The Wichita police officer who shot and killed Andrew Finch said Tuesday he did not see a gun in Finch’s hand when he opened fire.
Officer Justin Rapp detailed the moment he and his partner received the 911 call on Dec. 28 to the time he pulled the trigger during the preliminary hearing of Tyler Barriss. Tyler Barriss is accused of making the fake 911 call that led officers to the home of Andrew Finch.
“It was reported as a shooting with additional people inside the residence being held at gunpoint,” explained Rapp. “I believed that the male caller had shot his father in the head as he had reported and that he had additional people inside the residence at gunpoint.”
Rapp said once he arrived on the scene of 1033 W McCormick, a sergeant told him to take position across the street and on the north side of the residence. He said he was told to provide cover for his officers because he was armed with a patrol rifle.
Next, Rapp said he saw a man exit the front door of the home. That man would later be identified as Andrew Finch.
“Officers begin to shout commands to that male,” Rapp said.
However, Rapp said Finch was not compliant with the officers’ commands.
“He very briefly put his hands up to approximately ear level and just as quickly as putting his hands up he put them back down to his waistband level,” he said. “He made a gun drawing motion with his right hand in the area of his right hip.”
Rapp said Finch then turned his body, squaring himself to the officers to the east.
“Starts to bring his right hand up which is the same hand I watched the gun drawing motion with. My concern was that he was going to open fire on officers to the east of the residence,” Rapp said.
That’s when Rapp said he pulled the trigger.
“I fired one shot and struck that individual,” he said.
During cross examination, the defense asked Rapp if the action he took that night was a preplanned scenario he learned during firearms training.
“It was in response to the information from the 911 call and the actions of the man on the porch,” Rapp replied.
The defense also asked Rapp if he saw Finch carrying a weapon or if he could see anything in Finch’s hand before he took the shot. Rapp replied no to both questions.
No one from the Finch family was in court on Tuesday.
KSN reached out to the family about Rapp’s testimony. The family’s civil rights attorney said they are reviewing the transcript of the hearing and will make a statement once they have a meaningful response.