The Wichita Police Department has confirmed that a “swatting prank” led to an innocent man’s death on Dec. 28.
Deputy police chief Troy Livingston spoke during a press briefing, which was broadcast on Facebook, stating that the false report led to the death of 28-year-old Andrew Finch. Detectives are investigating the "pranksters" that made the disturbing call to police.
The Call of Duty community is blaming two of its players for the incident. A report from local newspaper The Wichita Eagle suggested two gamers, "Miruhcle" and "Baperizer," were allegedly arguing over a Call of Duty money match, where $2 was on the line. The argument then escalated, with Baperizer threatening to swat Miruhcle. Miruchle gave a false address—the address where the 28-year-old man was shot by police—instead of his own.
Miruchle posted the address online, telling Baperizer it was his own.
The caller first contacted the Wichita city building at 6:18pm CT and told a security guard he had shot his father. A 911 operator later reached the caller, where at 6:42pm CT the caller repeated that he was holding his mother and brother in a closet. He also said he'd doused the house in gasoline and intended to light it on fire.
"I'm thinking about... I already poured gasoline all over the house," the caller said. "I might just set it on fire."
The call led police to Finch's house in Wichita, where he was shot and killed by police at 6:43pm CT. Finch was pronounced dead at the hospital. Police also showed a seven-second clip of the shooting. The video appears to show Finch in the doorway of his home. A few seconds in, a shot is fired by a seven-year police veteran. Finch was unarmed, police confirmed.
"If the false police call had not been made, we would not have been there," Livingston said. The deputy police chief also noted there was an ongoing investigation into the call. Federal officers are involved in the process, according to Livingston.
Finch's mother, Lisa Finch, spoke earlier in the day on her son's death. She blamed the police and false caller for the shooting. "That cop murdered my son over a false report in the first place," Lisa Finch said in a video posted to The Eagle. "My son was not a gamer."