$2 BET LED TO FAKE CALL THAT GOT A FATHER KILLED
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Saturday, December 30, 2017, 12:25 PM
An alleged serial “prankster” from California has been arrested over a fake 911 call that resulted in police fatally shooting an unarmed Kansas man earlier this week, officials said.
Tyler Barriss — a 25-year-old gamer suspected of making the false police report that led to the death of Wichita resident Andrew Finch — was cuffed by Los Angeles cops late Friday. The catastrophic prank Barriss carried out, known as “swatting,” has gained traction in online gaming communities and typically involves a person making up a story about an ongoing violent crime to trigger a massive police response.
Finch was gunned down on Thursday night after cops believe Barriss told a 911 dispatcher that he had shot his father and was holding his mother and younger brother hostage.
“I shot him in the head and he’s not breathing anymore,” Barriss said, according to a recording of the call released by the Wichita Police Department.
Tyler Barriss, in a mugshot from his 2015 arrest, when police say he falsely claimed to have planted bombs in the offices of Glendale, Calif.-based KABC-TV.
Barriss then added, “I might just pour gasoline all over the house, I might just set it on fire.”
Barriss gave cops Finch’s address, mistakenly believing it belonged to a person he had feuded with over a $1 or $2 Call of Duty wager.
“Due to the actions of a prankster we have an innocent victim,” Wichita deputy police chief Troy Livingston said during a press conference Friday night.
Barriss’ unnerving 911 call set cops rushing to Finch’s house, expecting an ongoing hostage situation. Instead, an unarmed and unsuspecting Finch came to the front door.
Officers screamed at Finch to put his hands in the air, but Livingston said the 28-year-old father of two young boys moved a hand toward his waistband. An officer, fearing Finch was reaching for a gun, fired a single shot. Finch died minutes later.
A series of since-deleted Twitter posts screen-grabbed by the Wichita Eagle suggest that the targeted Call of Duty gamer gave Barriss a fake address that — seemingly by complete happenstance — turned out to be Finch’s.
Andrew Finch was shot to death by police on Thursday.
“Someone tried to swat me and got an innocent man killed,” read a tweet from the would-be victim.
Barriss later denied that his fake police report was to blame for Finch’s death.
“I DIDNT GET ANYONE KILLED BECAUSE I DIDNT DISCHARGE A WEAPON AND BEING A SWAT MEMBER ISNT MY PROFESSION,” he posted.
Lisa Finch, surrounded by family members, grieves after her son Andrew Finch was shot to death by police on Thursday in Wichita, Kansas.
This isn’t the first time Barriss has landed in trouble over fake 911 calls. In 2015, he was slammed with federal charges after getting arrested for falsely claiming to have planted bombs at the offices of an ABC affiliate in Los Angeles.
The potentially devastating prank method has in recent years gained particular popularity among players of first-person shooter games such as Call of Duty and the FBI estimates that some 400 cases occur annually. But Thursday’s tragic hoax might be the first time anyone has been killed as a consequence.
Finch’s devastated mother, Lisa Finch, told reporters that her son wasn’t a gamer and didn’t own any guns. She also expressed anger at the police.
“What gives cops the right to open fire?” she asked. “That cop murdered my son over a false report in the first place.”
The officer who fired the fatal shot is a seven-year veteran with the Wichita department. He has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.