Tyler Raj Barris, suspect arrested in alleged Wichita, KS. Swatting incident, has been arrested previously for phoning in bomb threats.
An unsuspecting and unarmed Kansas man opened his front door to encounter a massive presence of law enforcement and SWAT vehicles sparked by a prank 911 call that would culminate in his death.
Officers warned Andrew Finch to put his hands in the air, but the 28-year-old father of two young boys allegedly moved them toward his waistband, police said. Fearing he was reaching for a weapon, an officer fired a single fatal shot at the Wichita resident.
Thursday night Wichita police killed Andrew Finch after responding to a call claiming a man at his address had shot someone and was holding others hostage. That call was a hoax, commonly referred to as swatting. In this case, it’s apparently linked to a Call of Duty match, where one player passed a fake address to another before someone called the police to it. Now NBC News reports that police in Los Angeles have arrested 25-year-old Tyler Barriss, who is believed to have made the call inciting the incident.
Barriss may be the “SWAutistic” who tweeted about making the call and later participated in a phone interview with theDramaAlert show on YouTube. An LAPD spokesperson confirmed that Barriss is in custody, no bail has been set, and that they are working with Wichita police on the case.
The LA Times reported in 2015 that he had been arrested for calling in a bomb threat to a TV studio, and in the YouTube video, SWAutistic claims to be responsible for bomb threats that interrupted an MLG Call of Dutyevent in Dallas earlier this month.
Law enforcement estimates that some 400 cases occur annually, though Finch’s death appears to be the first time anyone has been killed as a result.
The FBI coined the term back in 2008, pointing out cases of swatting as early as 2002.
The goal behind the prank when it first emerged seemed to be getting authorities to raid the homes of those live streaming their gaming experience to their followers. There are scores of archived videos on Twitch, a popular live streaming video platform popular with gamers, that show authorities dragging unsuspecting people from their games and bursting into their homes.
“The callers often tell tales of hostages about to be executed or bombs about to go off,” according to an FBI release. “The community is placed in danger as responders rush to the scene, taking them away from real emergencies.”