Lisa Finch, surrounded by family members, reacts to the killing of her son, Andrew Finch, who was shot Thursday evening by police. The shooting may have been related to what online gamers have said in multiple Twitter posts as a “swatting” hoax involving two gamers. (Video by Bo Rader / The Wichita Eagle) brader@wichitaeagle.com
Lisa Finch, surrounded by family members, reacts to the killing of her son, Andrew Finch, who was shot Thursday evening by police. The shooting may have been related to what online gamers have said in multiple Twitter posts as a “swatting” hoax involving two gamers. (Video by Bo Rader / The Wichita Eagle) brader@wichitaeagle.com

Crime & Courts

Family says son killed by police in ‘swatting’ was unarmed, didn’t play video games

By Nichole Manna

nmanna@wichitaeagle.com

December 29, 2017 12:37 PM

Blue and red lights flashed outside of the McCormick Street house just after 6 p.m. on Thursday. Curious of what was going on – Andrew Finch, 28, opened the door.

“I heard my son scream, I got up and then I heard a shot,” his mother, Lisa Finch, said Friday morning.

Finch and other relatives invited reporters into their home Friday morning – more than 12 hours after Wichita police said an officer fatally shot a 28-year-old man, who was identified by family as Andrew “Andy” Finch.

“We want Andy’s side of the story to be told,” his mother said.

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On Thursday, Deputy Wichita Police Chief Troy Livingston said a substation received a call that there was a hostage situation in a house in the 1000 block of West McCormick — and that someone had been shot in the head.

“That was the information we were working off of,” he said, explaining that officers went to the house ready for a hostage situation and they “got into position.”

“A male came to the front door,” Livingston said Thursday night. “As he came to the front door, one of our officers discharged his weapon.”

Livingston didn’t say if the man had a weapon when he came to the door, or what caused the officer to shoot the man.

Finch said her son, a father of two young children, wasn’t armed.

Man shot by police after false call of shooting, hostage situation

Wichita police say a man was fatally shot by an officer who was responding to a call about a homicide and hostage situation that turned out to be false.

nmanna@wichitaeagle.com

As the Finch family talked to reporters, they carefully navigated their way around their foyer, and pointed out a reminder of what happened.

“There’s where he was shot,” Andrew Finch’s aunt, Lorrie Hernandez-Caballero, said, as she pointed to spots of blood on the home’s porch, and on the carpet just inside the door. “They (police) had to take the screen door as evidence.”

After she heard the shot, Finch said she walked out of her bedroom and into the kitchen. A door leading from the kitchen to the side yard was open, she said.

“The police said, ‘Come out with your hands up,’” she said. “(The officer) took me, my roommate and my granddaughter, who witnessed the shooting and had to step over her dying uncle’s body.”

The family was handcuffed, taken outside and placed into separate police cruisers, she said. They were taken downtown and interviewed by Wichita police officers.

Asked if the family has talked to investigators from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Finch said they were told KBI investigators would contact them.

But they have questions now.

“What gives the cops the right to open fire?” Finch asked. “Why didn’t they give him the same warning they gave us? That cop murdered my son over a false report.”

Finch and Hernandez-Caballero said they want to see the officer – identified only as a seven-year veteran of the department – and the person who made the false report held accountable.

“The person who made the phone call took my nephew, her son, two kids’ father,” Hernandez-Caballero said. “How does it feel to be a murderer? I can’t believe people do this on purpose.”

Online gamers have said in multiple Twitter posts that the shooting was the result of a “swatting” call involving two gamers.

Andrew Finch was not involved in the online game, according to his mother and people in the gaming community.

“He doesn’t play video games,” Finch said. “He has better things to do with his time.”

Police release body camera video from shooting linked to 'swatting'

Warning Graphic Content: Wichita Police Department releases the body camera video of officer-involved shooting. Police say the man shot was a victim of swatting. (Video by Wichita Police Department)

cbolden@wichitaeagle.com

Swatting is an internet hoax where 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. Those who try to cause the swatting incident will use caller ID spoofing or other techniques to disguise their number as being local. Or they call local non-emergency numbers instead of 911, according to 911.gov.

On Twitter, more than a dozen people who identified themselves as being in the gaming community told The Eagle that a feud between two Call of Duty players sparked one to initiate a “swatting.”

“I DIDNT GET ANYONE KILLED BECAUSE I DIDNT DISCHARGE A WEAPON AND BEING A SWAT MEMBER ISNT MY PROFESSION,” said one gamer on Twitter, who others said made the swatting call. His account was suspended overnight.

According to posts on Twitter, two gamers were arguing when one threatened to target the other with a “swatting.” The person who was the target of the swatting gave the other gamer a false address, which sent police to Finch’s home instead of his own, according to Twitter posts.

Andrew Finch leaves behind two children – ages 2 and 7. He is from Virginia and the family moved to Wichita in the mid-1990s.

“He was very kind and caring,” Finch said. “He was in gifted classes. He was very artistic. He would draw any picture ... He would do anything for his family.”

Nichole Manna: 316-269-6752, @NicholeManna