Arrest in Call of Duty-linked 'swatting' death

Posted December 31, 2017

Swatting, for those who don't know, is a "prank" where someone calls the police department claiming a serious crime is going on at someone else's house. "The incident was a nightmare for everyone involved, including the family and our police department".

While this is absolutely an illustration of the worst of the worst in toxic online behavior, Andrew Finch's death isn't simply an issue of SWATting and the callousness of some online gamers. The FBI estimates that roughly 400 cases of swatting occur annually. Sometimes they will call local non-emergency lines instead of trying to prank 9-1-1.

Wichita Deputy Police Chief Troy Livingston told the media that the police officer saw Finch reach for his waistband, and believed he had a gun. The police had received a call that someone was having an argument with their mother after the father had been shot in the head. He said he was holding his mother and a sibling at gunpoint.

"That was the information we were working off of".

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Officers went to the house and prepared for a hostage situation.

Authorities have not released the name of the man who was killed on Thursday, but relatives have identified him as 28-year-old Andrew Finch. And it isn't known what cause the officer to shoot him on sight. According to Finch's family, he didn't play video games and was uninvolved in the dispute. Police say Finch made a movement towards his waist which prompted one officer to fire one round, which killed Finch.

"This call was little peculiar for us". Apparently it "went to a substation first, then it was relayed to dispatch, then dispatch gave it to us", he explained, adding: "We have a lot of information to go through".

Dexerto, an online news service focused on gaming, reported that the series of events began with an online argument over a $1 or $2 wager in a "Call of Duty" game on UMG Gaming, which operates online tournaments including one involving "Call of Duty".

This tweet came from the gamer many claim is responsible for the swatting prank. At the time of writing, Swautistic's Twitter account has been suspended. "Two teammates [on the losing team] who go by the handles "Miruhcle" and "Baperizer" got into an argument following a loss", summarized GameInformer, "over public Twitter posts and private direct messages with each other". This resulted in the police arriving at a nearby home where an innocent man was apparently enjoying a quiet night sans any actual hostages.