- Tyler Barriss, 26, of Los Angeles has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for calling in dozens of fake reports and bomb threats to the FBI and the Federal Trade Commission, as well as schools, universities, malls, and police departments in more than a dozen states.
- A Kansas man, Andrew Finch, was shot and killed by police on December 28, 2017, after Barriss called the Wichita emergency services and claimed that Finch had killed a family member and was holding two others hostage.
- Barriss used a tactic called “swatting,” which uses false reports to mobilize police against what they believe is a dangerous or lethal situation.
- The US Attorney’s Office in Kansas said Barriss made the swatting call after an argument during a “Call of Duty: WWII” match online.
A man convicted of making dozens of false reports to police has been sentenced to more than 20 years in federal prison. The “swatting” case of the Los Angeles native Tyler Barriss, 26, garnered national attention after police in Wichita, Kansas, shot and killed 28-year-old Andrew Finch outside of his home on December 28, 2017.
On that day, Barriss called Wichita emergency services and said that Finch had killed his father and was holding his brother and mother hostage. Barriss and Finch did not know each other; Barriss was using a tactic called “swatting” to target a different Kansas native using an old address.
Swatting uses false reports to encourage police to use force against an innocent citizen. In this case, Barriss sent police to the Finch family home to face a threat they believed to be lethal. Later, authorities would determine that the call was made after an argument over a game of “Call of Duty: WWII.”
A subsequent investigation showed that Barriss had called in fake bomb threats to the FBI headquarters and the Federal Trade Commission, as well as schools, malls, and emergency workers in more than a dozen states. Barriss pleaded guilty to 51 federal charges in total, based on the false reports and instances where he used people’s credit cards without permission.
Barriss faced additional state prosecution for his numerous false reports but charges in California and Kansas were dismissed as a part of his plea deal. Barriss will serve the full 20 year sentence and an additional five years of supervised release.The Wichita Eagle reported that he will pay a $US5,000 fine to the Kansas Crime Victims Compensation fund, which will then be given to the Finch family.
Two more “Call of Duty” players are awaiting trial for their alleged role in the incident. Casey Viner of Ohio and Shane Gaskill of Wichita were accused of being the two “Call of Duty: WWII” players who sparked the incident.
The two argued on Twitter, and when Viner threatened Gaskill with physical violence, Gaskill provided Viner with an old address claiming that he would be there waiting to accept Viner’s challenge, according to allegations in the indictment. Viner then forwarded the address to Barriss and encouraged him to make the swatting call, according to allegations in the indictment.
“I take full responsibility in what happened to him,” Barriss said during the sentencing, according to The Wichita Eagle. He added, “If I could take it back I would. … I’m just so sorry for that.”
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