Man Sentenced to 20 Years for ‘Swatting’ Call that Led to Fatal Shooting

The Associated Press
Irfan Khan /Los Angeles Times via AP, Pool

Tyler R. Barriss, 26, was sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to 51 federal charges — some of which led to the 2017 death of 28-year-old Andrew Finch.

Barriss has admitted to contacting the Wichita police from Los Angeles on Dec. 28, 2017 — with the explicit intent of falsely reporting a shooting and kidnapping at a Wichita residence. The Associated Press reports, “Authorities say an Ohio gamer recruited Barriss to ‘swat’ a Wichita gamer, but that the address they used was old, leading police to Finch, who was not involved in the video game or the dispute.”

When Finch answered the door, he was shot to death by a member of law enforcement.

Shane Gaskill and Casey Viner have been charged as co-conspirators. According to the Associated Press, “authorities say Viner provided Barriss with an address for Gaskill that Gaskill had previously given to Viner. 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.'”

All three allegedly conspired to call in bomb and shooting reports to a high school and convention center in Connecticut, as well as locations in Texas, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. Both Gaskill and Viner have pled not guilty to crimes including conspiracy to obstruct justice and wire fraud, but Viner has signaled his intention to change his plea at a hearing scheduled for April 3.

Finch’s family has filed a lawsuit against both the city of Wichita and the police officer involved. Prosecutors, however, have declined to charge the unidentified law enforcement agent.

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