Wichita, Kansas- Swatting is what happens when someone makes a call to a police department with a false story of an ongoing crime – often with killing or hostages involved – in an attempt to draw a large number of police officers to a particular address. Swatting has gained traction across the country with online gamers, and the FBI estimates there are about 400 cases of swatting each year.
In Kansas, a man is now dead because of swatting prank. Wichita police originally received a call that a man had an argument with their parents, shot them and the shooter was holding his remaining family members hostage.
Officers went to the 1000 block of McCormick, preparing for a hostage situation and after they “got into position and a male came to the front door,” according to Deputy police Chief Troy Livingston. “As an unidentified man came to the front door, one of our officers discharged his weapon.”
Livingston didn’t say if the man, Andrew Finch, 28, had a weapon when he came to the door, or what caused the officer to shoot the man. Finch’s family says he did not have a gun and there are no guns in the house. Livingston added he doesn’t think Finch fired at officers, but the incident is still under investigation. Finch later died at a local hospital. The name of the officer, who is a 7 year veteran of the force, has not been released, but a spokesperson for the department has said the officer will be on paid leave while the incident is being investigated.
A series of Twitter posts screenshotted by the Wichita Eagle suggests that Finch became the unintended victim of a “swatting” prank stemming from a heated discussion over a Call of Duty bet. Two gamers had an argument over a $2.00 bet and eventually one of the gamers called police to swat the other. However, the swatter had the wrong information and sent police to Finch’s home, not the other gamers home.