Police Kill 28-Year-Old After Prank 'Swatting' Call

A 28-year-old man in the US was shot and killed by a Wichita police officer after a reported hostage situation call last night. At a press conference this afternoon, Wichita police said it was a false call meant to draw SWAT officers to the scene, an act known as "swatting". It appears to have been linked to an argument over Call of Duty, although police have not confirmed that.

Image via Wichita Eagle

During a press conference today, Wichita deputy police chief Troy Livingston said the caller had reported a hostage situation. In the call, which was partially played at the conference, the caller said his father had been shot in the head and was not breathing, and that he had his family at gunpoint. He also claimed to have doused the house with gasoline.

"I might just light the house on fire, burn the whole thing down," the caller told the dispatcher.

When police arrived on the scene, a man answered the door and was shot and killed by an officer.

"The male was given instructions and complied," said Livingston during the press conference. But according to the police report, he reached towards his waistband, leading an officer to fire. The man was later confirmed to have been unarmed.

The officer in question has been placed on paid administrative leave, the police said, per departmental policy.

It appears that those responsible might have been two Call of Duty players who were competing in a $US1.50 ($2) money match last night, based on Twitter screencaps shared among the Call of Duty community.

After the conclusion of this match, two players on the losing team began arguing. The first player, "Miruhcle", apparently sent an address to the second, "Baperizer", essentially egging them on. And the second player apparently sent that address to a third party known for swatting. But it appears that address didn't belong to either player -- it belonged to an unrelated man.

"Swatting" is the act of reporting a fake crime to local police, in the hopes of getting a SWAT team to bust down someone's door. Police confirmed today that they believe the call to be an act of swatting, and say they will be working to find those responsible alongside federal partners.

Both players in question have since been either suspended or deleted their Twitter accounts. One screen capture of the alleged swatter's feed is still making the rounds, however.

Image via Twitter user Mattcarries

Wichita police have not released the names of any suspects in the case, but Livingston said that the investigation has some "promising leads".


Comments

    Jesus Christ. That Twitter post fills me with such seething rage. I hope the authorities are able to track down the parties responsible and judge them severely.

      Yeah, me too.

      I'm at a loss for words, but can you even call somebody like that human.

      They need to come down hard on Swatters, this bullshit needs to end now. Locked up for an appropriate time and banned for life from the internet, they just can't use it responsibly. And the scary part is I think they'd be more upset about never playing COD online again than about the poor dude who they got shot for no reason.

        You can still swat people without the internet, but I think they will need a algorithm or something to monitor these streaming sites for dickheads like this so they can quickly check a system to see if there was any false SWAT reports online and join the dots. AND at least go in a little more at ease instead of hardcore breech and shoot tactics.

          Losing access to online isn't to stop them Swatting, it's just the worst possible punishment I can think of for these pricks.

      when the internet has a goal they can find anyone in the world.

      He did nothing wrong, it was a clean shooting. He reached for his belt, he died. buy clothing that fits!!

    The mind boggles that anyone can think swatting is okay.

      Really? It looks like the US working as intended to me. It's part of their culture to shoot first and blame someone else later. Look at the execution a few weeks ago where the cop straight up murdered the kid (young adult) with what people in the US are calling a "clean kill", screaming contradtictory instructions at the kid like "keep your hands in the air!" Then "crawl forward" then pumping round after round into the clearly compliant but drunk and struggling with the instructions kid. "Clean kill." The cop got off scott free.

      Swatting is just a step back from it. In my eyes this is what must result from the "culture" in the US. Working as intended.

        Oh please. What a sheltered Australian armchair view of something far away.

          I'll def admit I've been sheltered from gun culture. It's just not a thing here (anecdotal of course).
          Does that make what I said wrong though? You hear the excuse from tonnes of US citizens "Guns are part of our culture". I'm happy to take them at their word that these kinds of things are part if their culture.

        Even better (worse), shooting that Australian woman who called about a sexual assault behind her house. Cop reached across his partner in the car and shot her as she came out to meet them.

        Prosecutor is basically saying "This is legal if he feared for his life. He's taking the 5th amendment right to silence which means we can't find out."

    I hope the judge hammers them down hard to make a good example of them

    Kill an unarmed man, get put on paid leave? Fucking what? If that's department policy, no wonder this seem to happen so much in the US.

    Not saying the cop should've been fired instantly but you should probably have your pay withheld while they do whatever internal investigation after an incident like this.

