Co-defendant in fatal swatting case gets 15-month prison sentence, banned from online...

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

Back in December 2017, what’s thought to have been the first-ever swatting-related fatality took place. It began with a $1.50 wager on a Call of Duty: WWII match, which saw Casey Viner and Shane Gaskill playing on the same team when an argument about friendly fire started. Viner threatened to swat Gaskill, but Gaskill dared him to try it and even provided an address, though it was from a previous home.

Viner contacted Tyler Barriss—known online as “SWAuTistic”—and provided the address he thought was Gaskill’s. Barriss called the Kansas police and informed them that a domestic dispute incident was taking place at the West McCormick Street address. He told the 911 dispatcher that he had shot his father in the head and was holding his mother, brother, and sister hostage. He also threatened to burn the house down.

When police arrived at the address, it was an unsuspecting Andy Finch, a 28-year-old father-of-two, who answered. Finch was ordered to put his arms in the air but instead moved a hand toward his waistband. One officer, convinced that he was reaching for a gun, fired a single round. Finch died within minutes.

Fifteen months later, Barriss, who made the fatal call, was sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to 51 charges. Now Viner, who originally pleaded not guilty but agreed to guilty pleas of conspiracy and obstructing justice in April, has been given a 15-month prison sentence. He will also serve two months "supervised release" once his sentence is complete, during which time he will be prohibited from playing online games.

Both Barriss and Gaskill were charged as co-conspirators to the crime. Gaskill has made a deal for “deferred prosecution,” which could see the charges dropped. And while the officer who shot Finch has not been charged, the victim’s family has launched a civil suit.

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#1 Barriss should be given not one day less than a year for every single year he took from that 28 YEAR OLD man. I would throw him in prison and let him rot - or give him the option of the death penalty to be carried out immediately.

#2 Viner should get the same 28 years - and be given the death penalty option - to be carried out immediately.

I would send a clear message that using police under false pretenses resulting in "murder" would be punished swiftly and absolutely.

I'm not sure what's worse: The fact that Swatting happens so much that there's actually a term for it or the fact that police have become so militarized and violent that their use of lethal force is predictable enough to make Swatting possible.

The police aren't off the hook here.

How much recon did they do prior to the shooting?

Did they do any?

Or did they just bust in like Rainbow 6 like they've always done in Minority neighborhoods?
 
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amstech

IT Overlord
When police arrived at the address, it was an unsuspecting Andy Finch, a 28-year-old father-of-two, who answered. Finch was ordered to put his arms in the air but instead moved a hand toward his waistband. One officer, convinced that he was reaching for a gun, fired a single round. Finch died within minutes.
No way a normal everyday dude with two kids would reach for his waist after SWAT just busted in and ordered he put his arms in the air. They frickin shot the guy in cold blood because they believed their cause/reasoning was legit/real.
This co-defendant should do no less then 25-40 years in a federal prison, someone lost their life over this.
 

TomSEA

TechSpot Chancellor
Banned from online games .... ok, so how is that enforced?
That's exactly what I was wondering.

Although the lethal force could appear excessive, the police went there based on the phone call that someone had already been murdered and people were being held hostage by a "crazed gunman." I don't know what kind of recon you could do, and how much time you'd want to waste if you believe there are people's lives at stake. Tough decisions are going to be made in that circumstance.
 
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mctommy

TS Guru
#1 Barriss should be given not one day less than a year for every single year he took from that 28 YEAR OLD man. I would throw him in prison and let him rot - or give him the option of the death penalty to be carried out immediately.

#2 Viner should get the same 28 years - and be given the death penalty option - to be carried out immediately.

I would send a clear message that using police under false pretenses resulting in "murder" would be punished swiftly and absolutely.

I'm not sure what's worse: The fact that Swatting happens so much that there's actually a term for it or the fact that police have become so militarized and violent that their use of lethal force is predictable enough to make Swatting possible.

The police aren't off the hook here.

How much recon did they do prior to the shooting?

Did they do any?

Or did they just bust in like Rainbow 6 like they've always done in Minority neighborhoods?
The problem lies in the information relayed to the officers/SWAT... without being there, it's difficult to say that the officers/SWAT could have done something else to avoid killing an innocent person.

"he had shot his father in the head and was holding his mother, brother, and sister hostage. He also threatened to burn the house down"

I do agree that Viner should get the same sentence as Barriss... similar to murder for hire where both get similar punishments.
 
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Nobina

TS Evangelist
I remember this whole situation was a shitshow. I also remember other articles where that cretin Tyler said he doesn't feel guilty and he is a serial SWAT-er and he wants to do it again, something of that nature. If it was up to me he would never see the light of day again.

As for the officer, I understand he got info that the suspect had a gun and that he already killed someone in the house but I feel like he reacted too soon, maybe was scared for his life or something. Either way, he did a poor job and should be punished too.
 

poohbear

TS Evangelist
Banned from online games .... ok, so how is that enforced?
That's exactly what I was wondering.

Although the lethal force could appear excessive, the police went there based on the phone call that someone had already been murdered and people were being held hostage by a "crazed gunman." I don't know what kind of recon you could do, and how much time you'd want to waste if you believe there are people's lives at stake. Tough decisions are going to be made in that circumstance.
Dont know what kind of recon they could do? Couldn't they have just called the house until the real person answered? Seems like a ridiculously simple thing to do at the start of hostage negotiations. It took me all of 2 seconds to think of that.
 

Theinsanegamer

TS Evangelist
I remember this whole situation was a shitshow. I also remember other articles where that cretin Tyler said he doesn't feel guilty and he is a serial SWAT-er and he wants to do it again, something of that nature. If it was up to me he would never see the light of day again.

As for the officer, I understand he got info that the suspect had a gun and that he already killed someone in the house but I feel like he reacted too soon, maybe was scared for his life or something. