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Suspect arrested in fatal Call of Duty ‘swatting’ incident

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Accused taken into custody in L.A.; victim was in Kansas

Soldiers walking in a forest
Call of Duty: WWII
Sledgehammer Games/Activision

A Los Angeles man has been arrested in connection with the “swatting” hoax that left one man dead in Wichita, Kan.

Tyler Barriss, 25, was taken into custody on a fugitive warrant according to a Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson. The Associated Press and NBC reported the arrest early this morning.

“Swatting” is a dangerous hoax in which someone telephones a fake emergency call to a police department with the intention of sending an armed response to the victim’s address.

In this case, Wichita’s 911 dispatch was called Thursday by someone claiming to have shot his father dead in an argument with his parents. The caller said he still had his weapon and was holding his mother and younger brother hostage. The caller also threatened to douse the home with gasoline and light it. He gave the address of the home twice.

Wichita police responded and confronted Andrew Finch, 28. Officers said Finch was ordered to raise his hands but moved them to his waist. Officers said they believed he was reaching for a weapon, and fired, killing him. Finch was not armed.

Barriss is accused of making the false report to Wichita’s 911 dispatchers. The Wichita Police Department posted the audio of that call to its Facebook page yesterday.

Officer Involved shooting

The following is a the 911 audio and video of the officer involved shooting we release today during our press conference, please be advised the following video contains graphic content, viewer discretion is advised.

Posted by Wichita Police Department on Friday, December 29, 2017

Reports yesterday suggested that Finch had been drawn into an argument among gamers playing Call of Duty: WWII. Finch appears to have no connection to the game or the dispute arising from it. Instead, one gamer is said to have provided two others with the Wichita address where Finch was killed.

That gamer was known by the handle “Miruhcle.” It’s unknown whether that is Barriss or if Barriss is one of the other two (“Baperizer” and “Swautistic”), or which of the three phoned the threat.

Lisa Finch, the mother of Andrew Finch, said her son was “not a gamer.” The professional Call of Duty player Tommy “ZooMaa” Paparratto also accused the gamer known as Swautistic of making SWAT threats in the past.

SWATting has a long and ugly history in gamer culture over the past 10 years, usually as an ultimate means of harassing an online adversary. The FBI in 2008 published a bulletin describing the hoax’s onset. “Individuals did it for the bragging rights and ego, versus any monetary gain,” said an official in the FBI’s Dallas office.

This year already, a Maryland man was shot twice by police — once in the face — on a hoax call phoned in by 21-year-old Robert McDaid of Coventry, England. A popular Runescape livestreamer had his home raided by a SWAT hoax in 2015, in which his 10-year-old brother ended up held at gunpoint by police officers.

Also in 2015, Brandon Wilson of Nevada, 19 years old at the time, was arrested and accused of reporting a fake emergency call to Naperville, Ill. police in 2014, which sent armed law enforcement to the address. And in 2014, a Counter-Strike streamer in Littleton, Colo. had his play interrupted by police bursting through the door, called to the scene by a SWAT hoax. That incident locked down nearby public schools for the day.