      I think there's a due-process / innocent until proven guilty factor at work while the investigation goes on. It's the result of the investigation, and what action that comes out of it as a result, that is the important part.

      The fact that the cops there are so jumpy that they'll gun a man down as soon as his hand goes near his waistband rather than waiting until they actually see a gun, is just a symptom of a profoundly sick society.

        I mean of course he shouldn't have been shot, but when you go to a house having been told the man inside has a gun I think the greater part of the blame has to fall on the caller that said these things.

        It doesn't absolve the cop in question of course, but they did have reason to believe that he had a gun. Still though, pretty messed up, and both the call and the cop's response are pretty telling of a society that has some serious issues.

          Yup, When you have a society where your average joe can go buy an assault rifle its no wonder incidents like this occur

            Huh? no civilians had assault rifles in this story?

            Cops shot an unarmed man.

            Same thing happened at the saints and sinners ball on King Street in Melbourne a few months ago.

              I think what he was getting at was that you have a rapidly militarising society and that puts everyone on edge. This guy was unarmed, but he very likely could have been armed with any number of things.
              The police fucked up hard, just like they do every goddamn time they kill someone for no reason. But the problem is bigger than that. The entire social structure is poised on a knife edge. Except, you know... with guns.

          When first action is gun down someone who could well be the/one of hostages forced to answer the door, you're probably a really shitty cop.
          Even if man reached first action should be either a leg or shoulder shot & second action a kill shot if they pull a gun with intent to use, first action should never be just put them down without even seeing a even a glint of a weapon.

          As for people about paranoia well maybe shouldn't been a cop then, many countries have/had guns & cops didn't go blasting everyone down as first instinct, take Australia when we had legal guns we didn't have cops paranoid & killing civvies every other week.

            Leg and shoulder shots don't de-escalate situations. They're also very difficult to pull off with any level of safety to police, hostages, or suspects. So they are specifically taught not to try them. When you fire a gun, you intend to kill. That's why it should always be the last resort.

            The gun shouldn't have been fired at all.

        Well when anyone can own a gun, can hardly blame a police officer for being paranoid that everyone owns a gun.

        It’s crazy that this happened, and as you said crazier that the default assumption is hostility.

        But I could imagine that if someone told me, hey we’ve been told there’s a hostage situation and someone’s dead. And then you see someone reaching for the defacto area for holstering a weapon, a flash of one of us going home in a body bag may make you somewhat inclined to pull the trigger.

        Honestly though this seems like the real reason we need two in one weapons. A beanbag gun would have neutralised the issue without killing someone

      Moreso look at the situation, the information supplied to the police led to this situation. I wouldn't go crucifying them over this situation, it's horrible and people are going to lay blame where they can.

      Instead look back to what *caused* this situation, the piece of shit who reported this, he should be found and quite frankly, have the same exact thing happen to him...

        Fair, BUT, the unarmed man was apparently complying with orders and was still executed.

          "The male was given instructions and complied," said Livingston during the press conference. But according to the police report, he reached towards his waistband, leading an officer to fire.

          IF that's true, then I can see exactly why the officer would go to that extent, however, it doesn't make sense quite frankly. Somethings strange.

          I'm not protecting them, but I won't condemn them either. In this case, that person who swatted, should actually be tried for murder, not even manslaughter. They should be looking at a 25 year sentence.

            I'd read other reports that he was shot as soon as he opened the door but either way we'll never really know, American police are never held accountable for this kinda shit regardless of the circumstances.

              I've read conflicting reports, but none from anyone who was there. We'll see what comes out in time. I won't get into a pointless debate on who is held accountable for what, that's irrelevant, the person to be held accountable here is the one who made the call, without their action, this never would've happened.

                Yeah, I'm happy to disagree with some over the cop/s but in reality their part in any swatting is minor really. The idiots who started it should be charged - the guy who made that 911 call should get a murder charge at least (though I know legally they won't be able to)

                  I wonder if it is possible that a murder charge could be applied, given the offender knows there's a likelyhood this could've been the outcome, that there's the intent for a confrontation to occur and all that. It's definitely going to be interesting to see what happens.

                  Well since the call was made with the intent to cause harm or discomfort at the very least the guy would be up for a manslaughter charges.

                  Never mind the additional felonies of prank calling a police service and falsifying information.

