FBI helping LBPD search for hoax caller

Bureau: ‘We are involved and we’re working with the [Long Beach] P.D.’


The Long Beach Police Department has partnered with the FBI and Nassau County Police Department in the hopes of locating a prank caller — who could be “anywhere in the world” — after he falsely reported that a local teenager had shot his mother and brother to death last Tuesday, an incident of "swatting" that led to a massive police response.

“They have all kinds of resources,” said Lt. Mark Stark, a spokesman for the LBPD. “We requested assistance from the FBI because their resources are far more reaching, and they’re our introduction to the U.S. Attorney’s Office — they’re the big leagues when it comes to subpoenas. The [FBI] are here on our request so we can use utilize their resources.”

The FBI declined to comment on the investigation.

“We are involved and we’re working with the [Long Beach] P.D., but we’re not going to talk about an ongoing investigation,” said Chris Sinos, a spokesman in the FBI’s New York Field Office.

On Tuesday, more than 50 heavily armed Long Beach, Nassau County and MTA police officers descended on a home on Laurelton Boulevard, after a bitter online opponent who had lost a round of the video game Call of Duty to a Long Beach High School student called police and falsely claimed that the teen had fatally shot his mother and brother.

Long Beach Police Commissioner Michael Tangney said that when the losing rival claiming to be the teen called police to report the fictional incident, it prompted a massive response — including a fully armed Nassau County SWAT team with an armored vehicle and a helicopter unit — to what was initially believed to be a multiple shooting and hostage situation at the home, north of West Hudson Street.

The standoff lasted more than an hour, and Tangney said that when police arrived at the house at around 3 p.m., 17-year-old Long Beach High School student Rafael Castillo was still playing the game on Xbox while wearing a headset, and had no idea what was happening outside. His mother was very much alive, making coffee in the kitchen, and his brother returned from buying food to a swarm of police officers in front of his home.

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