Innocent man shot dead by police after 'Call of Duty' prank goes wrong
In the intense, fast-paced world of online gaming, it can be really easy to get carried away. With a headset tight around your ears and the difference between glorious victory and crushing defeat little more than a press of a button or a well-timed flick of the joystick, sometimes, our emotions can get the better of us.
Sometimes, this can manifest as online abuse and vitriol, or in the form of practical jokes or pranks. Other times, like this Call of Duty bet gone wrong, online gaming can result in death.
Last week out in Kansas, the Wichita Police Department claim they received a 9-1-1 call stating they had shot a man dead during an argument, and that they were currently holding his mother, brother and sister hostage at the house.
When a SWAT team was frantically dispatched to the house, ready to deal with a hostage situation, and 28-year-old Andrew Finch answered the door, he was shot, dying in hospital a few minutes later. But tragically, not only was Finch not holding his family at gunpoint, but he was unarmed, and didn't seem to be in an argument at all.
The entire situation was the result of a prank known as "swatting", where practical jokers try and get a SWAT team sent to their victim's house by putting together a false report. This particular prank came about as a bet by a couple of online gamers after a dispute on the video game Call of Duty.
Members of the online community claim that two gamers were having a dispute over something that happened in the first-person shooter game, when one of them decided to "swat" the other, recruiting "Swautistic", a gamer known for bragging about swatting other people and even shutting down major gaming events, to do the business.
But when one of the warring gamers provided a fake address, disaster struck. Talking to YouTuber Keemstar, whose channel often covers drama between online personalities, Swautistic revealed more about the deadly incident, admitting he was the one who called the cops.
“I was minding my own business at the library when someone contacted me and said ‘Hey dude, this fuckin’ retard just gave me his address and he thinks nothing’s gonna happen. You wanna prove him wrong?' And I said, ‘Sure, I love swatting kids who think that nothing’s gonna happen.'”
Swautistic also revealed that he was the author of a tweet posted last Friday, which claimed that he wasn't responsible for the death of Finch, saying: “I DIDN’T GET ANYONE KILLED BECAUSE I DIDN’T DISCHARGE A WEAPON AND BEING A SWAT MEMBER ISN’T MY PROFESSION.”
It remains to be seen whether or not Swautistic will face punishment or retribution for swatting Andrew Finch, but what we do know is that a 25-year-old man by the name of Tyler Barriss has been arrested in Los Angeles. It's not known whether Tyler Barriss is the real name of Swautistic, however.
In the meantime, law enforcement confirmed they were working with the FBI on similar cases, and a GoFundMe page for Andrew Finch has been set up, which can be found here. Our thoughts are with Andrew Finch's family at this extremely difficult time.