                  This sucker deserves any punishment heading their way

        The person who made the fake police call is also culpable of course. I don't think they should be shot (not a fan of capital punishment) but they should go to jail for quite a long time - aside from the offence of falsely reporting a crime/emergency I'd also want to see them held liable to some extent for the homicide. This SWATing bullshit is incredibly stupid and dangerous and needs to come with serious consequences.

        Setting that aside, it's the entire job of the police to PROTECT people. It's never acceptable for a cop to shoot somebody that they don't know 100% is a threat. If you think somebody may be going for a gun, you don't shoot unless you actually see the weapon, even if it gets you killed. When you sign up you accept the risk that somebody might shoot you in the line of duty. It sucks, but that's the job.

        Again, that's not pin all the blame on this one cop. Even aside from the person who made the fake call, I get that a lot of factors contribute to this. The proliferation of firearms in the US, the generally high level of distrust and paranoia, and probably also disgracefully low training budgets for police departments. But at the end of the day, you can't just let the cop holding the gun off the hook either. This kind of shit just shouldn't happen. They should have been more disciplined. There's a whole complex set of circumstances here that led to this tragedy but if you want anything to change you need to attack the problem from the bottom as well as from the top.

          That’s not really how it works it’s not the officers duty to get shot on the chance the person isn’t reaching for a gun.

          Their use of force is predicated on a reasonable assumption at the time.

          If he had knocked on the door and there was no other context, he would have little reason to assume the person was armed and as a result it’s harder to justify the actions.

          —-

          In this case he was heading into an apparent hostage situation with one dead already. As such it’s a likely assumption that anyone at the scene is armed or has the potential to be armed.

          That piece of information plus reaching for his waistband, provides reasonable suspicion for what happened.

          —-

          That said one would think a leg shot would be a more appropriate choice. If your not 100% sure, it’s highly unlikely if they are armed they are going to get a good shot off after that, and you can always follow up with a body shot afterwards

            Actually it's a common fallacy that people think shooting someone in the leg is the "best" course of action. Police aren't trained to be crack shots. Their trained to aim at the bigger target to take them down (hence u see shoulder/chest shots the most)

            The leg is also the site of major arteries and you are more likely to bleed out to death faster from a shot there than from the upper body.

            ... yeah the stuff you learn keeping up with the issues of gun law.. =/

          All I know, is I wasn't in the situation, I'm not prepared to say what the cop should or shouldn't have done. I think it's easy to make a judgement from behind my keyboard, however in that circumstance? Less so.

            I actually find it pretty easy in this case.

            Did the police officer lay eyes on a weapon?

            If not, then he shouldn't have fired.

            I don't know exactly what happened on this particular day because I wasn't there. I do know that police officers should never shoot unarmed people. I get that it's a tense situation and nobody's perfect. I'm not trying to say the cop in question is a bad person. But he fucked up at his job.

              How do you know that though? You go by the words written only in the article. Here's more information from this youtube video where they talk about the incident and supply the actual call from the swatter:

              https://youtu.be/2n3enM3jjbU

              The caller advised he had already murdered one person in the house with a firearm and had two other hostages, according to the Chief of Police he turned from the east side of the house, raised his hands quickly, to one cop across the street, it looked like he was raising something from his waist, allegedly at a distance it appeared to be a threatening move. Maybe people think he was only 1 meter away or something, it turns out he was a fair bit away and in an unlit area, the officer fired and we arrive at this point. Things are never straight forward unfortunately. I think you're rushing to judgement far too quickly and condemning the office to be quite frank. I understand you might find it easy, but being objective is sometimes hard, especially when we want to condemn because it's so easy to see the police as the bad guys.

                I'm not a person who hates the cops and think they're bad guys. Personally I've actually never had a bad interaction with a cop and have had several positive ones. Incidents like this are the exception, but they're an exception that seems to be way to common in America right now.

                I think we have different standards on when it's acceptable for the police to use potentially deadly force. I don't disagree that the cop in question might have had a pretty solid reason to THINK the guy was pulling a weapon, but I'm saying that a police officer should never fire their weapon unless they can be 100% certain. The fact that it's dimly lit and from a distance means they should be even more reticent to fire. Is the police officer in this case a victim of poor training and a culture of fear? Yeah, probably. And definitely none of this would've happened without the bastard playing a 'prank'.

                None of that means the cop isn't also responsible, or should be allowed to keep their job - if you get scared in a situation like this and pull the trigger because you think you're protecting yourself or another, that's a completely reasonable human response. It's also not good enough when you've been put in a position of power by society under the explicit understanding that you'll serve and protect them, even if it means risking your own life.

