Police in Kansas shot-and-killed an innocent 28-year-old man after he was the victim of a swatting prank. The victim has been named locally in Wichita as Andrew Finch. The Wichita Eagle reports that the city’s SWAT team was called to Finch’s home on the evening of December 28 after getting a report that a man had killed his father and was holding other family members as hostages. Finch answered the door to responding officers. The Eagle reports that Finch was shot dead by a seven year veteran of the city’s police force.
Wichita deputy police chief Troy Livingstone has confirmed to the media that the case is being investigated as a case of swatting. A common prank where someone performs a crank 911 call to try and draw a SWAT team to a residence or person. Social media chatter has strongly indicated that the swatting was over a Call of Duty game gone wrong. The game was the subject of a $1.50 bet.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Finch’s Family Says He Didn’t Play Video Games
A relative of Andrew Finch’s told the Wichita Eagle that the victim didn’t play video games. Deputy chief Livingstone told the media that officers recieved the call to go to the 1000 block of McCormick and “got into position.” Livingstone continued, “A male came to the front door. As he came to the front door, one of our officers discharged his weapon.”
The Eagle report reads that “Police don’t think the man [Finch] fired at police.” Livingstone added, “This call was little peculiar for us. (The call) went to a substation first, then it was relayed to dispatch, then dispatch gave it to us. We have a lot of information to go through.” Finch was unarmed. A Go Fund Me page has been set up for Finch’s family during this difficult time.
2. The Hoaxer Accused of Making the Call Said on Twitter: ‘I Didn’t Get Anyone Killed’
The gamer who has been accused of orchestrating the swatting wrote on Twitter in a now-deleted message, “I didn’t get anyone killed because I didn’t discharge a weapon and being a swat member isn’t my profession.” The hoaxer gave an interview with social media blogger Keem Star. During the interview, the hoaxer said that he was “minding his own” business before he was contacted by someone complaining that he had a beef with a fellow Call of Duty player. The hoaxer said that the gamer had told him about another gamer who apparently felt like he wasn’t going to get swatted.
You can watch the entire interview here:
3. The Intended Victim Apparently Gave a False Address That Was Close to Where He Lives
Chatter on social media among Call of Duty gamers indicates that two players were arguing over a game. The intended victim of the swatting gave a false address, that was close to his own, so it would appear real. The false address was Finch’s address. The intended victim tweeted after the shooting, “Someone tried to swat me and got an innocent man killed.”
An account of the story written by @_Curvey, which is being retweeted by other gamers, says that two Call of Duty players had a game with a wager of less than $2. The loser of that game got “salty,” according to the account. That became a heated argument with one gamer contacting a friend who has swatted people before. As we know now, the intended victim gave the hoaxer an incorrect address.
4. The Officer Involved in the Shooting Is on Paid Administrative Leave
The Wichita Eagle reports that the officer involved in the shooting is a seven-year veteran of the force and has been placed on paid administrative leave.
5. The FBI Has Been Using the Term Swatting Since 2008
The term swatting has been used by the FBI since 2008. According to 911.gov, the hoax is common among gamers and hackers with scammer even using software to hide their caller ID from emergency services. The hoaxers will also change their caller ID to reflect that they are loocal, thus confirming the call’s legitimacy.
The Associated Press reports that the FBI office in the Kansas City, Missouri, is involved in the investigation into Finch’s shooting.