Law enforcement officers in Los Angeles arrested a 25-year-old man suspected of making a hoax emergency call that resulted in a police officer shooting and killing a man in Kansas. Tyler Barriss was arrested on suspicion that he carried out what is known as a “swatting” call, which is when someone makes a false report of a crime in hopes of getting a SWAT team to show up at the targeted address. In this case, the caller referenced a shooting and a hostage situation at an address in Kansas, where police shot and killed a 28-year-old father of two.
Police have not revealed the name of the Kansas man who was killed Thursday but relatives identified him as Andrew Finch. His family said Finch was not a gamer and went outside when he heard the law enforcement officers who had arrived apparently ready to face off in a hostage situation. When officers asked him to put his hands up, Finch reportedly moved his hand toward his waistband and an officer fired a shot, fearing he was reaching for a gun. He died a few minutes later.
Swatting has become a relatively common practice among online gamers, and in this case it seems this incident took place following an argument over a Call of Duty game that had a $1.5 wager. Wichita police released audio of the 911 call in which a man said he shot his father in the head and was holding his mother and sibling at gunpoint. Dexerto, an online news outlet that specializes in gaming, said “there is a perceptible similarity” in the voice that can be heard in the 911 call and the person who a popular YouTuber interviewed on his channel mere hours before Barriss was arrested.
“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,” said the man in the interview who went by his screen name @SWAuTistic. “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.”
Barris had already been arrested in 2015 on charges that he made a false bomb threat to a TV studio.