Police Kill Man in Apparent 'Swatting' Prank

Sources say it started as argument between strangers over video game
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2017 5:45 PM CST
Wichita police investigate a call of a possible hostage situation Thursday in Wichita, Kansas. A man was fatally shot by a police officer in what is believed to be a gaming prank called "swatting."   (Fernando Salazar /The Wichita Eagle via AP)

(Newser) – A 28-year-old man in Kansas was reportedly killed by police Thursday night over a $1.50 bet made on a video game by two strangers. After receiving a call about someone shooting their father and holding their family hostage, police responded en masse to a house in Wichita, the Wichita Eagle reports. “A male came to the front door,” deputy police chief Troy Livingston says. “As he came to the front door, one of our officers discharged his weapon.” It's unclear why the officer shot the man, and the shooting is under investigation. Family has identified the man as Andrew Finch. More than a dozen self-identified gamers on Twitter tell the Eagle that Finch was killed as the result of "swatting," wherein one person calls in a fictional threat at another's address as a prank. The Verge reports that swatting has resulted in severe injuries in the past, but this may be the first swatting-related death.

The incident started with a $1.50 bet on the game Call of Duty, according to KrebsOnSecurity. One gamer threatened to swat another, and the second dared someone to swat him, tweeting a fake address. The first gamer tweeted Thursday that "that kids house that I swatted is on the news," adding: "I didn't get anyone killed because I didn't discharge a weapon and being a SWAT member isn't my profession." The second gamer tweeted: “Someone tried to swat me and got an innocent man killed.” The first gamer reportedly confessed to KrebsOnSecurity. He reportedly says that while he "of course" feels bad," he won't turn himself in because he's "too scared." Police are investigating the swatting angle. Finch's cousins say he didn't play video games.

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