Andrew “Andy” Finch shouldn’t have died, people said as they gathered in the cold outside his house Saturday.
The group of 30 to 40 people lit candles, talking quietly about Finch’s death. The 28-year-old became the unintended victim of a swatting call to Wichita police on Thursday.
Swatting is 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 police officers to a particular address.
Jerome Finch, Andy Finch’s brother, said the sight of people lighting candles in support of his family spoke for itself.
“It says a lot,” he said.
Eden Fuson, who organized the vigil, said she’d seen that someone had left candles on the family’s porch, which made her think of the pain her own mother went through when Fuson’s brother died six years ago.
“I just couldn’t imagine another mother, another family in pain over a tragic, unnecessary death,” Fuson said. “It’s not natural for parents to bury their children.”
Some in the crowd linked Finch’s death to police shootings as a whole, saying they happen too often.
The Wichita Police Department received a false 911 call Thursday that there was a hostage situation in the house at 1033 W. McCormick — and that someone had been shot in the head.
Police said they went to the house prepared for a hostage situation. Finch opened the front door.
Deputy Wichita Police Chief Troy Livingston said officers gave Finch commands to put his hands up and walk toward them. He complied for a "very short time" and put his hands back down, Livingston said. He raised them again, and then lowered them for a second time. Livingston said Finch then turned toward officers, lowered his hands to his waistband and then pulled them back up toward the officers in the east.
“Fearing for those officers’ safety, the officer on the north side fired one round,” Livingston said.
Chase Anderson said he watched a clip the police released of the shooting and didn’t think the police gave Finch enough time to respond.
Even though he didn’t know the family, that made him want to attend the vigil, Anderson said.
“I just wanted to let them know that Wichita does show support for them and show that they think that it’s wrong too, that they agree with the family,” Anderson said.