police, and an under-vigilant populace. As the Brits say, there will be tears before bedtime. [h/t DrVino]