If police officers came to the door of someone you loved and shot them, for no good reason, would you want the officer to face charges? What if you found out that the shooting happened due to a hoax and that the officer believed the person at the door was a killer?
Andrew Finch was an innocent 28-year-old man from Wichita, California, who had the above occur. He was an unfortunate resident at a random address given to police via the prank of “swatting.” Find out what “swatting” is and how you can protect yourself and your family.
What is Swatting?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, swatting is “the action or practice of making a prank call to emergency services in an attempt to bring about the dispatch of a large number of armed police officers to a particular address.” The term refers to hoping the SWAT team will arrive at the designated location.
Most people who are victims of “swatting” will never know who called the police to their home. Swatters experience an adrenaline rush when they use caller ID spoofing (or having a fake number appear as the one they’re calling from), or they use swatting out of revenge. They say whatever they need for emergency services to deploy a SWAT team and emergency services to a location where there is no real emergency.
How Did Swatting Lead to The Killing?
Tyler Raj Barriss, 25, of Los Angeles is the one who called for police in the swatting con that led to Finch’s 2017 death. Like other swatters, he used to call spoofing to hide his number and identity. Barriss was initially arrested and held in jail, instead of bail, for the “false alarm” and “interference” with a law enforcement officer.
Finch made the call as he was mad about someone he was online gaming with. He thought that he was giving the address of his gaming contact to emergency services, but it was Finch’s address.
According to Marc Bennett, the District Attorney for Sedgwick County, the officers responding to Barriss’ fake call believed that the situation was real. They thought that Andrew Finch was a murder suspect who had shot his father and was holding his mother and younger brother hostage.
While Finch came to the door and reportedly raised his hands to shoulder level, as instructed, one of the officers thought Finch was reading for his waistband with a weapon in it. Certain Finch’s pocket contained the same gun he’d used to, supposedly, shoot his father, one officer fired. The officer had been working at the police department for seven years and, although the Wichita Police department gave their sympathy to all involved, including Finch’s family, the officer was not charged.
The Finch family took legal action in a U.S. District Court in Wichita, for punitive damages at a jury trial. Meanwhile, Barriss eventually plead guilty to years in jail, via a plea agreement.
If you receive a mysterious call from a con artist, would you know? Savvy internet users use Social Catfish to search unknown caller’s identities. If you are ever asked to raise your hands in the air, by police, even if it’s a case of mistaken identity, do so slowly and obey all commands. Do not reach for your pocket.
At Social Catfish, you can check the identity of your online connections and search by name, number, email address, username, and image. Getting accurate information from our high powered search can help you connect with people you trust and avoid scammers.