Sources close to the Wichita Police Department claim to know the name of the officer who shot Andrew Finch
On December 28, 2017, WPD responded to a call of a hostage situation
Tyler Barriss has been charged with making the call that turned out to be a Swatting prank
Sources close to the WPD claim the shooter is former military and has been on COPS twice
In Wichita, Kansas there is growing concern over police accountability in regards to police shootings. The brotherhood behind the “Blue Line” appears to have created a nearly impenetrable barrier of secrecy protecting officers involved in shootings.
On December 28, 2017, the Wichita Police Department received a call claiming there was a hostage situation in progress. The caller claimed he had already shot his father, was holding his family hostage, and had covered the house with gasoline.
Patrol officers set up a parameter before the WPD’s hostage team was able to arrive on the scene. Inside the residence located at 1033 W McCormick, 28-year-old Andrew Finch was spending a normal night with his family when he heard a commotion outside.
Finch opened his front door to a heavy police presence across the street from his family’s house. To his surprise, they are there for his house. From footage released by the WPD, an officer yelled commands at Finch for 7 seconds. As a confused Finch tried to comprehend the situation in front of him, an officer fired his AR-15 from an estimated 44 yards away, fatally injuring Finch.
It was quickly discovered there was no hostage situation. The call had been a “Swatting” prank that began over an online Call of Duty game with a $1.50 bet between two people that did not even know who Finch was.
Despite being on the phone with the caller for 16 minutes after the shooting, an ambulance was held back, WPD amended a search warrant to unlawfully take personal property from the family, the family were held as suspects for hours, and not even his mother was allowed to go to the hospital with him.
Finch’s address was given to 25-year-old Tyler Barriss in California, who then made the call to WPD dispatch. During an interview with TDH before his arrest, Barriss admitted to Swatting people in the past for both fun and money. He went on to claim responsibility for the bomb threat made during the FCC Net Neutrality vote.
After he was in custody, it was learned Barriss had a criminal history of these actions and was wanted in several other areas, including Canada, for similar incidents over the years.
As more information was revealed, Barriss quickly became the perfect the scapegoat to protect the officer. Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett has made Barriss his primary focus by charging him with involuntary manslaughter with no mention of the officer who pulled the trigger. Meanwhile, the officer responsible for the shooting has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the results of an investigation.
Kansas is known for secrecy around their local government, and that goes the same for their police departments. When it comes to an officer-involved shooting, the state will go to great lengths to protect the officer’s identity. In Wichita in specific, out of the 27 prior police shootings, 13 of which that have occurred since 2012, not one has been deemed unjustified.
In 2015, following the officer-involved shooting of John Paul Quintero, the WPD released a “heavily redacted” police report of the shooting. The documents below are the only details the WPD ever released detailing the events that led to Quintero being shot by a female officer with an assault rifle twice.
Despite pleas from the community and family for the officer responsible for killing Finch to be held accountable, receiving any information on the officer from the WPD following the Finch shooting has proven to be borderline impossible. Up to this point, the only thing we knew about the officer that shot Finch is that he is a 7 1/2 year veteran of the police force.
In the weeks following the shooting, TDH has received the alleged name of the officer who killed Finch from multiple sources, one of which holds a close relationship to the WPD. For obvious reasons, the decision has been made to protect the identities of the sources involved.
According to these sources, the alleged officer who shot and killed Finch is 33-year-old Patrol South SCAT Officer Justin L Rapp. According to a bio on the COPS website, Rapp joined the force in March 2010, Approximately 7 1/2 years before the shooting of Finch.
Before Rapp was an officer for the WPD, he was in the military, which would account for his ability to use one of the department’s 36 AR-15’s. In a video uploaded to dvids, Rapp can be seen wishing his former fiance a Happy Valentine’s Day from Kuwait in 2009 when he was a Specialist for the 129th Transportation Company.
In 2015, Rapp and his partner Officer Robert Thatcher represented the WPD in two different episodes of the TV show COPS. In his bio on the COPS website, it reads that Rapp joined the force after leaving the Army and had an interest in law enforcement as a child.
I had an interest in law enforcement growing up, and then it seemed like a natural progression for my life after I got out of the US Army.
The City of Wichita and the WPD have been anything but helpful in regards to confirming the identity of the officer who shot Finch. A Kansas Open Records request for a list of officers currently on paid leave was denied under the claim it violated “personal privacy,” despite the fact that these officers are being paid with tax dollars while on administrative leave.
Days after the Finch shooting, another WPD officer shot at a miniature dog inside a house with four children and struck a 9-year-old girl in the face with shrapnel. That officer, along with the officer that shot Finch were both placed on paid administrative leave. TDH was not able to confirm exactly how many officers the WPD currently have on paid administrative leave.
A second Kansas Open Records request was placed requesting the current status of Officer Rapp in specific. Meaning, we requested to know if Rapp is currently active duty or on paid administrative leave. This request was also denied under the same premise that it violated personal privacy.
TDH also reached out to Chief Gordon Ramsay in regards to Officer Rapp’s current status. Ramsay has not replied to the request at this time, but it should be noted he did not deny Rapp as the officer who shot Finch.
The secrecy around officer-involved shootings in Wichita appears to be geared specifically towards protecting officers after these incidents. This is very problematic, as now the entire WPD is facing national backlash over the Finch shooting instead of the officer responsible for pulling the trigger. Advocates for the family say their trust in the WPD is now at an all-time low after yet another failed demonstration of transparency following a police shooting.
Along with the Finch shooting and the shooting involving the 9-year-old girl, in the last month, the WPD has also had officers two officers indicted by the FBI for their role in an illegal gambling investigation. Two other officers made headlines after Officer Joshua Price was stalking his girlfriend last October. It was found that Price was using department resources to stalk his ex-girlfriend. An even more disturbing discovery shows Price asked and received help in the stalking from at least one fellow officer. WPD Captain Kevin Mears was placed on leave and charged with battery after pushing a 17-year-old girl at his son’s basketball game.
Video of Officer Justin Rapp at the firing range with his brother via Bryan Rapp’s YouTube channel. (Editor’s Note: Since the release of this video the above video has been pulled from the YouTube channel.)