On December 28th 2017, Andrew Finch was fatally shot inside his home by Wichita police after a false police report was filed by Tyler Barriss.
On March 29th 2019, Tyler Barriss was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
The false police report that lead to Andrew Finch’s death was not the start, however. Barriss was known online as ‘SWAuTistic’ and already had a criminal record that included domestic violence. He had also served 16 months in jail for making false bomb threats against two schools.
He was also wanted by police in Florida for calling in around 30 other bomb threats and by police in Canada on fraud and mischief charges for harassing a woman in Calgary. He had also allegedly made threats over the phone about explosives in the FCC and FBI headquarters just a few weeks prior to the 2017 swatting incident. Barriss also admitted to swatting people for hire.
Swatting is where someone intentionally files a false report in an attempt to mislead the emergency services into sending a response team, specifically one consisting of police officers, to someone else’s address.
All of this came to a head over a $1.50 bet on Call of Duty: WWII.
Casey Viner and Shane Gaskill fought over friendly fire in an online match in the game, causing them both to lose the match. Their feud escalated over on Twitter, where Viner threatened to swat Gaskill over the loss. Gaskill provided a fake address, Viner contacted Barriss and gave him the fake address.
Barriss called the Wichita police department, identifying himself as ‘Brian’. He claimed that he was at the address, he had fatally shot his father, and was holding family members at gunpoint.
Police converged on the address. Andrew Finch opened the front door. He was then fatally shot.
Back in the present day, U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren sentenced Tyler Barriss, now 26, under a deal in which the latter pleaded guilty back in November 2018 to a total of 51 federal charges. The plea agreement called for a sentence of at least 20 years.
As of posting, it is the longest sentence ever given for the act of swatting.
Judge Melgren said that the case went into “uncharted legal territory” and that the law has not yet caught up with technology. Melgren also said that the charges did not address the severity of what happened.
It is believed that Andrew Finch had absolutely nothing to do with the incident. He was not a known gamer and was not associated with anyone involved. He was simply a victim of a senseless crime.
Barriss apologised to Finch’s family on Friday, telling the court that “If I could take it back, I would, but there is nothing I can do. I am so sorry for that.”
Both Gaskill and Viner are charged as co-conspirators. They have both pleaded not guilty to charges.
Source: AP News.