Playing Video games online is supposed to be fun, well, not many people think so (me included) for many reasons but the main one is being “Swatted” (Swatting) a prank that involves emergency services most notably Law Enforcement, to respond to a call involving a violent incident. These calls are done anonymously through online services or programs which are supposed to make it hard to be traced (but can be).
Swatting usually happens to high profile individuals, celebrities, politicians and gaming streamers but some people Swatted other players out of revenge, normally these incidents are potentially dangerous but on Thursday night it became deadly.
Police in Wichita, Kansas responded to a call that a man killed his father and has taken people in the house hostage. After arriving and at the front door of the house, Andrew Finch (29) was shot and killed by a police officer as he opened the door. It turned out the call was a Swatting prank and Finch was not the intended target.
After word of the shooting came out, gamers and Twitter users pointed authorities in the direction of two gamers playing Call of Duty who had an argument over a $1.50 bet. During the online argument, one of the players threatened the other that he’ll “Swat” him, the other player calling his bluff gave him a fake address, Finch’s to be exact who happened to live in the same area as the intended victim of the prank. The player who made the call tweeted the story as it was unfolding (news about the shooting was not yet released).
A couple hours later after news of the shooting was announced, he took to Twitter again, this time trying to pass the blame on the officer who shot.
Though questions are being asked as to why the officer shot his weapon at Finch has yet to be answered as the investigation continues. The officer, a seven-year veteran of the department, was placed on paid administrative leave till the investigation is over, it’s been noted that this is standard procedure for Witchita PD whenever an officer is involved in a shooting, I’ll note that this is common in most police agencies.
The tweets made by the players involved were deleted and the one who made the prank call had his twitter suspended. Credit should be given to members of the Call of Duty community who took screenshots of the tweets and directed authorities to the cause of the incident that resulted in the death of Andrew Finch who according to his family, never played video games, sadly he was killed as a result of a prank involving one. This is the only time, in North America at least, that Swatting resulted in a death.
Update: LAPD arrested Tyler Barriss (25) in South Los Angeles for Swatting, according to sources Barriss has been living in a Transitional Recovery Center, a home for people recovering from addiction after being in a Rehabilitation program. It’s believed that Barriss is the same Tyler Barriss that was arrested in 2015 for calling in a bomb threat at KABC-TV.