A California man was arrested over a swatting hoax that ended with police in Kansas gunning down an innocent unarmed man. Tyler Barriss has been charged with a felony over the deadly prank that occurred last week.
He is being held without bail, and is expected to be expedited to Wichita to face charges.
On Thursday (Dec. 28), the 25-year-old gamer made a 911 call where he falsely claimed that he shot his father and was holding his mother and siblings hostage. Barriss also threatened to burn the house down.
A dispute over a Call of Duty video game reportedly prompted Barriss to carry out the prank. According to reports, another player dared Barriss to “swat him” and gave a random address that happened to be the residence of 28-year-old Andrew Finch.
Police arrived to Finch’s home and shot him seconds after he opened the door. Officers have since said that Finch looked like he was reaching for a weapon, though he was found to be unarmed, and had no idea that his address was used in the joke.
A lawyer for Finch’s family said in a statement that while they are pleased that “an alleged swatter was detained, the swatter did not shoot an unarmed man stepping out onto his porch.”
The statement points out that the Wichita Police officer shot and killed Finch. “While the WPD has attempted to deflect the cause of death to a phone call- Andrew was killed by a bullet fired by an officer who clearly had no cause to fire. Prank or no prank- no officer claimed to have seen a weapon before firing, and that fact alone makes this shooting reckless at best.
“The family remains hopeful that all responsible are brought to justice including the shooter.”
Barriss, who has made swatting calls before, is currently charged with making a false alarm, but might face more serious charges like second-degree murder or involuntary manslaughter, according to AP.
An apparent Twitter account attributed to Barriss, allegedly tweeted about the incident after he saw it on the news. “I didn’t get anyone killed because I didn’t discharge a weapon and being a Swat member isn’t my profession.” read an alleged post on the account.
Barriss could face up to 20 years in prison for the more serious charges, or as little as 34 months for knowingly making a false claim to an emergency service.