"Swatting" has become a major problem for police forces across the world. It has become a video game trend for opposing players to call the police and send them off to addresses based on fake information in order to create a panic, and cause their intended targets a high measure of discomfort. The situations are always bad, but rarely do they get so out of control that someone ends up losing their life, but in this case, an innocent man is dead because of a 25-year-old idiot.
Twenty-five-year-old Tyler Barriss of Los Angeles was arrested on suspicion making a false report about a possible murder and hostage situation that led to the death of 28-year-old Andrew Finch from Witchita, Kansas.
Police in Kansas received an emergency call in late December which caused them to dispatch a number of officers to Finch's home. When Finch opened the door he was accosted by the police, who ordered him to put his hands up and walk slowly towards them. Confused as to why the police were there for him, he raised and lowered his hands a few times, but when he quickly raised his hands the last time, an officer there thought he had drawn a weapon. The officer fired once, a shot that killed Finch. But who was responsible for his death?
What makes this situations all the more tragic is the ridiculous nature of what actually brought it about. Cops are fairly certain that it all started over an argument started while playing the popular online video game, Call of Duty.
A gamer posted Finch's address on Twitter, which is how police believe Barriss became involved in the situation. He wasn't involved with the online game dispute, but he allegedly took it upon himself to make the "swatting" call.
An unnamed Twitter user posted a response on the social media platform, denying any part in Finch's death: “I DIDN’T GET ANYONE KILLED BECAUSE I DIDN’T DISCHARGE A WEAPON AND BEING A SWAT MEMBER ISN'T MY PROFESSION.”
Deputy Wichita Police Chief Troy Livingston called the situation "a nightmare for everyone involved." The officer who fired the fatal shot has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.
Who is at fault here?