Call of Duty swatting incident leads to man’s death in Kansas

A case of gamer “swatting” in the U.S. has led to the death of an innocent father of two in Kansas earlier this week.

According to reports, a Call of Duty player angry over an online wager put in a false hostage call to Wichita police in the hopes of bringing down an embarrassing and potentially deadly police response on another gamer. Tragically, the call targeted the wrong home, and when 28-year-old Andrew Finch opened his door, a SWAT member shot him dead.

The police officer who fired is being investigated, and the gamer who called the police with the lie, Tyler Barriss, has been arrested in Los Angeles. Prior to his arrest, Barriss allegedly tweeted his innocence: “I didn’t get anyone killed because I didn’t discharge a weapon and being a SWAT member isn’t my profession.” His Twitter account was subsequently disabled.

And while we’re visiting the intersection of gaming and death, Newsweek reported on an incident in which a Russian player using virtual reality goggles lost touch with his surroundings. Apparently, he slipped and fell on a glass table while using VR, fatally cutting himself in the process.

Source: Newsweek, NBC, Kotaku. Thanks to everybody who sent this in!
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262 Comments on "Call of Duty swatting incident leads to man’s death in Kansas"

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Sally Bowls

https://yro.slashdot.org/story/18/01/06/2020206/kansas-swat-perpetrator-had-already-been-to-prison-for-fake-bomb-threats

“After phoning in a false bomb threat to a Glendale, California TV station in 2015, Tyler Barriss threatened to kill his grandmother if she reported him, according to local reports and court documents.” — The Wichita Eagle

“The Glendale Police Department confirmed to ABC News that Tyler Barriss made about 20 calls to universities and media outlets throughout the country around the time he was arrested for a bomb threat to Los Angeles ABC station KABC in 2015… He was sentenced to two years and eight months in jail, court records show.” — ABC News

“Within months of his release in August, he had already become the target of a Los Angeles Police Department investigation into similar hoax calls… LAPD detectives were planning to meet with federal prosecutors to discuss their investigation…” — The Los Angeles Times
The Wichita Eagle reports that even after the police had fatally shot the person SWauTistic was pretending to be, he continued his phone call with the 911 operator for another 16 minutes — on a call which lasted over half an hour.

Brian Krebs reports that police may have been aided in their investigation by another reformed SWAT perpetrator — adding that SWauTistic privately claimed to have already called in fake emergencies at approximately 100 schools and 10 homes.

Just last month SWauTistic’s Twitter account showed him bragging about a bomb threat which caused the evacuation of a Dallas convention center, according to the Daily Beast — after which SWauTistic encouraged his Twitter followers to also follow him on a second account, “just in case twitter suspends me for being a god.” Later the 25-year-old tweeted that “if you can’t pull off a swat without getting busted you’re not a leet hacking God its that simple.”

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markfromindy

Acts like this should be treated as domestic terrorism at the very least. They’re not just pranks. It’s not a prank when you involve law enforcement. This guy should be dropped in a hole and forgotten. He’s human garbage.

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CMDR ShrunkenQuasar

The mods are really earning whatever pay they get on this article.

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Robert Weaver

If anyone watched the actual body cam video of the shooting you will see that the man who got shot dropped his hands down to his waste (after being told to put his hands up), turned, turned back, and then raised them up in a way that made it look like he was pointing.

People keep bashing the police for these types of things happening but you need to realize that this is an honest to god life or death situation for them, and they have to deal with this types of scenarios on a constant basis. They never know if the individual they pull over is going to turn around and shoot them point blank (which there are a lot of body cam videos out there where this is the case). Police are trained to react to situations like this. It is called protect yourself by any means necessary.

Was this a needless tragedy that could have been avoided? Yes. Want to know how to avoid getting shot by the cops? Listen and obey every command they give you. They tell you to put your hands above your head? Put them above your head and don’t move a frigging muscle until they tell you to do otherwise.

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John Kiser

He lowered his hands to open the door when he was told to come out (had a storm door) Immediately after opening it and raising his hands back up with a spotlight shining in his eyes he was shot dead.

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Roger Melly

John unless you were there that night you don’t know 100 percent for certain that is actually what happened . It may have been as you describe or it may have been he opened the door and being put in that situation where he knew he had done nothing wrong got angry and confrontational . Even so that isn’t any reason to shoot an unarmed man .

