Los Angeles police arrested Tyler Barriss, 25, on suspicion of making the “swatting” call that ended with a Wichita man being killed by police, reports the Wichita Eagle. Barriss is accused of reporting a fake homicide and hostage situation to the Wichita Police Department last Thursday. “Swatting” involves reporting to police a false story of an ongoing crime – often with killing or hostages involved – in an attempt to draw a large number of police officers to a particular address. Online gamers may use caller ID spoofing or other techniques to disguise their number as being local. Or they call local non-emergency numbers instead of 911. Wichita’s City Hall received a call that there was a hostage situation in a house and that someone had been shot in the head.
“A male came to the front door,” said Deputy Police Chief Troy Livingston. “As he came to the front door, one of our officers discharged his weapon.” The man was identified as Andrew “Andy” Finch, 28. Finch was unarmed when he opened the door. Officers told Finch to put his hands up and walk toward them. He complied for a “very short time” and put his hands back down. An officer later feared that Finch had pulled a weapon from his waistband and shot him. “The irresponsible acts of a prankster put people’s lives at risk,” Livingston said. “The incident is a nightmare for everyone involved, including the family and our police department. Due to the action of a prankster, we have an innocent victim.” Finch was not involved in an online game. Swatting has become more common as gamers have begun online streaming. While it doesn’t usually affect the average gamer, swatters often target users of the live-streaming platform Twitch, said Anthony Vu of Shocker eSports, a student at Wichita State University.