California man charged in fatal ‘swatting’ to be sentenced

Andrew Finch

Andrew Finch

The man accused of placing a police swatting call that led to a Wichita man's death was sentenced to 20 years in federal court Friday morning.

U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren sentenced Tyler R. Barriss, 26, under a deal in which he pleaded guilty in November to a total of 51 federal charges related to fake calls and threats.

In December 2017, 28-year-old Andrew Finch was shot and killed by police responding to a false report about a hostage situation at a home in Kansas. Speaking to The Wichita Eagle, the Finch family blames the suicide on Andrew's tragic death.

Barriss confessed to similar swatting calls in California and Washington, DC.

Barriss apologised to Finch's family as he was sentenced on Friday (local time), and said he takes full responsibility for what had happened.

Barriss, Gaskill and Viner were all subsequently arrested.

Authorities said an OH gamer recruited Barriss to swat a Wichita gamer, but that the address they had supplied was old, leading police to Mr Finch, who was not involved in the video game or the dispute.

When police responded, Finch answered the knock on his door and stepped into the doorway, according to police.

Kansas authorities are dropping involuntary manslaughter and other state charges against a California man who was sentenced in federal court to 20 years in prison for a hoax emergency call that led to a Wichita man's death. "Authorities also say that when Gaskill noticed Barriss was following him on Twitter, he gave Barriss that old address and taunted him to 'try something'".

"If I could take it back, I would, but there is nothing I can do", Barriss told the court. Case Viner, 19, of OH and Shane Gaskill, 20, of Witchita had a falling out over the video game.

Prosecutors declined to charge that officer. His 20-year sentence is believed to be the longest sentence imposed for "swatting" or hoaxes, according to the USA attorney's office.

"Sending police and emergency responders rushing to anyone's home based on utterly false information as some kind of joke shows an incredible disregard for the safety of other people", Stephen McAllister, U.S. attorney for Kansas, said in the news release.

Barriss had also faced state charges in Kansas, but a spokesman for the Sedgwick County Office of the District Attorney said in an email on Friday they were being dismissed following his federal sentencing. I hope that this prosecution and lengthy sentence sends a strong message that will put an end to the juvenile and reckless practice of "swatting" within the gaming community, as well as in any other context. Gaskill was charged with wire fraud for giving Barriss the wrong address and then goading him into swatting it anyway.

The man who allegedly made the bet, Casey Viner, and the intended victim who reportedly had trash-talked and egged on Viner, Shane Gaskill, were both charged with co-conspiring.

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