'Swatting hoax' suspect charged with involuntary manslaughter

By Allen Cone  |  Jan. 13, 2018 at 10:20 AM
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Jan. 13 (UPI) -- A 25-year-old Los Angeles man accused of making a hoax call -- known as "swatting" -- that led police to kill a man in Wichita, Kan., has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

On Friday, Tyler Barriss made his first court appearance and Sedgwick County District Court judge Faith Maughan set his bond at $500,000. He also was charged with giving false information in notifying emergency services and falsely reporting a felony.

He was arrested in South Los Angeles on Dec. 29, one day after Wichita police received a 911 call from a man saying his father had been shot in the head and that he was holding his mother and sibling at gunpoint. The caller also claimed gasoline was poured on the home and he "might just set it on fire."

When police went to the address, Andrew Finch opened his door and was shot dead by an officer in a driveway across the street.

Barriss was extradited to Kansas and held in the Sedgwick County Jail on Thursday afternoon. He wrote in a financial affidavit that he hasn't worked for six months.

Barriss reportedly called after a feud between between people playing Call of Duty on Dec. 28. Finch and Barriss had nothing to do with the game, police have said, but gamers involved asked Barriss to make the 911 call.

Swatting is when someone calls police with a fake story of a serious ongoing crime in an effort to draw a large police presence to an address.

District Attorney Marc Bennett said it hasn't been determined if the officer who killed Finch will face charges.

One week before the killing in Kansas, Barriss was charged with mischief and fraud by police in Calgary, Canada, for a similar prank.

In an interview with KWCH,TV, Barriss said "I never intended for anyone to get shot and killed."

He added: "There is no inspiration. I don't get bored and just sit around and decide I'm going to make a SWAT call."

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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