Update (12/30/2017): Los Angeles police arrested 25-year-old Tyler Barriss late Friday on a fugitive warrant in connection to a swatting incident that led to the death of 28-year-old Andrew Finch in Wichita, Kansas following a Call of Duty-related dispute.
Barriss allegedly called Wichita police and made the false report. Barriss falsely gave police Finch’s address as the location of a shooting after one of the parties in the online dispute, a Call of Duty player who goes by the name “Miruhcle,” gave Barriss the address under the guise that it was where Miruhcle lived. Finch was not involved with the dispute in any way.
Barriss may be the individual behind the “SWAutistic” account who tweeted about making the call and later participated in a phone interview with the DramaAlert show on YouTube.
Barriss is currently in police custody pending a formal investigation. Barriss was apparently arrested in 2015 for a bomb threat against a local TV station, according to LA Times. It’s unclear what charges will be filed, as there have been no details released. Although it is clear that Barriss’ actions establish clear factual and legal causation that he is responsible for the police response that killed Finch.
It’s also possible that the two CoD players – baperizer and M1ruhcIe – could be charged with a variety of offenses ranging from misdemeanors to felonies depending on how law enforcement decide to assign blame. This would depend on how the facts of the case unfold in the coming days.
A 28-year-old father of two is now dead because of swatting – a “prank” where police are tricked into sending a SWAT team against someone, most likely a livestreamer or celebrity, based on false information. Andrew Finch of Wichita, Kansas was shot and killed by police on December 28 after he was the victim of a swatting prank that was seemingly perpetrated by two Call of Duty: WW2 players who were upset after losing a wager match that had a measly $1.50 USD on the line.
Details on the incident remain somewhat unclear at the time of this writing, but the sequence of events appears to be something like this. Teammates began arguing after losing a real money wager match in Call of Duty: WW2, and threatened each other with swatting. The wrong address was given to police by one player involved, and Andrew Finch, who had nothing to do with the wager match at all, was shot and killed after answering his door at around 6:30 PM.
According to Lisa Finch, the victim’s mother, police were notified that there was an ongoing hostage situation at the Finch household. The false call also included a claim that the perpetrator allegedly holding the family hostage had killed a man in an argument. Maybe that contributed somewhat to the fact that the victim was shot while unarmed and willingly cooperating with police. No matter the root cause, this trend has to stop.
Sadly this is yet another addition to the mounting number of victims of police use of force. In 2017 alone, more than 1,100 people in the US have been killed by police action. Including an equally disturbing incident that left a 6-year-old child dead after police fired into his home indiscriminately.
The trend of swatting isn’t new, and critics have long railed against this exact possibility. That the combination of reckless idiocy and militarized police forces would create a perfect storm of violence. And it’s clear that the issue isn’t going away, absent a major campaign of reform and awareness, it’s only going to get worse.
Here’s hoping that no one else has to die for people to stop thinking swatting is just a “prank”.