‘Swatting’ victim’s mother to police: ‘Please let me see my son’s lifeless body’

Lisa Finch, surrounded by family members reacts to the killing of her son Andrew Finch after he was shot Thursday evening, Dec. 28, 2017, by police, in Wichita, Kan. Authorities are investigating whether the deadly police shooting stemmed from someone making up a false report to get a SWAT team to descend upon a home in a prank common in the online gaming industry known as "swatting." (Bo Rader /The Wichita Eagle via AP)

WICHITA, Kan. — Nearly a week after police shot and killed a Kansas man while responding to a prank call, the victim’s mother pleaded with authorities to allow her to see her deceased son.

Lisa Finch wrote in a letter to the Wichita, Kansas, mayor and police chief that she doesn’t know where they’re keeping his body and that she wants to give her son “a proper funeral service and burial.”

She questioned “why Wichita City leadership is compounding our grief and sorrow, by keeping my son from us?”

“Please let me see my son’s lifeless body,” she wrote in a letter dated Tuesday. “I want to hold him and say goodbye. Please immediately return his body to us.”

Her son, Andrew Finch was killed by police last week in his home in a case of swatting. Swatting refers to when a person makes a false report to draw a major police response or SWAT teams to a certain location.

On Thursday, a hoax call was placed to the 911 center in Wichita, with a man saying he’d shot his father and was holding his mother, sister and brother hostage inside a house, authorities said.

Police went to the address they were given, and that’s where Andrew Finch, 28, was shot to death.

Police said that the responding officer shot him because he moved his hands toward his waist. Finch was not armed.

A California man, Tyler Barriss, 25, was arrested Friday in connection with the incident after Wichita police issued a fugitive warrant.

Police believe he may have placed the fake call. Barriss is expected to have a court hearing in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Barriss’ digital footprint suggests he was familiar with swatting, as a cached copy of his now-suspended Twitter account had multiple references to it.

In 2015, he was arrested for calling in fake bomb threats to KABC, according to police. He received a two-year sentence.

A dispute over a video game, that didn’t involve Barriss and Finch, might have led to last week’s swatting call.

Lisa Finch said her son didn’t even play video games, and the house where he lived didn’t match the alleged description in the hoax call to police.

Lisa Finch said the Wichita Police Department hasn’t been forthcoming with the family about her son’s death.

She listed eight questions for Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell and Police Chief Gordon Ramsay.

They included why the officer who killed her son hadn’t been identified, why officers placed the family in handcuffs and interrogated them after police shot her son, and the whereabouts of her son’s body.

“When will our family be allowed to see Andy?” she wrote.

She also asked when the police would return their belongings, which include two cell phones and a computer, seized from the house and whether the local district attorney’s office was looking into criminal charges against the officer who shot her son.

The Wichita Police Department has said it will not be releasing any comments other than what is released in news conferences or through its social outlets.

Finch had said earlier this week that the police reached out to her for the first time on Sunday when Ramsay visited her and offered condolences.

“He said this should not have happened,” Finch had said.

The officer who opened fire “should be held liable and held accountable for the unjustified shooting of Andrew Finch,” the family’s attorney Andrew M. Stroth said Tuesday.

“The city of Wichita and the Police Department are liable because of their policies and practices as it relates to this shooting. Swatting is not new, just like prank calling is not new,” Stroth said.