Officer who fatally shot Andrew Finch after ‘swatting’ call will not be charged

Local

District Attorney Marc Bennett held a news briefing Thursday at the Sedgwick County Courthouse. 

During the briefing, he announced the officer who fatally shot Andrew Finch in December will not be charged with any crimes.

The DA says he went through 1,300 pages of reports, and conducted about 20 interviews in which he was able to hear the accounts from the officers on the scene during the incident. 

New body camera video was also released by the DA Thursday. The clips show officers who were standing next to the officer who fired the shot, as well as officers who were in front of the house at the time. 

DA Bennett says there was conflicting information in the documents from officers, some saying they didn’t see Finch reach for a gun, some saying they lost sight of him altogether, and some saying they did think he was reaching for a gun.

Bennett says the officer that fired the shot that killed Finch says he did so because he thought Finch was the suspect they believed had killed one of his family members and held two others hostage. That officer also said he thought Finch was reaching for the gun he had used in that incident. 

Bennett went on to say they could not find enough evidence to bring charges forward on that officer who shot and killed Finch. 

“A couple of Mr. Finch’s movements after opening the door,” said DA Marc Bennett. “There is insufficient evidence to establish the officer acted in an unreasonable manner, in defense of the officers directly east of the house. There is insufficient evidence to overcome self defense immunity under Kansas law.”

A news release sent after the briefing from the Wichita Police Department read in part, “This incident has weighed on the hearts of the WPD and community. Chief Gordon Ramsay and the WPD continue to extend sympathy to the Finch family and the officers involved.”

The name of the officer who fatally shot Finch has not yet been released. 

The attorney for the family of Andrew Finch released the following statement to KSN News: 

“The family is devastated and disappointed by the District Attorney’s decision.  Andy Finch was unjustifiably and unconstitutionally executed in the sanctity of his own home.” 

RELATED LINK | Family of officer-involved shooting victim has many unanswered questions

Finch was shot last December after officers responded to a call claiming a man had shot his own father and was holding two hostages in a home in the 1000 block of W. McCormick. 

When police arrived, a 28-year-old man came to the front door of the home. Authorities said a WPD officer shot Finch after he lowered his hands to his waist. 

Finch was later taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. 

Police officers on the scene did not find anyone harmed inside the home. After further investigation, officers found the initial call to be a swatting call.

A swatting call is a hoax call when a caller reports a fake incident in order to get a heavy police or SWAT response. 

Tyler Barriss, a 25-year-old California man, was arrested in connection with the swatting incident that led officers to the home of Finch that night. 

Barriss is facing charges of involuntary manslaughter after investigators say he placed the swatting call that led to Finch’s death. 

The family of Andrew Finch has since filed a lawsuit against the City of Wichita and the Wichita Police Department

DOCUMENT | Finch Lawsuit

The swatting incident that killed Andrew Finch led Kansas lawmakers to debate a bill that is now known as the Andrew Finch Act. 

Under the bill, anyone who makes a false alarm, or swatting call that results in death or extreme injury would face a level one felony, which carries a prison sentence between 10 and 41 years, depending on criminal history.

Governor Colyer signed the Andrew Finch Act into law today. It will take effect on July 1. 

“We need to send a clear message that this behavior is unacceptable in our society,” said Governor Jeff Colyer, “It isn’t a prank, it isn’t a joke, it is a deadly serious crime and this law makes it clear that we will treat it as such.  What happened to Mr. Finch was unspeakably tragic, and we hope that this law will prevent any other innocent people from losing their lives as a result of this horrific behavior,” said Gov. Colyer in a statement Thursday. 

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