A heavilly-armed SWAT team and an army of police officers stormed a Long Island home fearing a grisly double homicide – only to find it was a hoax by a Call of Duty gamer who'd just had his ass kicked.
The $100,000 law enforcement operation saw helicopters buzzing the Laurelton Boulevard home and more than 60 officers, including elite members of Nassau County’s special operations unit, involved in a two hour standoff.
Officers had received a call claiming the teenager inside the house had shot dead his mother and brother and was ready to kill again.
But it emerged the whole thing was a hoax, set up by a disgruntled 'Call of Duty' gamer who'd just been defeated.
The New York Post reported that the prank caller told police over Skype that he was 17-year-old Rafael Castillo – the teenager inside the house. But he added: 'I just killed my mother and I might shoot more people.'
The suspected siege only ended when Rafael's mother, 54-year-old Maria Castillo, spotted police from her kitchen window.
She said: “He (a police officer) told me, ‘Go out! Go out.'
“They said ‘somebody killed somebody in your house.’
“I told the police 'my kid’s home, my kid’s on the computer. He don’t know what happened.'”
Rafael's brother Jose Castillo, 21, told The New York Post he believed the potentially deadly hoax was an act of revenge from a Call of Duty gamer Rafael had just beaten online.
He said: “'Some guy threatened to 'swat' him. He was p****d that he had lost.”
Hoaxes which involve the mobilisation of SWAT teams are on the increase due to the growing teen craze known as 'swatting'.
However officers are now hunting the hoaxster by tracing his electronic signature.
In an interview with CBS Long Beach police commissioner Michael Tangney said: “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. If we determine who made this call, there will be an arrest.
“I’m very angry - it’s a tremendous waste of taxpayer resources, it’s a tremendous danger to law enforcement.”