Wichita Police Officer who fired deadly shot in 'swatting' call testifies in court

Published: May. 21, 2018 at 3:38 PM CDT
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Tuesday, May 22

The man accused of making the "swatting" call which ended in another man's death is bound over for trial.

Tyler Barriss is charged with involuntary manslaughter, giving false alarm, and interference with law enforcement, falsely reporting a felony.

A Sedgwick County Judge determined there was enough probable cause to send the case which led to the death of 28-year-old Andrew Finch to trial. He scheduled to be arraigned on June 29.

The Wichita Police Officer who fired a single, fatal gunshot that killed Finch testified in court Tuesday morning.

Officer Justin Rapp said he believed he was facing a homicide situation with hostages still inside when he responded to Finch's home on Dec. 28, 2017.

He said he was positioned on the north side of the house, across the street. He said he was placed there specifically because of the rifle he had.

Rapp said SWAT had not arrived on the scene when he saw a man open the door and heard officers shouting commands. He said the man was not compliant with the commands - putting his hands up briefly, then putting them back down to his waist.

Rapp said the man made a “gun drawing motion” as if he was removing a gun from a waistband. He said he believed the man had just shot his father and was holding other hostages at gunpoint. He said he was worried the man was going to open fire.

Rapp said he believed, at the time, the man was the caller. He said he fired one shot and struck the man - who police later learned was Andrew Finch.

Rapp said, at the time, he had no reason to believe he was responding to a swatting call.

He said he can’t answer whether he would have pulled the trigger if he knew it was a swatting call.

During the investigation, Wichita police quickly learned there was no hostage situation and Finch had not placed the phone call.

They determined the phone call was fake and had been placed following a dispute over a video game - and a result of a dangerous trend called 'swatting'.

Monday, May 21

The preliminary hearing starts Tuesday for the man

Tyler Barriss 25, is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the Dec. 28 death of Andrew Finch, 28, who was shot by police after officers went to a Wichita home in response to what turned out to be a fake report about a shooting and kidnapping.

Tuesday's preliminary hearing will determine whether there is enough evidence for the case against Barriss to move forward.

Barriss is charged with involuntary manslaughter, giving false alarm, and interference with law enforcement, falsely reporting a felony.

On the call to the McCormick address, the calling party -- identified as Barriss by investigators -- advised he had shot his father in the head and was holding other family members hostage. He also threatened to burn the house down after pouring gasoline.

In response to the call, officers cleared the residence of several people, none of whom reported being held hostage, the affidavit released in January says.

The investigation into Finch's death determined the "swatting" call was instigated by a dispute over an online video game. Finch was not involved in the game, police say. The investigation determined the intended target for the "swatting" call provided a false address that turned out to be where Finch lived.

Last month, the Sedgwick County District Attorney determined that the Wichita police officer who fired the shot that killed Finch on the "swatting" call