March 19, 2018

Fatal Kansas swatting call suspect accused of Canadian call

12 January 2018, 10:09 | Opal Carroll

Tyler Barriss Image Courtesy of Glendale Police Department

Swatting Con Artist Behind Dozens of False Alarms

Calgary police have issued arrest warrants for Tyler Rai Barriss, 25, accusing him of targeting the home of a young woman he contacted online on December 22, six days before the deadly police shooting in Wichita, Kan.

A man called 911 and claimed that he had shot his father and was holding his mother and younger brother hostage, according to a police news release. The caller gave officers an address, where tactical officers quickly responded, contained the scene and began evacuating nearby units. While doing so, a woman who lived at the address called in to 911 and said she believed she was the victim of a swatting call.

The recent issuing of arrest warrants for a California man in connection with a fraudulent call to 911 that prompted a large police presence in southwest Calgary was likely the first encounter with the term "swatting" for many Calgarians but, for online gamers, the criminal prank calls are well-known.

A similar bogus call on December 28 about a shooting and kidnapping led police in Wichita, Kansas, to rush to a home where Andrew Finch, 28, was shot and killed after opening his door.

"During this incident, a substantial amount of police resources were required to contain the scene and protect the safety of citizens", police say.

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The Sun report says the woman believed she was targeted because of her online persona. The woman exited the home and officers confirmed the initial report of a shooting and hostage situation was false, police said. Investigators identified a suspect who had made contact with her earlier that day.

Barriss has been charged in Kansas with making a false alarm.

Police and the FBI are investigating whether that prank call was prompted by an online gaming dispute, according to The Associated Press. The Wichita Eagle reported that his 62-year-old grandmother also sought a restraining order in 2015 from a California court, writing that Barris had made "constant threats to beat my face bloody".

He is expected to be extradited to Kansas this month. Police said the unarmed Finch was given commands to keep his hands raised, but he reached toward his waistline multiple times.

"We take swatting events extremely seriously and will investigate each incident thoroughly", Calgary Police said.

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