The aftermath of a “swatting” incident that saw 28-year-old Andrew Finch of Wichita, Kansas, fatally shot by police has resulted in a new program to hopefully prevent a similar tragedy from happening in the area. Wichita police have now opened up a voluntary program that will allow residents to register their address as a possible swatting target.
The program will place an alert on a registered house that will be visible to first responders and officers responding to an emergency call. This alert will not slow response time for emergencies according to a statement from Wichita police officer Paul Cruz, but it will “create awareness for officers responding to potential swatting incidents.”
The registration program is similar to one started by Seattle police last year, which incidentally was created in response to the Wichita tragedy. The registry has reportedly saved lives according to Seattle’s 911 Operations Manager Russel St. Myers.
Readers will recall that Finch’s murder was perpetrated by Tyler Barriss of California, who called in a fake threat using the address of someone he believed to be a Call of Duty player. Barriss was charged with involuntary manslaughter along with 46 additional criminal charges, all of which saw him receive a 20 year prison sentence. Another two teens who were involved with the incident — Casey Viner, who asked Barriss to make the swatting call, and Shane Gaskill, the intended target who provided Finch’s address — have thus far plead not guilty, though Viner may change that plea and Gaskill’s trial was delayed due to plea talks with federal authorities. The SWAT officer who fired the killing shot was not charged, though Finch’s family is still pursuing a civil claim against the city.