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California man arrested after Kansan killed by police in alleged 'swatting' hoax

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Police in Los Angeles have arrested a man they suspect made a hoax emergency call that resulted in a SWAT police officer fatally shooting a man at the door of his own home in Kansas, law enforcement officials said Saturday.

Wichita Deputy Police Chief Troy Livingston on Friday characterized the hoax call as "swatting" and blamed a "prankster" who called 911 with a fake story about a shooting and kidnapping at the victim's address. Authorities haven't released the name of the man who was killed Thursday, but relatives have identified him as 28-year-old Andrew Finch.

Tyler Barriss, 25, is suspected of making that call and was arrested in Los Angeles on Friday, according to the Los Angeles Police Department and the Wichita Police Department in statements emailed early Saturday afternoon.

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Tyler Raj Barriss

Associated Press

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

In audio of the 911 call played by Wichita police at a news conference on Friday, a man said he shot his father in the head and that he was holding his mother and a sibling at gunpoint. The caller, speaking with relative calm, also said he poured gasoline inside the home "and I might just set it on fire."

Officers subsequently surrounded the home at the address the caller provided and prepared for a hostage situation. When Finch went to the door, police told him to put his hands up and move slowly.

But Livingston said the man moved a hand toward his waistband — a common place where guns are concealed. An officer, fearing the man was reaching for a gun, fired a single shot. Finch died a few minutes later at a hospital. Livingston said Finch was unarmed.

The officer, a seven-year veteran of the department, is on paid leave pending the investigation.

Lisa Finch on Friday told reporters "that cop murdered my son over a false report in the first place."

In addition to the 911 call, police also released a brief video of body camera footage from another officer at the scene. It was difficult to see clearly what happened.

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 operates online tournaments including one involving "Call of Duty."

Livingston said investigators were tracking online leads, and a law enforcement official who earlier confirmed Barriss' arrest said the shooting stemmed from a dispute over "Call of Duty." The official wasn't authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press Saturday on condition of anonymity.

The official said Barriss believed a person involved in the dispute lived at the address, but that investigators don't believe Finch was the intended target. Finch's mother said her son was not a gamer.

The official said it wasn't clear if Barriss was involved in the dispute or if he had been recruited to make the false call.

Court records show Barriss was convicted in 2016 on two counts of making a false bomb report to a TV station in Glendale, California, and sent to Los Angeles County jail for two years. Jail records show he was released in January.

The FBI estimates that roughly 400 cases of swatting occur annually, with some using caller ID spoofing to disguise their number. An FBI supervisor in Kansas City, Missouri, which covers all of Kansas, said the agency joined in the investigation at the request of local police.

In other cases of apparent swatting, three families in Florida in January had to evacuate their homes after a detective received an anonymous email claiming bombs had been placed at the address.

Comments

Calvin Anders

I see lots of stories about this incident. None has questioned the police response to this situation. This kind of hoax is so prevalent now that we have a word for it, but police still descend upon a home fingers on their triggers, with only the word of an unknown caller. These hoaxers are to blame, but they are exploiting the aggressive, blunt, stupid thuggery of our current law enforcement system and the incompetence of our "elite" tactical officers. Regardless of the blame here, this event screams for the need for serious reforms in law enforcement policy and culture. It's a tragedy that could have been avoided. And of course police blame the victim. Their story is that he reached for his waist so the officer had no choice. That is an idiotic excuse. I hope people don't buy such tripe.

3 months, 3 weeks ago

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Thomas Bryce Jr.

If someone storms my home, as a law abiding citizen and veteran, I will not wait to see if they are the "Good Guys". I will react as trained. I may die defending my family and home because an idiot thought it fun to "SWAT" me. Calvin is right. Didn't the 911 call show up as out of state or "Unknown"? Any call into a 911 number is traced to it's origin. If you call 911 and hang up, police will show up to that address. How was an out of state 911 call not screened in the normal manner? Mistakes were made and blaming just the guy from California and the Victim in Wichita is wrong. With all of the technology today, this was avoidable.

3 months, 3 weeks ago

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Brock Masters

The cop should have identified a weapon before shooting. If there was a gun in the waist belt he had time to identify it before shooting. Yeah I know there is a risk, but you’re a cop, there is risk to your job.

Does anyone think we’d be exonerated if we said, well we didn’t see a gun, he didn’t threaten me directly, but I was pretty sure he had. Gun somwhen he put his hand near his waist I shot him.

No doubt the cop will get off This trigger happy one did.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ooa7wO...

3 months, 3 weeks ago

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Joshua Cain

Charge the officer too. Potentially having a weapon.....? That's anyone and everyone! Being a cop is dangerous....evidently being an average citizen is too.

3 months, 3 weeks ago

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Dorothy Hoyt-Reed

I agree. The police handled this all wrong. I heard the 911 call replayed on the news. The guy almost sounded like he was trying to keep from laughing. Why wasn't the call confirmed for location? I thought they could trace the calls, in case they need to find the person calling.

But the little creep who called it in should be held equally responsible. This was bound to happen eventually. They think it's all a joke.

3 months, 3 weeks ago

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Richard Heckler

It seems to me the SWAT Teams should be trained in talking things down and it is my thinking if Law Enforcement had explained why they were at the front door this could have worked out.

Why didn't they ask if they could enter the house in order to verify what the phoney caller described? This family does not seem like people who would have denied Law Enforcement entry.

That would have found nothing. Then might have realized they had been duped.

Judging from the news it did not take long to find the alleged caller living in California.

This open carry law has many negative impacts thus far. Time to recall the open carry law. If a law enforcement shooter cannot decipher exactly what is happening best hold the fire. Be civilized and diplomatic.

3 months, 3 weeks ago

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Brock Masters

What does the open carry law hve to do with this. The victim did not have a gun.

3 months, 3 weeks ago

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Thomas Bryce Jr.

I think it has more to do with the fact that anyone could be carrying a gun and Law enforcement officers treat every situation as if the person is armed whether a weapon is visible or not.

3 months, 3 weeks ago

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Brock Masters

if he was carrying under the open carry law the gun would have been visible so no it makes no sense.

3 months, 3 weeks ago

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Bob Summers

Police are government employees.

Enough said.

Even private police forces are compromised by people in government.

Face it. Government is a problem.

https://www.rand.org/pubs/reports/R08...

3 months, 3 weeks ago

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Kendall Simmons

So you're suggesting we get rid of the police because they're government employees? I mean, that *IS* what it sounds like. If so, should we privatize the military? Fire departments? How about judges?

Or why don't we just get rid of police and judges and juries and leave guilty/not guilty up to people like you and base those decisions not on any evidence but only personal prejudices? (And make sure that NO ONE has EVER worked for ANY government in any way, shape or manner.) Heck, private prisons work soooo well, so why not privatize ALL this gummint stuff? We don't need no stinkin' Constitution.

3 months, 3 weeks ago

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Bob Summers

The Constitution was put together to control the Liberal's behavior.

This is why the Liberal calls the constitution a "living breathing document" that needs to be changed as needed

You need the constitution. I do not.

3 months, 3 weeks ago

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