The family of a Kansas man, who was shot and killed by a police sniper after a “prank” 911 call led authorities to his home, is suing the city of Wichita and the officers who responded to the residence.
Andrew Finch, 28, would be alive today were it not for the actions of 10 unnamed, “heavily armed” Wichita police officers who surrounded his home on the evening of Dec. 28, 2017, according to a federal suit filed Monday by Finch’s mother and sister.
“Andrew Finch was inside his home… enjoying a peaceful evening with his mother, niece and two friends,” the lawsuit said. “Shortly after opening the front door to see what was happening outside, he lost his life to a single bullet fired from a police sniper’s rifle 50 yards away.”
Finch was killed after a man in California allegedly called police, claiming he was in the middle of perpetrating a horrific crime, but that was far from the truth.
Tyler Barriss, 25, allegedly told police Finch shot his father and was threatening to kill his mother and himself, as well as burn his home down, officials said.
Barriss allegedly made the call after getting into an argument with a man he believed to be Finch during a “Call of Duty” video game tournament.
The suit claims Wichita police used excessive force in responding to the 911 call and the officers were inadequately trained to recognize the call to be a prank, commonly known as “swatting.”
“After the defendant officers surrounded 1033 West McCormick, they made no attempt to determine whether an occupant of the house… was in a mental health crisis; had shot someone; had threatened to hold or was holding someone at gunpoint; had threatened or was threatening to burn the house down; had threatened or was threatening to commit suicide; was in possession of a firearm; or posed a danger to themselves or to others,” the suit said.
After Finch was shot, police allegedly ordered his family to exit the house, forcing them to step over his body.
His loved ones were then allegedly handcuffed and forced to wait outside in 24-degree weather for more than an hour, the suit said.
According to the suit, they were then questioned for an hour and released “without explanation.”
Police are also accused of seizing the home’s front door, two cell phones, a computer, router, Xbox and other items from the home.
The claim seeks unspecified damages related to Finch’s death.
Barriss was charged with involuntary manslaughter, interference with law enforcement and reporting a false alarm, which is a felony. He was extradited from California earlier this month. He is not named in the lawsuit.
In the prank call made to police, Barriss allegedly gave a different description of the house that police surrounded.
The officer who fired the shot that killed Finch is a seven-year veteran. He was placed on paid leave following the incident.
An investigation into the incident is still under review and “an appropriate response” to the lawsuit would be made once the city was served, the city of Wichita’s attorney Jennifer Magana said in a statement to ABC News.
“The Dec. 28 WPD swatting incident has been investigated by the Wichita Police Department in conjunction with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation,” the statement to ABC News said. “That investigation is currently under review by the Sedgwick County District Attorney. The Department will also conduct a thorough internal review of the incident. City of Wichita and WPD officials have great sympathy for those impacted by the reckless behavior exemplified by “swatting” which created the circumstances which resulted in this death.”