Man sentenced to 20 years for fatal Call of Duty ‘swatting’

A federal judge sentenced Tyler Barriss of Los Angeles to 20 years in prison on Friday for making false emergency calls to authorities, including one that resulted in a Kansas man being shot dead by police as part of a dispute tied to Call of Duty: WWII, reports the Associated Press.

Barriss, 26, pleaded guilty in November in Kansas on federal charges of making a false report resulting in a death, cyberstalking, and conspiracy, among other false threats. Barriss admitted to placing a call to dispatchers in Wichita, Kansas, on Dec. 27, 2017, claiming to have killed one person and to be holding two others hostage. When police responded to the address Barriss gave them, they confronted Andrew Finch, 28. Police shot Finch dead, saying they believed he was reaching for a weapon. Finch was not armed and did not know the men.

The deadly incident drew attention to the practice of “swatting,” or calling in a false report to authorities in an attempt to elicit an armed emergency police response at another person’s address. Attempts to evoke a SWAT team response often involve reports of a bomb threat, murder, or hostage situation.

The swatting call in Barriss’ case was placed over an argument in a Call of Duty: WWII match online involving a $1.50 wager. Authorities say that an Ohio man, Casey Viner, recruited Barriss to “swat” Shane Gaskill of Wichita, Kansas, after a dispute. Viner provided Barriss with an address, believed to be Gaskill’s. Gaskill taunted Barriss, reportedly telling him to “try something.”

Viner and Gaskill have also been charged in the incident.

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