A 25-year-old self-described 'swatter' has been charged with making a bomb threat that forced the FCC to evacuate during a net-neutrality vote

  • Tyler Raj Barriss, 25, has been indicted on charges of making hoax bomb threats to the Federal Communications Commission during the net-neutrality hearings and to the FBI headquarters in Washington, DC.
  • He was already charged with involuntary manslaughter and awaiting trial over a “swatting” incident in which a call to the police provoked a SWAT team response that led to a man’s death.

A man who was already awaiting trial over a “swatting” incident in which someone was killed has now been indicted on charges of making bomb threats to the FBI headquarters and to the Federal Communications Commission during the net-neutrality vote.

A federal grand jury charged Tyler Raj Barriss, 25, of Los Angeles, whose online alias is “SWAuTistic,” with two counts of making hoax bomb threats.

One of the threats targeted the FCC during the net-neutrality hearing on December 14, the Department of Justice said. The call resulted in the evacuation of the building and briefly delayed the vote.

Barriss is also accused of calling the FBI headquarters in Washington, DC, a few days later, on December 22, and claiming there were bombs planted in the building. Both calls were determined to be hoaxes, and both charges carry a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Barriss was already detained on suspicion of making false emergency calls to the police in a method known as “swatting,” in which the police are given fake but concerning information about a specific target designed to provoke response from a SWAT team.

He is awaiting trial over an incident, also in December, in which the Department of Justice claims he “swatted” someone after an argument in an online game. When the police arrived at an address provided by a caller, they killed the man who answered the door, Andrew Finch, 28, from Wichita, Kansas. Barriss has been charged with involuntary manslaughter over Finch’s death.

Barriss has been charged with hoax bomb threats before, when he was accused of threatening a Glendale, California, news station. He claims to have “swatted” more than 100 schools and about 10 homes or residences.

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