But unless you are doing a job where your life is potentially under threat every single day we can’t imagine the stresses that puts on someone . All I am saying it should be investigated thoroughly and impartially and the police officer should not be condemned in the court of public opinion in the way you appear to be doing here .

There seems to be an attitude in many people in America where the police are automatically perceived to be in the wrong even when events such as this have happened without taking the time to listen to both sides accounts of what happened . I think there have been cases where the police officer involved obviously did something wrong but to have that as your default position in every case is just as wrong .

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Ket Viliano

Cops do this all the time. They give contradictory instructions, then shoot you when you comply. Case in point, Philando Castille was told where to put his hands, then told to get his ID, then shot when he complied.

Do this, do that, *BANG*, I didn’t say Simon Says.

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CMDR ShrunkenQuasar

Thousands of service members face death every day and manage to adhere to the rules of engagement and not shoot every perceived threat before asking questions.

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Roger Melly

Very true but unless you or I see video evidence of what happened that night we can only make assumptions of what actually happened that night . Just because it was an innocent man that was killed we can’t know how he reacted when faced with that situation .

It may be quite justifiably he got angry at what was happening and instead of following instructions acted unwisely and got confrontational . In which case the rules of engagement may have been followed .

Or it maybe they were not and the officer was completely in the wrong . Even so we can’t know his motivations until its investigated further . It could have been fear and stress or something more nefarious .

What happened was tragic and the actions of the police should be investigated but it should be done openly , fairly and impartially and not to satisfy a portion of the public who are baying for blood because they distrust or hate the police . If wrongdoing can be proven then the officer should also be charged with manslaughter .

As I said earlier this sort of tragedy would be extremely unlikely to happen here in the UK because thankfully we do not have the same gun culture as the USA and our society while it has its faults is nowhere near as violent .

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Ket Viliano

Never point a gun at anyone that you do not intend to shoot. This is a basic safety rule that was taught in my AJ classes. If police were to have followed this rule, there would have been no problem.

I just posted this far below, maybe it belongs here instead:

The thing is, as citizens, we have no obligation or expectation of having to know how gangsters and thugs behave. We have no expectation of the police acting like this, even if we do have such an anticipation.

Basic firearms safety is to never point a gun, unless you are going to shoot. Police have disregarded this basic rule, because they are never, or hardly ever, held to account for their crimes. Pointing a gun at someone is assault with a deadly weapon, *unless that person is pointing a gun at you or someone else*, in which case it is lawful self defense or defense of another. Simply holding a gun, or a knife, is not a crime, and yet mere possession of a gun or knife, not even holding it, is taken as justification for a murder, in the second degree, or first if we consider the mentality and training.

For the police to ‘cover’ someone by pointing a gun at them is the commission of a crime in and of itself, and is lawful justification for that someone to shoot back.

The worst of this is that police seem to never bother using their words, and are possessed with the idea that we, as citizens, must somehow obey every command they give. This is simply not the case, as we are not supposed to be living under tyranny in a police state.

How police should use their words is laid out in Verbal Judo, a book written by a scholar who joined the police to get the experience he needed to make a correct statement on the subject.

I really could go on, but to back to my original point, normal people have no good reason to study the behavior of thugs, nor to practice how to get bullied by a thug who has been given a badge and a gun.

“Want to know how to avoid getting shot by the cops? Listen and obey every command they give you. They tell you to put your hands above your head? Put them above your head and don’t move a frigging muscle until they tell you to do otherwise.”

That sort of attitude is what I mean when I say that bullies have been given badges and guns.

We are free citizens, not subjects of a tyrant. The State is very limited in the nature and extent of commands that it can give, and must do so through a lawful court order, contested by an attorney for the defense, and subject to appeal.

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Mr Poolaty

This statement is was spot on to me!!! Preach on!!!

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kgptzac

Not sure which society you are describing, but that’s not the reality in the US. In case you don’t live in the US and wonder why American police are so militarized. Try reading the 2nd Amendment of US Constitution and learn what NRA does here. After you done all that, think about what you said regarding accusing the police for assault by pointing gun at you.

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Ket Viliano

?Seriously?

I am a natural born Yankee.

I joined the NRA back in ’91, left due to Wayne La Pierre, I now support the GOA.

Pointing a gun at a human being is Assault with a Deadly Weapon, or some language to that effect, in every state in the Union. Police are not above the law, not lawfully in any case, no matter how poorly or wrongly any given case may have been adjudicated.

