Police in Wichita, Kansas shot and killed a man after responding to an emergency call, according to a report from The Wichita Eagle. Follow-up reports from players and viewers familiar with the individuals involved say death may be a result of swatting.
The Wichita Eagle reported that police were called to a home on the evening of Dec. 28 to investigate, following a phone call about a possible homicide and hostage incident. When a 28-year-old man opened the door, an officer fired his weapon. The man, whom police have not officially identified, was pronounced dead at the hospital. Family members later identified the victim as Andrew Finch.
Speaking with local news, Wichita deputy police chief Troy Livingston confirmed that police are investigating whether the initial phone call was part of a swatting prank, a dangerous act in which the perpetrator reports a hoax emergency to police, prompting an armed response upon an unsuspecting victim. Unconfirmed reports from Call of Duty community members suggest that the victim was unknowingly looped into the argument of two Call of Duty: WWII players.
Call of Duty players point to a wager-based match of Search and Destroy in Call of Duty: WWII as the origin of the incident. Two teammates, “Miruhcle” and “Baperizer,” had an argument after a loss. According to tweets and direct messages involving the two players, Baperizer contacted a third person, who goes by the name “Swautistic,” to initiate a swat on Miruhcle.
Taunting Baperizer or Swautistic to come after him, Miruhcle provided an address in Wichita, suggesting it was his own home. That address led police to Finch’s residence instead. There’s no indication the victim was associated with any of the players. In a video interview with The Eagle, the victim’s mother, Lisa Finch, said her son Andrew was “not a gamer.”
Swautistic has a reputation for calling in fake threats, according to tweets from Call of Duty pro player Tommy "ZooMaa" Paparratto of Faze Clan. Paparratto posted screenshots of Swautistic’s supposed tweets, which contain threats to swat Paparratto and his girlfriend, as well as possible bomb threats targeting the Call of Duty World League in New Orleans.
After the police shooting, Swautistic denied responsibility for the fatal swatting, saying in a now-deleted tweet, “I DIDNT GET ANYONE KILLED BECAUSE I DIDNT DISCHARGE A WEAPON AND BEING ASWAT MEMBER ISNT MY PROFESSION [sic].”
Social media accounts associated with the players involved have been deleted or renamed after the incident.
Polygon contacted the Wichita police department for more details on the case and is awaiting a response.