There haven’t been many “swatting” stories in the news lately. This is the exception. It is making headlines becasue a group of online gamers got into a dispute, and one decided to call 911 and report a hostage situation. When the police arrived at the address they’d been given, they shot and killed the man who answered the door.
The incident happened in Wichita, Kansas Thursday evening. Andrew Finch, 28, was killed by the responding officers. Wichita deputy police chief Troy Livingston has not given many details. It is unclear why the responding officer fired on Finch. “A male came to the front door,” Livingston said. “As he came to the front door, one of our officers discharged his weapon.”
It is believed that the prank began after an argument over a bet made by gamers playing Call of Duty. The department received a call that claimed a man had an argument with his mother and killed his father. The man was reportedly holding his mother, brother and sister hostage.
“Someone tried to swat me and got an innocent man killed,” the targeted gamer tweeted. The supposed target of the prank was not the man killed. In fact, the targeted man had given the prankster a false address. Finch, the man killed, had nothing to do with the video game feud.
Later, as the news spread, the one responsible reportedly tweeted this: “I DIDNT GET ANYONE KILLED BECAUSE I DIDNT DISCHARGE A WEAPON AND BEING A SWAT MEMBER ISNT MY PROFESSION.”
“Swatting is an internet prank in which someone calls the cops with a fake story about a violent crime in progress, often involving hostages, in an attempt to spark a massive police response,” The NY Daily News, reporting on the shooting, writes. “The potentially devastating prank method has gained particular traction among gaming communities and the FBI estimates that some 400 cases occur annually.”
The officer who fired on Finch has been with the Wichita police for more than seven years. He’s now on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.
“This call was little peculiar for us,” Deputy Chief Livingston said. “(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.”