Law enforcement agencies review swatting procedures

Posted: Updated:
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

When Wichita police rushed to Andrew Finch’s home last week, they thought they’d find the man behind a 9-1-1 call, who had told the operator that his father was accidentally shot, and that a brother, sister and the mother were being held hostage. He also later threatened to set the house on fire and told the operator he had weapons.

When the door opened, they assumed the man there made that call. Instead, Andrew Finch who was completely innocent answered the door. It wasn’t until after an officer shot him when he lowered his arm, did they realize the whole incident was a prank called swatting.

Investigators said the real caller was 1300 miles away in California.

"These cases are difficult to investigate because they happen online and these hackers often times are very sophisticated about covering up their identity," said Areva Martin, a Civil Rights Attorney in an interview with ABC News.

Swatters can use cell phone apps to hide their numbers, technology to hide their voices and can even bounce their signals to try and hide from investigators.

Swatting got it’s name because, usually, a suspect does it to trigger a SWAT response. Typically it’s used to make bomb threats, rarely is it ever deadly.

Pranksters have targeted Wichita before. In 2015, Wichita police had a call from a person who claimed he shot his girlfriend and would shoot his parents if officers approached the home.

20 police surrounded the home but while investigating, police learned it was a prank.

Noe one was ever arrested for making the call.

The Wichita Police Department doesn’t have a policy to deal with swatting. However, 911 operators in Washington State are now being trained to ask callers specific questions repeatedly and rapidly. The idea is that a suspect couldn’t make up answers fast enough.

Finch’s family said that the response to her son’s house was nothing short of murder.

“The cops cannot go around shooting people without consequences,” she said. “They cannot do that."

The FBI estimates about 400 swatting calls are made each year.

  • NEWSNewsMore>>

  • Kids find ways to stay active during snow day

    Kids find ways to stay active during snow day

    Normally a weekday at the local YMCA isn’t as busy as it was during the Tuesday’s snow day. Instead of parents trying to squeeze in a workout, it was kids filling the gym floor.

    Normally a weekday at the local YMCA isn’t as busy as it was during the Tuesday’s snow day. Instead of parents trying to squeeze in a workout, it was kids filling the gym floor.

  • Paramedics work to help frostbite victims

    Paramedics work to help frostbite victims

    Jonathan Piper has been a paramedic in Sedgwick County for more than five years, but admits this winter is one of the toughest. 

    Jonathan Piper has been a paramedic in Sedgwick County for more than five years, but admits this winter is one of the toughest. 

  • Wichita man is hospitalized for severe frostbite

    Wichita man is hospitalized for severe frostbite

    Eddie Chronister’s hands are bandaged tightly and they're slowly healing after a severe cast of frostbite He said, "at first they were like we don't even know if you are going to be able to keep your hands because they were that bad. God is good, I get to keep my hands." Chronister, who lives on the streets, says on New Year’s Eve he had little too much to drink and fell asleep and later woke up in a hospital bed. Photos he posted to his Facebook show just h...

    Eddie Chronister’s hands are bandaged tightly and they're slowly healing after a severe cast of frostbite He said, "at first they were like we don't even know if you are going to be able to keep your hands because they were that bad. God is good, I get to keep my hands." Chronister, who lives on the streets, says on New Year’s Eve he had little too much to drink and fell asleep and later woke up in a hospital bed. Photos he posted to his Facebook show just h...

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have a photo to share with us? Email it to news@kake.com.

MORE SLIDESHOWS HERE

  • Most Popular Stories

    • Closings & Delays

      The latest list of school and weather-related closings and delays.

    • Wichita police captain on leave after incident at Augusta basketball game

      Wichita police say a captain with the department is on paid administrative leave after he allegedly pushed a teenage referee at a basketball game.

    • Even the eyelashes freeze: Russia sees minus 88.6 degrees F

      Authorities in the Russian region of Yakutia where temperatures have dropped to record lows are not reporting any disruptions of heating or crucial supplies.
    • Couple carjacked outside Wichita bar

      Officers were called at around 1 a.m. Tuesday to a carjacking at The Stop bar at 1450 South Woodlawn, near Harry.

    • Police: Man held woman at gunpoint, forced her to drive him around

      Wichita police are searching for a man who reportedly kidnapped a woman and forced her to drive to several different places Monday evening.

    • Suspect sought in Wichita armed robbery

      Wichita Police have released photos of a man who robbed a convenience store and injured an employee. 

    • Wichita man is hospitalized for severe frostbite

      Eddie Chronister’s hands are bandaged tightly and they're slowly healing after a severe cast of frostbite He said, "at first they were like we don't even know if you are going to be able to keep your hands because they were that bad. God is good, I get to keep my hands." Chronister, who lives on the streets, says on New Year’s Eve he had little too much to drink and fell asleep and later woke up in a hospital bed. Photos he posted to his Facebook show just h...

    • Wichita building fire caused more than $2 million in damage

      The fire was caused by compressed natural gas from a semi that came into contact with a heater. It caused $1.5 million in damage to the building and $750,000 to its contents.

    • California couple's ordinary home held torture chamber

      A 17-year-old girl called police after escaping from her family's home where she and her 12 brothers and sisters were locked up in filthy conditions, some so malnourished officers at first believed all were...
    • Report of teen held at knifepoint was hoax, Wichita police say

      A false call about a woman being held a knifepoint led Wichita police to a home on the city's southeast side Monday morning.