A rising trend called "Swatting" has taken the life a 28-year-old Wichita man. Swatting sees pranksters or people doing it for money call the police and report terrible crimes at someone else's address, usually, a video game livestreamer who is streaming at the time of the fake 911 report.
Wichita police say the Andrew "Andy" Finch was fatally shot by an officer and did not have a weapon but moved his hands toward his waistband several times when he emerged from the residence at 1033 W. McCormick.
Deputy Police Chief Troy Livingston gave a briefing Friday afternoon and went through a timeline of the events.
The fatal started with what police now know was a fake 911 call that reported a deadly shooting and hostage situation. "They were arguing and I shot him in the head, and he’s not breathing anymore," the caller said.
When the dispatcher asks if the caller has any weapons he says, "Yeah I do. I’m just pointing the gun at them, making sure they stay in the closet."
The Call of Duty gaming community the victims were associated with came forward to say the Swatting stemmed from a dispute with another player online.
The 911 was released by Wichita police, in it, a caller can be heard sounding despondent and in shock as they describe a fight breaking out between his parents before shooting his father in the head.
Livingston went on to give this account of the point where Finch opened the door, "Officers gave him several verbal commands to put his hands up and walk towards them. The male complied for a very short time and then put his hands back down to his waist. The officers continued to give him verbal commands to put his hands up, and he lowered them again."
Livingston continued, "The male then turned towards the officers on the east side of the residence, lowered his hands to the waistband again, then suddenly pulled them back up towards those officers at the east. The officers on the north side of the street feared the male pulled a weapon from his waistband, retrieved a gun and was in the process of pointing it at the officers to the east. Fearing for those officers’ safety, the officer on the north side fired one round." That one round killed 28-year-old Andy Finch right in front of his mother. His family says Andy didn't even play video games.
A user on Twitter admitted to making the false call to 911 but said he didn't get anyone killed because he isn't Swatt and he didn't discharge a weapon. The apparent target of the event also tweeted saying, "Someone tried to swat me and got an innocent man killed." Officers are working to identify the user behind the account.
<img src="https://media.8ch.net/file_store/8ff60ba1ca62acaae2fa126c74f7e62984fe231bd8dba0f721e7e5c7dbb2d961.png" style="max-height:640px;max-width:360px;">
<span style="margin-top:15px;rgba(42,51,6,0.7);font-size:12px;">Credit: @mattcarries | Twitter</span>
Swatting is when some calls and reports a fake crime at a victim's address prompting a sizable police response. The problem is this sends officers into what they think is a deadly situation where deadly force is authorized. Just like in this case, a victim may not realize what is going on and may not respond to officers commands right away or they reach for their pocket without thinking to get their phone and it gets them the shot.
The FBI website says about 400 swattings happen a year, a small percentage of those include fatal encounters where the victims were shot by the responding law enforcement.
While we don't know if this case involved a livestreamer or not, it is ideal if you are one to speak with your local law enforcement and explain that since you stream video games its possible someone tries to swat you.
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