An online feud between two Call of Duty players resulted in the death of a 28-year old Andrew Finch of Wichita, Kansas, on Thursday night when one of the players attempted to “swat” the other. Unfortunately, the father-of-two’s address was used in the hoax call to police and Finch was shot and killed by an officer when he opened the door to investigate the commotion outside.
“Swatting” is a frequent hoax used in the online gaming community where one person will call the police to report a serious incident like a hostage situation or a killing. The purpose is to provoke a heavily armed response from the police in an attempt to frighten the target. This happens hundreds of times per year and has affected everyone from Twitch streamers to game developers.
In Thursday’s tragic incident, two Call of Duty: WWII players named “Miruchle” and “Baperizer” began arguing over a $1.50 lost bet using the wager feature on the UMG Gaming website. Per information from the Call of Duty community captured by Dexerto, the argument escalated into “Miruhcle” daring the “Baperizer” to do something and intentionally gave the wrong address, which turned out to be Finch’s.
Wichita Police received a call concerning a possible homicide and hostage situation at 6:15 p.m., according to a Wichita Eagle report.
“The original call, we were told someone had an argument with their mother and dad was accidentally shot. And now that person was holding mother, brother and sister hostage,” Deputy Police Chief Troy Livingston explained in a statement. “We learned through that call that a father was deceased, and had been shot in the head. That was the information we were working off of.”
Finch was at home with his family and other relatives when the police arrived. Finch opened the front door to find out what was happening outside when he was shot by a seven-year veteran of the Wichita police department.
“I heard my son scream, I got up and then I heard a shot,” Andrew’s mother, Lisa Finch told the Wichita Eagle.
In a statement Friday afternoon from Twitter, the police said Finch was unarmed but “lowered his arms to his waist multiple times when told to raise them.” Details on a video of the incident and the original 911 swatting call are still forthcoming.
Police did order the rest of the family out of the house where they were handcuffed, placed in separate police cruisers, and taken to a police station to be interviewed by officers.
“The police said, ‘Come out with your hands up,'” Finch’s Aunt, Lorrie Hernandez-Caballero 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 Twitter accounts of both “Miruchle” and “Baperizer” have been taken offline. Prior to being taken offline, a screen capture of Bapreizer’s account shows the following two messages.
“That kids house that I swatted is on the news”
“I DIDNT GET ANYONE KILLED BECAUSE I DIDNT DISCHARGE A WEAPON AND BEING A SWAT MEMBER ISNT MY PROFESSION”
There’s been no word from the Wichita Police Department if charges will be filed against “Miruchle” or “Baperizer” yet.
Update: The Wichita Police have released the 911 audio and video of the shooting.
Update 2: The person responsible for calling the police, Tyler Raj Barriss or California, was arrested Friday evening.