Reuters has an update on the ongoing criminal cases against the some of the defendants in the Call of Duty swatting incident from last year that led to an innocent man’s death.
As we’ve previously chronicled, California resident Tyler Barriss reportedly called Wichita police to detail a supposed murder/hostage/arson in progress back at the end of 2017, using the address of what he apparently believed was one Call of Duty player intended as the focus of the ensuing police harassment, as provided by another player and played out live on Twitter. The address used, however, was for an unrelated person, father of two Andrew Finch, who was subsequently shot and killed by police after opening his door. Barriss was charged with involuntary manslaughter and extradited to Kansas, having tweeted an admission of guilt and being suspected of multiple other incidents, including a bomb threat; while in prison, he even tweeted out new threats.
And as for the other folks involved in the murder? The police officer who shot and killed Finch still won’t be charged. Finch’s family is still pursuing a civil suit. The other two Call of Duty players involved – Casey Viner, who the government alleges asked Barriss to make the swatting cal, and Shane Gaskill, who stands accused of providing the address – were charged in May on counts of wire fraud, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy to obstruct justice (apparently, they all tried to delete their tweets and/or wipe their phones), as well as a count of making a false report for Viner. The charges could lead to 20 years in prison apiece.
Reuters reported last week that both Gaskill and Viner, both still teenagers living with their parents, pleaded not guilty to the charges on Wednesday. A U.S. Attorney’s office spokesman told the publication that Barris himself will meet his own charges – including a manslaughter charge – in Kansas “before he faces an array of federal charges.”
Catch up on the whole sorry story: