Online gamers have said in multiple Twitter posts that the shooting of a man Thursday night by Wichita police was the result of a “swatting” hoax involving two gamers.
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Swatting happened 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. 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.
Deputy Wichita Police Chief Troy Livingston said Thursday night that police were looking into whether the call that led to the shooting was a case of swatting.
Livingston said the department received a call that someone had an argument with their mother, that the father had been shot in the head and the shooter was holding his mother, brother and sister hostage.
“That was the information we were working off of,” he said.
‘Swatting’ led to fatal shooting of Andrew Finch, police say
During a police briefing at City Hall on Friday afternoon, Deputy Police Chief Troy Livingston describes the events that led to the fatal shooting of Andrew Finch by a Wichita police officer.
Officers went to the 1000 block of McCormick, preparing for a hostage situation and they “got into position,” he said.
“A male came to the front door,” Livingston said. “As he came to the front door, one of our officers discharged his weapon.”
Livingston didn’t say if the man, who was 28, had a weapon when he came to the door, or what caused the officer to shoot the man. Police don’t think the man fired at officers, but the incident is still under investigation, he said. The man, who has not been identified by police, died at a local hospital.
A family member identified that man who was shot by police as Andrew Finch. One of Finch’s cousins said Finch didn’t play video games.
“This call was little peculiar for us,” 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.”