                  Take a look at the stats of us police officers killed in the line of duty. You always hear about cops shooting people but the death rate among officers is ridiculously high.

                  Just as a devils advocate...

                  The thing is you do realise that in most tense situations like those that if a cop sees a weapon it is also far too late for them to react as the weapon is most likely already aimed... and in the process of being discharged at the officer. Especially more so in the situation described where it's dark and all you have to go off is arm movements. Do you hesitate and endanger yourself and everyone else including bystanders in a probable gun fire or do you take the shot?

                  Again these are all theoreticals. Cop screwed up and its understandable. But its very veeeerrrry easy to say "they need more training" and "x shoulda been done" when one is not in the position in question.

                  In a country were fire-arms and even high powered fire arms are free available you have a much different survival instinct than say us lucky folks here in Aus with stricter gun control.

                  Both sides make valid points in terms of how police should handle such a situation, but then it raises the question in my mind...if police already suspect that a dangerous person is in the house, then why are you putting yourself in a situation where you could be more easily killed? Just saying maybe the police training should include FIRST using a megaphone to call out the potential killer while you are behind cover, instead of knocking on the door and leaving yourself vulnerable in the open?? Can't this potentially be a quick temporary fix to the swat prank problem?

          Take the whole "swatting" issue aside, and this sad accident is just another run off the mill story of poorly trained cops in America shooting at people and there'd be little debate that the officer should be condemned. But because some other fuckers caused the whole thing, it's apparently a little more grey for the cop? That's what I'm reading with a lot of these comments which is nuts.

          This should not have ended in a death (despite so many predictions that swatting would eventually lead to someone dying, which I guess finally happened) but it did, and someone on the police side needs to be held fully responsible because they fucked up. I'm no bleeding heart, but the police culture and lack of training in the United States is simply inexcusable. This didn't even happen in some hick town with couple of thousand people, but the largest one of the state, pop. 380k+

            On what basis are you saying they have poor training. Black lives matter activists were put through the same training and actually had a higher percentage of discharges admitting it's hard than it looks.

            Remind yourself that it's America where there are more guns than people. Then remind yourself that police fatalities are significantly higher there than here.

            Can you see the issue there?

            Tell me reaction time you have if someone grabs a gun from a pocket or waist band. Almost none is the answer. Cops are jumpy but then maybe look at why they're jumpy before accusing them of being incompetent.

            This was a call that required a swat response, it wasn't a nuisance or domestic call. The only info they had was the caller saying they've already killed a close family member, had hostages and we're probably going to kill everyone else. What do you propose in that situation?

            Armchair generals for real.

              I'm just gonna say your whole argument is dumb. I'll let you think about why although it should be glaringly obvious.

              I'd love to see some proof of the black lives matters activists being put through police training claim.

      1: in America any loony can have a gun and people frequently shoot at police.

      2: the people swatting him spoofed a phone number and said he was armed and had killed a person already.

      3: Don't live in America if you don't wana get shot for stupid shit.

      Cops training is basically, if they appear to reach for anything or move their hands in a way that could be a reach for a weapon of ANY kind, shoot in head. THAT is from the police training 101 book. SO you can't really scorn any individual cop in such a situation.

        I think shooting for centre of mass is what they are trained for. A head is small. A body is much easier to hit quickly in a serious situation.

      You are put on paid leave until the investigation is over. Do you want to get blamed for something at work, and put off with no pay, then a month later they find out you did nothing wrong? "You can come back to work now. Sorry you had to blow through your savings to stay alive for the past month, lol".

    I'm sorry but SWATTING is not a fucking prank. Stop fucking calling it a prank. its a fucking crime

    Edit: we now have at the very least 4 families affected by this crime. the Family of the man killed, the family of the cop who pulled the trigger and the families of the two asshats that caused this

    Last edited 30/12/17 6:43 pm

    Thoughts and prayers go out to that poor victim and their family. Also to that poor officer who now has to live the rest of their life knowing they gunned down an innocent person when they only wanted to protect people.

    I hope the persons involved are caught and justice is served.

      Absolutely, I think it's being forgotten right now that the although the man who was shot is definitely a victim of this, the policeman is absolutely too.

