There is a lot of blame going around after a police officer killed 28-year-old Kansas man Andrew Finch at a house on Thursday evening. Cops point the finger at a “prankster” who called made a false report to 911, bringing law enforcement to the home. Media reports suggest that the prank over a petty feud between video game players. Even so, the victim’s mother has put responsibility with law enforcement.
In a press conference Friday afternoon, Wichita Police Department Deputy Chief Troy Livingston told reporters that a “prankster” called the security desk at the mayor’s office and 911. Audio played for the media showed that this person claimed to be gunman, and told operators that he hit his father on the head with a gun, and shot him. The individual said he was holding his mother and little brother hostage in a closet, and was thinking about lighting the home with gasoline. He told the 911 operator his address, and followed up later asking if she had it right.
Livingston said this was a fake. Cops responded to the residence at about 6:18, he said, and cordoned off the residence, preparing for a dangerous hostage situation. A 28-year-old mastoid in the doorway, and officers gave him several verbal commands to put his hands up, Livingston said, but the man put his hands down each time. Finally, he put his hands up fast from his waist, making one officer believe that he might have a gun, Livingston said. This cop, described as seven-year veteran, opened fire once, killing the man.
The victim did not have a gun.
Family members identified the victim as Finch. His mother Lisa Finch talked to the Wichita Eagle Friday morning, hours before the press conference. She said police botched it.
“That cop murdered my son, over a false report in the first place,” she said.
She said she was in the home at the time, and that her son, who was unarmed, opened the door. He screamed, and he was shot, she said. Cops then took her, her roommate, and her granddaughter (Andrew’s niece) outside over Finch’s body, and handcuffed them. Her son was not a gamer, she said, and she questioned why police didn’t give him a warning.
“Why didn’t they gave him the same warning they gave us?” Finch said.
Law&Crime could not reach her for comment about the WPD’s Friday press conference.
As for the prankster, Livingston wouldn’t name a suspect yet, or even comment on the person’s possible location, except to say this is an apparent swatting incident. The investigation is ongoing. All told, he insisted that police acted with the information they had at the time.
“911 is based on the premise of believing the caller,” he said.
Swatting is the practice of calling 911 with a false report in order to harass a victim with law enforcement.
So for now, there are no named suspects. But there are media reports that suggest this could stem from a feud between at least two gamers, none of whom ostensibly knew Finch.
Two Call of Duty players tweeted about the incident Thursday, according to The Wichita Eagle. Apparently, they were in an argument, and one threatened the other one with a swatting call. The second player gave a fake address, and this first player used it when calling 911.
“Someone tried to swat me and got an innocent man killed,” the alleged second player wrote in a now-deleted tweet, according to the Eagle.
A now-deleted tweet from the individual who allegedly made the 911 call read, “I DIDNT GET ANYONE KILLED BECAUSE I DIDNT DISCHARGE A WEAPON AND BEING A SWAT MEMBER ISNT MY PROFESSION.”
For now, everyone will have to wait and see how cops and Finch’s family respond to all this. Livingston also showed the media seven seconds of footage of the fatal shooting, but it was from the other side of the street, and shown on a projector. Nonetheless, he said it showed the police version of events in regard to Finch. There is other video available, but he said it would not be immediately released, pending the results of the ongoing investigation, and the possibility of civil litigation over the matter.
[Screengrab from Call of Duty: WWII via theRadBrad]