Family: Man killed in swatting call was ‘trying really hard,’ overcoming tough life

Andrew “Andy” Finch brought potato salad to every family gathering.

He loved to cook, especially for his family, said his brother Jerome Finch. Maybe he would have taught his children to cook when they grew older.

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Finch, 28, died a few months shy of his daughter’s second birthday when he became the unintended victim of a swatting call to Wichita police on Thursday. Swatting is a hoax where someone makes a call to a police department with a false story of an ongoing crime — often involving killing or hostages — in an attempt to draw a large number of police officers to a particular address.

In this case, the caller told Wichita 911 that he had shot his father in the head and was holding his mother and a sibling hostage at Finch’s address. On Friday, Los Angeles police arrested 25-year-old Tyler Barriss on suspicion of making the false call.

Finch was shot by police after opening the front door to see why there were red and blue lights outside.

His family remembered him Saturday as someone who was overcoming a tough life, trying to do what was best for his children.

He never really had a chance in life, Jerome Finch said. He spent part of his childhood in foster care, moving from home to home. He spent time in juvenile detention and part of his adult life in prison, sentenced for criminal discharge of a firearm, damage to property, attempting to elude law enforcement and possessing a gun as a felon.

In recent years, Finch had been trying to turn his life around, Jerome said.

“Then for this to happen, you know, when he’s bouncing back from all the things that have happened to him, the things he had to go through, the trials, the struggles he had to overcome, and then for this to happen,” Jerome’s voice trailed off.

“Andy was very loyal and very kind and would do for people whatever needed to be done. Family meant a lot to him. He was trying to do the right thing,” said his mom, Lisa Finch. “He was trying really hard.”

Finch worked a part-time job at Sonic Drive-In. Making his child support payments was important to him, his mother said.

“He was doing what he needed to do to take care of what he needed to take care of,” she said.

His 7-year-old son brought out the best in Finch, Jerome said, including a gentle, protective side of him.

As for his nearly 2-year-old girl, Jerome joked that Finch wasn’t entirely sure how to parent a daughter.

His family still has questions. Lisa said she’d heard about the man being arrested in Los Angeles, but wants to know what happens next. She wonders why the police released body camera footage from someone other than the officer who fired the shot. She wants to know why police took her screen door for evidence, why no ambulance was there for her son. Police have said that emergency medical crews were nearby.

The family has created a GoFundMe account for his funeral expenses and say they’ve received an outpouring of support. The account can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/funeral-expenses-for-andy-finch.

The family is also remembering Finch’s life: How he liked playing chess, how he told the truth even if it meant being blunt, how he loved his children.

He wasn’t an easy person to get to know, said Finch’s cousin Jessica O’Keefe, but once you knew him, you knew you could trust him.

“Anytime anyone needed him, he was right there,” O’Keefe said. “He doesn’t let everybody in, but once you do get in, he’s there for you.”

Katherine Burgess: 316-268-6400, @KathsBurgess

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