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California man gets 20 years in deadly Kansas 'Swatting' case


Remorseless over hoax stemming from video game dispute that resulted in death of an innocent man

(Image source: Youtube screenshot)

California resident Tyler Barriss was sentenced to 20 years in prison by a Federal judge in Wichita on Friday in a plea deal for over 50 charges related to making false reports to police in order to provoke incidents such as the one that killed an innocent man in Kansas.

"Swatting" (or SWAT-ing) is the practice, sometimes grossly under-labeled as a 'hoax" or a "prank' of reporting violent crime occurring at someone's residence in order to provoke an armed police response.

Barriss placed such calls all across the country. In the Kansas death, the precipitating event was a dispute between two video gamers. Casey Viner 19, and Shane Gaskill, 20. Court documents show that Barriss stated Viner asked him to "swat" Gaskill over the argument. Gaskill dared Barriss to go through with it, but provided an address where he no longer resided.

It was at that address, where Barriss falsely reported to police that there was a homicide and a hostage situation, that the then current resident Andrew Finch, 28, was fatally shot by police who had responded with a SWAT team. Finch had no connection to any of the parties or to the dispute. He just happened to live at that address with his family.

Both of the video gamers involved in the dispute are awaiting trial, having entered pleas of not guilty.

Ars Technica reports that Barris was without remorse just hours after learning of the fatal shooting. "I love swatting kids who think that nothing's going to happen," he reportedly said in a Youtube video at the time.

Barris, who was active on social media, even tweeted a threat of additional swatting calls while in police custody.

At his sentencing, he finally voiced regret, in asking for forgiveness from the Finch family, the Wichita Eagle reported. "I take full responsibility in what happened to [Andrew Finch]," he said. "If I could take it back I would. ... I'm just so sorry for that."

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