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Gamer's 'swatting hoax' leads to fatal police shooting; man arrested

By Allen Cone

Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Los Angeles police arrested a 25-year-old man after a hoax call -- known as "swatting" -- led police to kill a man in Wichita, Kan.

Tyler Barriss, of South Los Angeles, was arrested Friday afternoon. He called police in a hoax after getting into a dispute with another person in connection with the Call of Duty online game, Dexerto, an online news service focused on gaming, reported.

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The hoax, known as swatting, is when someone makes a call to a police department with a false story of an crime in an attempt to draw a large number of police officers to a particular address.

The Wichita Eagle reported a prank call was made to 911 at 6:15 p.m. about a shooting and kidnapping, Deputy Police Chief Troy Livingston said.

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In a 911 recording, a man said his father was shot in the head. He said he, his mother and a sibling were being held at gunpoint and that the man threatened to set the house on fire.

Police arrived at the home of Andrew Finch, 28. As instructed, he put up his hands and moved slowly, but police fired a single shot in fear Finch may have reached for a gun. Finch was unarmed and died at the hospital.

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"Due to the actions of a prankster we have an innocent victim," Livingston told reporters.

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"We believe this incident is a case of 'swatting.' "

Lisa Finch told reporters her son was not a gamer.

"What gives the cops the right to open fire?" she asked. "That cop murdered my son over a false report in the first place."

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Dexerto reported the "swatting" stemmed from an online argument Thursday over a $1 or $2 wager in a Call of Duty game on UMG Gaming, which operates online tournaments. They allegedly threatened one another with "swatting."

Game pro player Chris "Parasite" Duarte posted on Twitter what happened: "Unbelievable, two kids in the community got in a verbal dispute and thought it would be funny to swat each other which resulted in an innocent man being killed by police officers responding to the swat calling. Disgusted."

About 400 cases of swatting occur annually, with some using caller ID spoofing to disguise their number, according to the FBI.

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