California man sentenced to 20 years after hoax call leaves man dead

Minnie Murray
April 1, 2019

A California man received a sentence Friday of 20 years in federal prison for a hoax phone call he made that resulted in police officers shooting and killing an innocent man.

Tyler Rai Barriss, 26, of Los Angeles, pleaded guilty in November to 51 charges filed by prosecutors in Los Angeles, Kansas and Washington, D.C., according to the us attorney's office in the Central District of California.

Police showed up the house and shot the unarmed man, Andrew Fitch, who was not the intended target by Barriss as he unknowingly gave officers the wrong address.

For example, perpetrators of swatting often call non-emergency numbers at state and local police departments to carry out their crimes precisely because they are not local to the region and can not reach the target's police department by calling 911. Finch was not armed and did not know the men.

Tyler Barriss, 25, is now jailed in Kansas for the death of Andrew Finch, 28, who was shot and killed during a police raid in response to a false report of an armed hostage situation allegedly initiated by Barriss. Attempts to evoke a SWAT team response often involve reports of a bomb threat, murder, or hostage situation.

On December 28 2017, two men's $1.50 wager on Call of Duty: WWII escalated to the point of tragedy.

Casey Viner and Shane Gaskill fought over friendly fire in an online match in the game, causing them both to lose the match. Case Viner, 19, of OH and Shane Gaskill, 20, of Witchita had a falling out over the video game.


"We hope that this will send a strong message about swatting, which is a juvenile and senseless practice", U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister told reporters after the sentencing.

In November, Barriss pleaded guilty to 51 federal charges associated with the malicious phoney calls made with the intention of drawing law enforcement to the victims - a form of harassment known as "swatting". Finch's family has sued the city of Wichita and the officers involved. More prevalent in the United States, if there was someone online who disgrunted you and you knew their address, it wasn't uncommon to pull a "prank" known as "swatting".

Barriss apologized to the Finch family and took responsibility for what happened, contradicting previous statements on Twitter and in a YouTube interview.

That call was later determined to have originated from Barriss, who was arrested several hours later in connection with Finch's death.

Viner and his foe, Shane Gaskill, are now being prosecuted for the roles they played in the swatting incident. He added, "If I could take it back I would". It was also discovered that he placed bomb threats to the Dallas Convention Center, a Florida high school and the Federal Communications Commission building during the period on which the agency voted to repeal net neutrality. Gaskill is scheduled for trial April 23.

Barriss faced additional state prosecution for his numerous false reports but charges in California and Kansas were dismissed as a part of his plea deal.

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