An accused hoaxer has apparently admitted to causing the swatting incident that killed a Kansas man on December 28. That hoaxer identified himself in the interview, in addition to being identified by several Twitter verified gamers, as @Swautistic aka Tyler Barriss, 25. At the time of writing, Barriss’ Twitter account has been suspended.
The Wichita Eagle reports that on the night of December 28, police in the city got a 911 call saying a man had killed his father and was holding family members as hostages. A SWAT team was dispatched to the scene. When they arrived at the address, a man named Andrew Finch, 28, answered the door. His family says he was unarmed. Finch was shot dead by a SWAT officer.
Police are now investigating the shooting as a case of swatting. Deputy police chief Troy Livingstone told the media that it’s thought that two gamers had a dispute after playing Call of Duty. The dispute escalated with one threatening the other with swatting. Tyler Barriss was not one of the gamers involved.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Barriss Was Arrested Less Than 24 Hours After Finch Was Killed
NBC News reports that Barriss was arrested at a rehab facility where he was living on December 29. SCPR reports that Barriss is being held without bail and has not been charged at the time of writing. Police in LA are working with colleagues in Wichita as well as the FBI while they decide how to move forward.
You can listen to the audio from the 911 call here:
2. A Man Purporting to Be Barriss Said in an Interview He Was in the Library When He Got a Call About the Swatting
The gamer who has been accused of orchestrating the swatting wrote on Twitter in a now-deleted message, “I didn’t get anyone killed because I didn’t discharge a weapon and being a swat member isn’t my profession.” The hoaxer gave an interview with social media blogger Keem Star. During the interview, the hoaxer said that he was “minding his own” business before he was contacted by someone complaining that he had a beef with a fellow Call of Duty player. The hoaxer said that the gamer had told him about another gamer who apparently felt like he wasn’t going to get swatted. The two gamers had gotten into a dispute of a Call of Duty game that had a wager of $2.
As a result of the interview, Keem Star says that he has been accused of being a snitch by Twitter users. He wrote, “I’m being called a Snitch ???? Snitching is when your neighbor is selling weed & you jealous that he bought a brand new car with that cash so you turn him into the police. This is a Murder Investigation!”
3. Barriss Is Accused of Swatting a Gaming Event in Dallas
Call of Duty gamer Faze ZooMaa tweeted that, “The same kid who swatted Dallas, threatened to swat NOLA, threatened to swat my girlfriend and I all day, swatted an innocent family today and someone was killed. Here are screenshots of the kid tweeting me. He changed his @ and I found it. I’m tired of this shit, he need to be thrown in jail. Went to the police to inform them so my house doesn’t get swatted. Ridiculous at this point.”
ZooMaa went on to share screenshots of apparent threats that Barriss had sent him on December 29. The Glendale News-Press reported in 2015 that Barriss was accused of calling in a bomb scare to an ABC-affiliate television state that caused an evacuation. The LA Times says that Barriss was accused of saying there were “multiple” bombs in the building.
4. Finch’s Family Says He Even Didn’t Play Video Games
A relative of Andrew Finch’s told the Wichita Eagle that the victim didn’t play video games. Deputy chief Livingstone told the media that officers recieved the call to go to the 1000 block of McCormick and “got into position.” Livingstone continued, “A male came to the front door. As he came to the front door, one of our officers discharged his weapon.”
The Eagle report reads that “Police don’t think the man [Finch] fired at police.” Livingstone added, “This call was little peculiar for us. (The call) went to a substation first, then it was relayed to dispatch, then dispatch gave it to us. We have a lot of information to go through.” Finch was unarmed. A Go Fund Me page has been set up for Finch’s family during this difficult time.
The intended victim tweeted after the shooting, “Someone tried to swat me and got an innocent man killed.”
5. The FBI Has Been Using the Term Swatting Since 2008
The term swatting has been used by the FBI since 2008. According to 911.gov, the hoax is common among gamers and hackers with scammer even using software to hide their caller ID from emergency services. The hoaxers will also change their caller ID to reflect that they are loocal, thus confirming the call’s legitimacy.
The Associated Press reports that the FBI office in the Kansas City, Missouri, is involved in the investigation into Finch’s shooting.