- 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 different states.
- A Kansas man, Andrew Finch, was shot and killed by police on December 28, 2017 after Barriss called the Witchia 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 U.S. Attorney’s Office of Kansas said Barriss made the swatting call following 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 Los Angeles native Tyler Barriss, 26, garnered national attention after police in Witchita, 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 claimed 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 following an argument over a game of “Call of Duty: WWII.”
A subsequent investigation showed that Barriss had called in fake bomb threat to the FBI headquarters and 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.
Barris 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 reports that he will pay a $5,000 fine to the Kansas Crime Victim’s Compensation fund, which will then be given to the Finch family.
Two more “Call of Duty” players are always awaiting trial for their alleged role in the incident. Casey Viner of Ohio and Shane Gaskill of Wichita were reportedly 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. Viner then forwarded the address to Barriss and encouraged him to make the swatting call.
“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.”