WATCH: Officer Who Fired Fatal ‘Swatting’ Shot Says He Didn’t See Anything in Mans Hand

The Wichita police officer who killed Andrew Finch on Dec. 28 didn’t see a gun in Finch’s hand, he said on Tuesday.

Justin Rapp testified about what happened when he and his partner received information from dispatch that there was a man who had shot his father in the head and was holding his mother and sibling hostage inside a home at 1033 W. McCormick around 6 p.m. that night.

The hearing wasn’t for Rapp — whose name hadn’t been publicly released by authorities until his court appearance. The hearing was for Tyler Barriss, the 25-year-old Los Angeles man who allegedly made the false — or “swatting” — call that resulted in Wichita police going to Finch’s in the first place.

After the two-hour preliminary hearing, which included a Los Angeles police detective saying Barriss confessed, Judge Bruce Brown said there was enough evidence for the case to proceed to trial.

Finch, a 28-year-old father of two, opened the front door as police surrounded the house. Body camera footage worn by some officers shows several of them yelling commands at Finch to raise his hands.

Rapp said when he got to the scene, he grabbed his rifle and was directed by a sergeant to stand across from Finch’s house to cover other nearby officers.

District Attorney Marc Bennett asked Rapp what he thought had happened inside the house.

“I believed the male caller had shot his father in the head and he had additional people in the house at gunpoint,” Rapp said.

He never thought the 911 call could have been fake, he said.

“I have to believe the information I’m given until I can prove otherwise,” he said.

Several other officers were already positioned around the house when Rapp and his partner got there. Rapp said several times that no other information about the call was relayed to him beyond the initial dispatch.

Information that the caller said Finch’s two-story house was a one-story house apparently never made it back to officers on scene and Wichita police didn’t learn until after the shooting that the call was false.

When Finch opened his door, a hostage negotiator wasn’t on scene. Neither was WPD’s SWAT team, Rapp said.

Rapp said Finch — who he believed was the shooter — wasn’t complying with officers’ commands to put his hands up.

“He very briefly put his hands up to approximately ear level and just as quickly put them back down to his waistband level,” Rapp said. “He made a gun drawing motion with his right hand in the area of his right hip.”

To further explain, Rapp said it appeared as if Finch was drawing a gun from his waistband, or a holster.

He turned his body, and “squares up” to the officers on the east side of the house, Rapp said of Finch.

“My concern was that he was going to open fire on officers to the east side of the residence,” he said. “I fired one shot and struck that individual.”

Asked by defense attorney Bradley Sylvester why Rapp believed Finch was the shooter, Rapp said “based on his actions.”

“What actions?” Sylvester asked.

“Not complying and he makes motions consistent with drawing a firearm from the waistband,” Rapp said.

Later, Sylvester asked if Rapp saw anything in Finch’s hand.

“No,” he answered.

According to a report released in April by Bennett — Rapp initially told investigators after the shooting that he believed he saw a gun.

“At the same time that his hand starts to come up and that when I’m like okay he’s, he’s ‘gonna fire at officers. I believe that I see a, a gun in his hand and as the, that’s being raised at the officers and at that point that’s when I decide to protect those officers and their lives and safety, I fire one round at this individual,” he said in December.

Charges against Rapp won’t be filed, Bennett announced in April.

The caller
Tyler Barriss doesn’t have a cellphone that’s connected to service.

At least he didn’t on Dec. 28 when two gamers — including one in Wichita — apparently asked him to “swat” another gamer. None of them involved were Andrew Finch.

“Swatting” is the term used when 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 an address.

So when Barriss allegedly agreed to make the call, he went to a library in South Los Angeles and connected to their WiFi, making his smartphone usable.

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