Man arrested after Call of Duty 'swatting' hoax call turns deadly

Saul Bowman
January 3, 2018

Hours before Los Angeles police arrested Tyler Barriss in connection with the "swatting" call that turned deadly in Wichita, a YouTube host posted an interview with a man who says he's responsible for the prank call about a possible hostage threat.

Wichita Police have confirmed that the Thursday evening officer-involved shooting was a case of swatting, and one man in California has been arrested in connection to the case.

The shooting happened at around 6:30 p.m. Thursday at a home near McCormick and Seneca. The booking sheet did not list a bail amount.

Officer Paul Cruz, a spokesman for the Wichita police, said the two city police departments are working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation on the case, but provided no further details including on possible charges or extradition.

The police and FBI are investigating whether an argument between two players of the online game Call of Duty may have lead to the death of an unarmed man in Kansas on Thursday. The man, identified by relatives as 28-year-old Andrew Finch, allegedly moved his hand toward his waistband. Deputy Chief Troy Livingston of the Wichita Police Department said investigators were tracking online leads.

25-year old Tyler Barriss is suspected of making a 911 call with a fake story about a shooting and kidnapping at the victim's address.

KWCH reports that Livingston said officers gave Finch several verbal commands to put his hands up. An officer opened fire and shot once. "The incident is a nightmare for everyone involved, including the family and our police department", Livingston said. As his username suggests, he is a serial swatter and also claims credit for a number of hoax bomb threats, including one targeting the offices of an ABC affiliate in Los Angeles in 2015, and the recent hoax that delayed the FCC's Net Neutrality vote. Dexerto, an online news service focused on gaming, reported that the series of events began with an online argument over a $1 or $2 wager in a "Call of Duty" game on UMG Gaming, which hosts online tournaments. Police don't think the man fired at officers, but the incident is still under investigation, he said.

Wichita police investigate a call of a possible hostage situation near the corner of McCormick and Seneca on December 28, 2017 in Wichita, Kansas.

Finch's mother told local media that he was not involved in the gaming community. She said her granddaughter was forced to step over her dying uncle and that no guns were found in the home.

Lisa Finch told reporters that she and her family were handcuffed, taken outside and placed into separate police cruisers.

The FBI estimated that 400 such cases of "swatting" occur annually with numerous prank callers using some sort of caller identification spoofing software to disguise their phone numbers.

A bill introduced in Congress in 2017 by Representative Katherine Clark, Democrat of MA, would specifically outlaw interstate swatting and impose a maximum sentence of life in prison for fatal instances. Armed officers in 2016 responded to an anonymous call claiming an active shooter was at Clark's home.

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