Victims of 'Swatting' Detail the Horror of the Dangerous and Sometimes Deadly Prank
A so-called swatting prank has ended in the death of an innocent Kansas man and father of two who was gunned down by a police officer in Wichita, Kan., on Thursday.
Officers responded to an anonymous call describing a "hostage situation" at the home of Andrew Finch, according to the Wichita Police Department. The caller told the dispatcher that he was holding his mother and brother hostage at gunpoint and had already shot his dad in the head.
However, no situation like that was actually happening at the house, and Finch and the Wichita Police Department became victims of "swatting," when someone calls 911 to report a hostage situation, sending a SWAT team racing to the scene.
But the scene turned tragic as Finch was fatally shot after police surrounded his home. It was later discovered that he did not make the 911 call.
The alleged swatter, 25-year-old Tyler Barriss, could possibly face a homicide charge. Barriss was arrested Friday in Los Angeles, about 1,300 miles away from Wichita. He has a history of making phony calls to cops, according to reports.
Another victim of the disturbing epidemic was conservative blogger Mike Stack, who was targeted by swatters back in 2011.
A SWAT team surrounded stack's New Jersey home minutes after receiving a chilling 911 call where a man posing as Stack said he shot and killed his wife.
“I believe I probably could have lost my life,” Stack told Inside Edition as he described how cops descended on his home and dragged him out.
Jordan Mathewson became another victim when police busted into his Colorado home in 2014. He was playing a computer game when a SWAT team burst in after a 911 call about a massacre that turned out to be bogus.
Even celebrities like Miley Cyrus have fallen victim to swatting.
An LAPD SWAT team once surrounded her mansion after a report that she was being held hostage.
Some swatters can even make money off their crimes.
Ashton Lundeby actually set up a swatting channel. He claims he made $4,000 by charging viewers to watch him call in hoaxes like one targeting Purdue University and Florida State University.
Lundeby ended up serving two years in a federal juvenile detention center. He says his swatting days are over.