Two Florida teens were unaware that they were being shot at while playing Pokémon Go over the weekend.
The teenagers, who are 19 and 16, were allegedly playing the popular augmented reality game in their car late Saturday night on Primrose Lane in Palm Coast when they were shot at. The homeowner reportedly mistook the kids for burglars.
Police said the man woke up from a loud noise outside his house at night and saw a white car with brake lights on in the roadway in front of his property. Arming himself with a handgun, he went outside to investigate. He then overheard the two saying, “Did you get anything?”
The Flagler County Sheriff’s report stated:
“He told deputies that he then stepped in front of the vehicle and ordered the vehicle not to move. The homeowner stated the vehicle accelerated toward him causing him to flee the roadway. Because he believed the vehicle was attempting to strike him, he discharged his handgun several times at the vehicle.”
Police were notified when parents of one of the teenagers noticed there were bullet holes in the rear tire, which caused a flat tire, as well as bullets in the hubcap and fender.
When questioned, the teens admitted that they didn’t know they were being shot at while playing Pokémon Go at 1:30 AM. They thought the man was trying to intimidate and scare them.
Florida law enforcement have taken advantage of the opportunity to issue guidelines for citizens playing Pokémon Go. The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office advises that players should:
- Be alert at all times and stay aware of their surroundings
- Not to drive, ride a bike or skateboard while playing
- Not to trespass, or go on to private property while playing
- Be aware of “Pokéstops” where players could fall victim to crime
The Sheriff’s Office also suggests that Pokémon Go parents:
- Talk to their children about strangers and set limits on where they can go
- Be aware of third-party software apps claiming to enhance the gaming experience – because many allow access to sensitive personal data
Since the release of Pokémon Go, players have been involved in a few accidents as a result of being distracted by the game. A New York man allegedly crashed his vehicle into a tree and a Pennsylvania teen was struck by a car when crossing the street. In response, lawmakers are in talks about regulating Pokémon Go players to ensure public safety.