When the cops point a gun, they break the law. This is what was taught in my AJ shooting class, by Detective Gong of the Sunnyvale Pd. (Dept of safety, but w/e.)

As for police militarization, that was started by Clinton, a gun grabbing democrat.

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Roger Melly

Maybe the police feel the need to be militarised in a country where citizens can be armed not only with hand guns but also automatic weapons designed to kill large numbers of people .

Have you ever stopped to think that maybe if there was not such an unrestricted gun culture they might not feel the need to point a gun in anything more than the rarest of situations ?

I mean it’s no skin off my nose because it doesn’t affect me one way or another living in Europe but I would have thought that was just common sense .

Andrew Ross
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Andrew Ross

Just jumping in to expand on this. My uncle was a sheriff and created his own security company after retiring, and he also said that police were trained that, if you shoot, you’re shooting to kill. I’ve heard him tell that story to friends and family and people in 2017 still got wide-eyed.

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Ket Viliano

By the time you point a gun at someone, you may as well just shoot them. It is one thing to draw and hold high, or hold low, in anticipation of a shootout, but quite another to provoke a shootout by pointing guns.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

People watched it; they simply disagree that the police are justified in killing innocent citizens just because police feel threatened or because innocent citizens didn’t follow orders fast enough. “Protect yourself by any means necessary” is no justification; it’s the underlying priority misalignment that makes swatting worth the risk for monsters like Barriss.

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Utakata

We should not live in a society where we need to be that afraid where one is shot dead by police because of not taking their instructions serious enough. Or taking them too causally from what I am reading here. We do not live in a police state.

Nor would this type of hyper volatile readiness prevent cops from being killed or injured in an ambush by a gun happy civilian who is having a mental health break down during a domestic, as was the case in Denver. Just saying.

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Roger Melly

But surely you should not have to live in a society where a policeman needs to be afraid of being shot dead by a member of the public either ?

Doesn’t it work both ways ?

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Paul Hurtado

The suspect, Tyler Barriss also did an interview via Skype with some Youtube channel show called #DramaAlert, where he completely and thoroughly implicated himself in this incident. I hope he goes to prison for a long time and has many lovers. That would send a clear message. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCHOI39nJPM

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Sally Bowls

https://yro.slashdot.org/story/17/12/31/1936232/kansas-swatting-perpetrator-swautistic-interviewed-on-twitter

Among the recent hoaxes he’s taken credit for include a false report of a bomb threat at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that disrupted a high-profile public meeting on the net neutrality debate. Swautistic also has claimed responsibility for a hoax bomb threat that forced the evacuation of the Dallas Convention Center, and another bomb threat at a high school in Panama City, Fla, among others.

Asked about the FCC incident, @GoredTutor36 acknowledged it was his bomb threat. “Yep. Raped em,” he wrote. “Bomb threats are more fun and cooler than swats in my opinion and I should have just stuck to that,” he wrote. “But I began making $ doing some swat requests.”

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Jdawg Playsgames

Yeah depending on the state it is accessory to murder or negligent homicide…he will be looking at ten to fifteen years behind bars.

It’s also a testament to the sheer ignorance of anyone that actually thinks it’s possible to be anonymous on line in the early 21st century.

((Edited by mod. Please review the commenting code.))

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Robert Mann

Murder on him, no. Negligent homicide? Hells yes.

It’s simple. He put somebody else in harms way, with reason for the police to be on edge (but in no way does that justify shooting somebody who answers the door!) We should hammer that case as hard as flipping possible, and note it to all these morons: ‘Yep, YOU ARE responsible if you do this.’

Additionally, the idiot should be facing false accusation charges, waste of 911 resource charges, and a number of other lesser charges. Which, I would guess, would by no means be considered cheap.

This has to stop, and to do that these jerks need to pay for their abuse.

ernost
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ernost

As bad as things sometimes are in my country, at least I can take comfort in the fact that I don’t have to worry about randomly getting shot by police or gangsters (is there any difference in America?), either in my home or out of it.

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zeko_rena

AMERICA, FUCK YEAH!
Comin again to save the motherfuckin day, yeah

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Jdawg Playsgames

I use to bash the united States when I was a ignorant kid…..Then I visited places like Karachi, Tanzania, Istanbul, and Bolivia. I learned that every place in the world has their issues and in the grand scheme of things America has less than most.

((Edited by mod. Please review the commenting code.))

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CMDR ShrunkenQuasar

That’s not a very good excuse.