On December 28, Andrew Finch was shot and killed in Wichita, Kansas due to a hoax that went too far. Swatting is the act of calling in hostage situations and other threats on people and is–as much as I hate to say it–popular with some of the seedier sides of the gaming community. In this case, Tyler Barriss called in a false murder and hostage situation to a random address in Wichita over a Call of Duty match that he wasn’t even a part of. He was contacted by one player, who had gotten an incorrect address from the other player.
Barriss called in the hoax to Wichita police which resulted in an innocent and unarmed man being killed by police officers when they arrived and he answered the door. Barriss was arrested the following day. Now he may face felony charges for the wrongful death. The warrant filed in Kansas says that Barriss is charged with raising a false alarm, which is a felony that carries a penalty of up to 34 months in prison, though the state may decide to file additional charges after reviewing the case.
The most serious charge he could be brought up on would be second degree murder, which carries a 20 year sentence. If they settle for involuntary manslaughter, that could result in a maximum prison time of about 10 years. Barriss is being extradited from Los Angeles where he resides, to Kansas. The Kansas authorities must pick up Barriss by February 2.
Barriss is no stranger to the prison system or calling in false threats. In 2015, he called in bomb threats to a California TV station twice. In May 2016, he was sentenced to two years. He got out in January of 2017 and was quickly picked up again for violating a protective order that same month. He was sentenced to another year in prison, and again got out early on August 24, 2017.
During the month of December, Barriss used his Twitter profile “SWAuTistic” to claim responsibility for numerous bomb threats, including the Call of Duty World League competition in Dallas, and the Net Neutraility meeting that was held by the FCC. He was quite smug about his victories, tweeting, “l swatted FCC and MLG Dallas l’m not busted yet. if you can’t pull off a swat without getting busted you’re not a leet hacking God its that simple.”
Brian Krebs, or Krebs On Security, reports that Barriss is a notorious swatter that has called in a lot of false threats, calling him a “serial swatter.” In an interview with YouTuber KeemStar, Barriss was completely unapologetic, saying “it is what it is,” and claiming that he doesn’t believe the death was his fault.
I don’t think that I should not do jail time, but I don’t think I should do life or get charged with murder, that’s all. I’m not saying that I’m saying I shouldn’t do any time at all though, because admittedly yeah I was involved. So if I get caught and charged, then so be it, and I’ll do whatever time they give me. I’ll serve whatever sentence because it is what it is.
At this time, it seems that the only charges being filed against Barriss are those in relation to the swatting death of Andrew Finch. It doesn’t appear that any charges have been filed for the other bomb threats that were made in December.