On Thursday night, (28/12/2017), armed police in Wichita, Kansas shot and killed a man they believed to be armed, dangerous and holding hostages – yet it turned out to be a video game prank gone wrong.
Due to a new pranking trend called ‘swatting’, Police have now released the bodycam footage, showing them shooting the unarmed 28-year-old Kansas resident, Andrew Finch.
It spiralled out of control when, during an online Call Of Duty match, Tyler Barriss, from Los Angeles, called in a false report after getting into a dispute with another player.
You can watch the news report below:
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For those who are unaware, ‘swatting’ is when someone calls the emergency services with a false story about an ongoing crime – usually, it involves murder or holding someone hostage – in an effort to draw large numbers of law enforcement agencies to a particular address.
It’s gained popularity across America, particularly within sections of the online gaming community.
For some, it’s seen as nothing more than a harmless prank or form of trolling – those attempting to ‘swat’ will use ‘caller ID spoofing’ or other techniques to hide their local area code number.
Multiple law enforcement sources told NBC News, Barriss allegedly passed off an address to authorities, belonging to Finch, which he believed was the person he’d got into a heated dispute with.
Barriss called Police in Wichita, claiming to have been in an argument with his parents, which resulted in him shooting his dad – he also claimed he had more hostages and was planning to set fire to the house.
When officers arrived at the address they were heavily armed, preparing themselves for a hostage situation.
During a press conference, Deputy Police Chief Troy Livingston provided an account of what happened when 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.
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.
— KMBC (@kmbc) December 30, 2017
After putting down Finch they went into the house to search for hostages, but soon realised this was someone’s sick and horrible attempt at a hoax – they found no evidence of captives or a dead body.
The irresponsible acts of a prankster put people’s lives at risk. The incident is a nightmare for everyone involved, including the family and our police department.
Due to the action of a prankster, we have an innocent victim. If the false police call had not been made, we would not have been there.
Since Finch’s death, the LAPD has arrested Barriss and placed him in custody with no bail.
Furthermore, they are currently working with Wichita police in an ongoing investigation.
Speaking to NBC News, Andrew Finch’s mother, Lisa, asked what right did the police have ‘to open fire on her son’, she also added her son was not a gamer.