A man is dead at the hands of local Wichita cops after becoming the target of a swatting prank. And the Call of Duty gaming community appears to hold the answer to what really happened. Online gamers have used Twitter to spread word of the prank, which resulted in the man being shot to death on Thursday night.
Swatting is an internet prank which results in the local police department being called to the scene of a crime that never actually happened. Cops are given a false story that usually revolves around a murder or an incident that involves hostages. This often times results in a large number of police officers showing up at a particular address. And it appears that is exactly what happened in Kansas earlier this week.
The prank is becoming quite popular with online gamers across the country. The prankster that calls in the false report will use caller ID spoofing, or some other high tech technique that disguises their phone number as being local. Sometimes they will call local non-emergency lines instead of trying to prank 9-1-1.
Deputy Wichita Police Chief Troy Livingston has confirmed that an ongoing investigation into this particular prank has been launched. The police had received a call that someone was having an argument with their mother after the father had been shot in the head. It was then revealed that the shooter was holding the mom, as well as his younger brother and sister, hostage. Says Livingston.
"That was the information we were working off of. A male came to the front door. As he came to the front door, one of our officers discharged his weapon."
Officers arrived at the 1000 block of McCormick, where they were fully prepared for the hostage situation. It has not been revealed whether or not the deceased 28 year old man who was shot and killer had a weapon or not. And it isn't known what cause the officer to shoot him on sight. It isn't believed that the unnamed man shot back at police. The victim of the cop shooting has not yet been identified, but it was confirmed that he died at a local hospital.
A family member of the man who was shot and killed claims his name was Andrew Finch. One of Finch's cousins also made the claim that Andrew never played video games. Livingston went onto say this.
"This call was little peculiar for us. (The call) went to a substation first, then it was relayed to dispatch, then dispatch gave it to us. We have a lot of information to go through."
The key to the shooting appears to be Twitter, where more than a dozen individuals have identified themselves as being part of the Call of Duty gaming community. The shooting is said to have resulted from an argument that sparked between two Call of Duty players, which ignited the deadly swatting prank. One gamer has this to say.
"I DIDNT GET ANYONE KILLED BECAUSE I DIDNT DISCHARGE A WEAPON AND BEING A SWAT MEMBER ISNT MY PROFESSION."
This tweet came from the gamer many claim is responsible for the swatting prank. The user's Twitter account was suspended overnight. As it is laid out on Twitter, this man threatened to swat the other, with the intended victim giving his attacker a false address. This resulted in the police arriving at a nearby home where an innocent man was apparently enjoying a quiet night sans any actual hostages. The intended victim, who was not swatted, said this.
"Someone tried to swat me and got an innocent man killed."
The deputy police chief refused to give out the address where the deadly shooting took place, only offering the block number of the home. Police were spotted in the front yards of two different houses sitting across from each other at the corner of Seneca and McCormick. Said one gamer via email.
"Normally this is a prank, but due to the high stress situation, sometimes it is closer to a death threat from a user trying to get cops to kill them."
The argument that resulted in the deadly swatting prank was reportedly sparked by a $1 wager over the game. The officer who fired the deadly shot has been placed on administrative paid leave. He had been with the police department for seven years. Police plan to release more information later today. Kansas.com was the first to break this story.