'Pokemon Go' hunters say they were shot at while playing game

Teens uninjured after shooting

By Ethan Calloway - Anchor/reporter, Amanda Clark - News Producer

PALM COAST, Fla. - Two teenagers playing "Pokemon Go" in their car in a Palm Coast neighborhood were shot at early Saturday morning, according to the Flagler County Sheriff's Office.

A 19-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy told deputies they were driving on Primrose Lane in Palm Coast around 1:30 a.m. playing the popular game. Deputies said a man, who was not identified, heard loud noises outside his home, looked out his window and noticed a white car with its brake lights on in front of his house. The homeowner grabbed his gun and went outside.

The homeowner says he heard someone say, "Did you get anything?" The man then stepped in front of the car, pointed his gun at the teenagers and told them not to move. The man claims the vehicle sped toward him and he started shooting at the vehicle.

The 19-year-old's parent is a law enforcement officer in another county, deputies said.

The Sheriff's Office said they received a call from a parent of the 19-year-old saying her son told her about the shooting.

She said they told her about the incident in the morning when they noticed bullet holes in the car and a flat tire.

Since the teens were not hurt and did not notice any damage and figured the man was trying to scare them, they didn't report the shooting right away.

The teens were able to capture a Tauros and Maowak while on Primrose Lane, deputies said.

"We could have had two dead, young kids as a result of them hunting Pokemon. It's a great game. I've never played it, my daughter plays it. We urge safety with that, but this is ridiculous. It truly is," said Jim Troiano of the Sheriff's Office. 

Charges are expected as the investigation continues, deputies said.

"Certainly people are concerned but we need responsible gun owners to be responsible. And we need homeowners to be responsible, as well as the people playing this game," Troiano said.

According to the Sheriff's Office, this was the first occurrence of shots being fired involving "Pokemon Go."

Monday, News4Jax went to the home where the incident happened and the home of one of the teenagers, but no one answered the door at either address.

The Sheriff's Office is using this as an opportunity to advise players to stay as safe as possible while playing the game in the real world. They released the following tips:

"Pokemon 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 Pokemon 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 Pokemon 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 "Pokemon 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. 

Homeowners:

  • 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.

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