The mother of a 28-year-old man killed by police sent to his home on a fake emergency call says she still hasn’t seen her son’s body.
Lisa Finch, in a letter to Wichita police and the city’s mayor, said she wants Andrew Finch’s body immediately returned to his family so they can give him “a proper funeral service and burial.”
“It goes without saying that our family is devastated by what has happened,” she wrote in the Jan. 2 letter to Mayor Jeff Longwell and Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay. The letter was sent to The Eagle by Andrew Stroth, a Chicago attorney representing the Finch family.
“What cannot go without saying is why Wichita City leadership is compounding our grief and sorrow, by keeping my son from us?” she wrote. “Please let me see my son’s lifeless body. I want to hold him and say goodbye.”
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The letter comes not quite a week after a Wichita police officer shot and killed Andrew “Andy” Finch after he opened his front door and stepped outside to see why there were patrol car lights flashing outside of his home. Police on Dec. 28 rushed to the south Wichita house —1033 W. McCormick — after a caller told a 911 emergency dispatcher that he had killed his father and was holding his mother and brother hostage at gunpoint.
Finch was an innocent victim and was not the intended target of the hoax, known as swatting. A police official has said an officer fired after seeing Finch raise then drop his hands near his waistband. Finch was unarmed.
A California man, 25-year-old Tyler Barriss, is suspected of making the fake emergency call. He appeared in a California courtroom Wednesday.
Swatting is a term used to describe a fake report of violence or threats made in an attempt to draw an immediate, large law enforcement presence to an address. It’s gained traction in the online gaming community in recent years.
Lisa Finch, in the letter to the city, calls her son’s killing by police unjustified. The police chief, she wrote, came to her home three days after Andrew Finch’s death to talk but said she left the meeting with questions.
“My heart was not eased by the unannounced visit, neither was it eased by the empty hand extended and the questions left unanswered,” she said in the letter. She wrote that she wants more information about what happened, including:
- The names of the officer who shot and killed her son
- The names of the other officers who responded to her home that night
- Why officers handcuffed and interrogated her family and seized electronics from the house
- What protocol and training Wichita police have in place for responding to swatting call
In an interview with The Eagle on Tuesday evening, Ramsay said the police department had no policies or specific training in place to deal with swatting.