        It's the police's job to protect innocent people, not to kill them. That's kind of a big part of what police are paid for and trained to do. This isn't some Joe Blow on the street. If a police officer is so incompetent as to use deadly force simply because a guy complying with all instructions needs to scratch his arse that officer is absolutely not a victim in this, he's one of the perpetrators.

      Not looking good unless they can pin him for manslaughter, cause he was apparently easy to find, cause he has a history of making bomb threats and swatting calls and has been arrested before and let off with a weak slap on the wrist.

        they will likely put up on conspiricy charges along with manslaughter and murder charges. The same way its normally done when they catch people trying to get a hitman

        The call is a felony. If someone dies while a felony is being committed they charge the person with the murder as well. Same as in Australia.

      I concur. Good.

      I think nothing short of thirty years in prison with a daily gang-rape by the local white supremist group while in prison should roughly equate to a close approximation of ‘justice’.

        30 years is too lenient. 30 years means he can parole. Life without parole is what he deserves

        -Reposted due to auto mod for correcting a spelling mistake-

    The guy they have arrested apparently has a history of doing it previously as well as at least two separate bomb hoaxes. He needs to be treated exactly how he is, a domestic terrorist

    Well, first and foremost, the blame for this death lies with the man who made the call, and to a lesser extent, the man who provided the fake address. But the police bear some responsibility. Did the man actually reach down to touch his waist-band? Maybe.... but maybe not. There have been police shootings in which body-cam footage shows the victim did absolutely nothing threatening at all - I'm not saying that this is the case in this instance, but I am raising the possibility that Mr Finch may have simply just stood there and got shot. It's happened before.

    The police in the US are trained poorly, but it's not just that - it's their culture and their attitude. They are trained to take as little risk as possible in an inherently risky job. Their training methods do not reduce the risk of death - rather, it transfers it to the population they are supposed to be protecting. By taking no risks, by reacting first, thinking later, by being so goddamn twitchy and hyper-vigilant, sure, they reduce their risk of getting shot..... and increase the risk of shooting innocent civilians.

    The question must be asked - Do police officers have a right to do anything and everything to reduce the risk to themselves, or do they, as public servants, have the duty to accept risk as part of their job? I am virtually certain that if those police officers had been trained in the UK, Mr Finch would still be alive. And yes, the UK have the equivalent of SWAT teams and they do deal with fire-arms violence. I am pretty sure that a UK officer with a gun responding to the same call probably would not have been so quick to fire.

      The body cam footage was released.

      The guy was repeatedly reaching for his belt leading the office who shot him to think he was reaching for a gun to shoot his fellow officers.

      So what? You expect the officer to just sit their and let a guy potentially reach for a gun and shoot his fellow officers?

      Your post is idiotic. You are yet another armchair expert thinking you know everything when really you know nothing.

    So many armchair experts in this thread with little to no idea who think they know everything about US police forces because they watched "Cops" a couple of times.

      Dude they’re armchair experts because they hear about a cop shorting someone a couple of times a week over there.

      Just last week I read a follow up article about the Australian woman who was killed and how the family feels they’re being stonewalled and not getting any answers.

      Maybe you’re right and this cop did nothing wrong, but the truth is people no longer trust the systems to effectively judge and punish him if he did do something wrong.

      The expectation is that cops get away with murder there so they’re less likely to have an understanding stance when news like this breaks.

      Personally I think the guy who made the call is guilty and should be charged. If the body cam footage is as you say (I’m not going to subject myself to that) then the cop isn’t guilty of murder but I still think he acted rashly and that how police are trained to respond to these situations should be investigated.

      Ps- By acting rashly and making a mistake I’m not suggesting he even necessarily needs punishment, people make mistakes.

      Well having partaken in a ride along with Las Vegas' Finest which they don't just let civilians do (take from that what you will), I feel with my knowledge of Australian practices I would have a clearer insight into this incident than the people you are belittling.

      I thought this may have been a topic we might have agreed upon after seeing some of your supportive comments about the Police because you usually have a pretty extreme left leaning opinion on here but alas you just couldn't help yourself and decided to hate on anything I say and belittle people with opposing opinions.

    I hope this prick is thrown in jail but these crimes are never treated with the severity they deserve.
    This shit has to stop and the only way that will happen is if there are dire consequences.
    What an absolute piece of shit.

    This shit makes me so angry. The people responsible for calling swat teams on innocents need to be put in prison for life and treated as murderers regardless of if anyone was hurt or not, no exceptions. Punish these people and put an end to this bullshit forever.

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