Police suspect a video game opponent placed a hoax 911 call that led cops to surround a Seattle-area family's home.
Curtis Henke, 20, of Lake Stevens, Washington, told police he was playing the game "Call of Duty," in his room Monday evening when he heard voices over a police megaphone ordering him to come out of the house immediately.
“And the big sheriff guy comes over, and is like, 'Who's Curtis?,’” Henke told ABC News. “When he said that I was like , ‘Uh oh.’”
Police believe it's possible the prankster who called 911 minutes earlier was a jealous gamer who may have been able to watch the entire incident unfold via Curtis Henke's webcam, which was live streaming his gaming.
"The dispatcher received a 911 call via Skype," Lake Stevens Police Cmdr. Dennis Taylor told ABC News. "The guy identified himself as Curtis Henke and said that he shot his dad in the head and that his dad was dead, and that he tied up his mother and put a grenade in her mouth, and now he was thinking of killing himself."
The caller also claimed that he had shot his neighbor's dog and set his own house on fire. Dozens of police officials were dispatched to the scene, concerned it could be the location of a violent crime, but found nothing amiss after ordering the Henke family out of the home.
"The prankster identified the homeowner, by name, but the homeowner had no idea who the prankster is," Taylor said. Knowledge of the homeowner’s name, Warren Henke, Curtis’ father, helped the prankster get the address for the home, police said.
The family was never in danger, according to police, but family members nonetheless were shaken by the incident.
“We were clueless,” Henke's mother, Sandi Henke, told ABC News. “We had no idea.”
Detectives were trying to track down the prank caller, who police say called from a phone number with a 661 area code, which is associated with Southern California.
Police call the incident a case of "swatting," a type of prank call that involves tricking 911 or other emergency service dispatchers into sending first-responders to an alleged incident at a specific address.
"This isn't a novel event," Taylor said. "We've had several instances of this."