Family identifies Wichita man killed by police in possible 'swatting' prank

Hope Soto
December 31, 2017

It appears that those responsible might have been two Call of Duty players who were competing in a $1.50 money match last night, based on Twitter screencaps shared among the Call of Duty community.

"The person who made the phone call took my nephew, her son, two kids' father", Hernandez-Caballero said. "That cop murdered my son over a false report".

While this is absolutely an illustration of the worst of the worst in toxic online behavior, Andrew Finch's death isn't simply an issue of SWATting and the callousness of some online gamers.

The FBI estimates that roughly 400 cases of swatting occur annually, with some using caller ID spoofing to disguise their number.

Even if relay operators believe a 911 call may be a hoax, they're generally prohibited from intervening - calls must be relayed verbatim.

Wichita Deputy Police Chief Troy Livingston on Friday blamed a "prankster" who called 911 and made up a story about a shooting and kidnapping. We learned through that call that a father was deceased, and had been shot in the head. He said he was holding his mother and a sibling at gunpoint.

"That was the information we were working off of".

A man walked out the front door.

Officers subsequently surrounded the home at the address the caller provided and prepared for a hostage situation. And it isn't known what cause the officer to shoot him on sight.

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Police shot Finch after they say he moved his hands to his waistline, Livingston said.

Officers soon flanked the house on three sides and readied themselves for a confrontation, Deputy Police Chief Livingston said in his press conference. According to Finch's family, he didn't play video games and was uninvolved in the dispute.

"There were several commands given" by police, Livingston said.

"This call was little peculiar for us". Prominent celebrities like Justin Bieber and Ashton Kutcher have been swatted but the prank is most well-known in video gaming communities, where it has been used as a form of revenge.

His account has since been suspended. The dispute escalated with one threatening the other with swatting. This resulted in the police arriving at a nearby home where an innocent man was apparently enjoying a quiet night sans any actual hostages.

Officials do, however, say that there are limits to what can be done to combat swatting. "I DIDNT GET ANYONE KILLED BECAUSE I DIDNT DISCHARGE A WEAPON AND BEING ASWAT MEMBER ISNT MY PROFESSION [sic]", he tweeted.

Now, Wichita police officers are busy piecing together what took place at the home near Seneca and McCormick. He said no one has been arrested in connection with the hoax. They were taken downtown and interviewed by Wichita police officers.

The phenomenon of swatting, anonymous reports of fake hostage situations, shootings and other violent crimes, has grown in recent years, particularly among online gamers and hackers. The officer that killed Finch is on paid leave as the department investigates further.

He had been with the police department for seven years.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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