Flagler County Sheriff's deputies are investigating a shooting involving a Palm Coast homeowner who reportedly shot at two teens playing "Pokémon Go" near his house.
- Incident took place around 1:30 a.m., according to teens
- Homeowner thought people in car were trying to hit him
According to investigators called to the scene on Primrose Lane in Palm Coast, the homeowner said he woke to a loud noise early Saturday and saw a white car with its brake lights on in the roadway outside his house. He armed himself with a handgun and went outside to investigate.
As he neared the car, the homeowner reported hearing someone say, 'Did you get anything?' He then stepped in front of the car and called out to the driver to not move.
The homeowner reported that the car then accelerated toward him, forcing him to flee the roadway. Thinking the driver tried to strike him with the car, the homeowner fired several rounds at the car as it sped away.
Deputies searched the area nearby for the suspect vehicle, but found nothing.
Later Saturday around 10:30 a.m., deputies received a call from a parent of a 19-year-old Palm Coast man who said her son and his 16-year-old friend were playing "Pokémon Go" using their smartphones at around 1:30 a.m. when they were confronted by a man who came out of his home and shot at them several times.
Upon interviewing the teens, deputies learned that the teens were, in fact, sitting in the car on Primrose Lane. While there, they heard someone say, 'Did you catch him?' One of the teens responded, "Yeah, did you?" at which time they heard gunshots and sped away, heading straight home.
The teens explained that since they were not injured and they found no damage on the car when they got home, they simply thought someone was trying to scare them and did not immediately report the incident to authorities.
The investigation continues, and county officials, stressing that the incident could have turned out much differently, issued the following safety tips:
- Call 911 immediately when you suspect someone is trying to break into your home.
- If at all possible, be an excellent witness for law enforcement by providing valuable information on what is occurring.
- Avoid leaving the protection of your home to confront suspects. This should be handled by trained law enforcement officers.
Pokémon Go Hunters:
- Use common sense, be alert at all times and stay aware of your surroundings. In law enforcement, we call this situational awareness.
- Watch where you are going.
- Do not drive or ride your bike, skateboard, or other device while interacting with the Pokémon Go app. You cannot do both safely at the same time.
- Do not trespass, go onto private property or into any area you usually would not if you weren’t playing Pokémon Go.
- Understand that people can use your location to lure you to “Pokéstops” so they can victimize you.
- Take a friend with you.
- If you are a minor, check with a parent before going anywhere and tell an adult or law enforcement officer immediately if anything happens.
Parents of Pokémon Go Hunters:
- Talk to your kids about strangers and set limits on where your kids can go.
- Be aware of third-party software apps claiming to enhance the gaming experience. Unfortunately, many of these apps allow access to sensitive personal data.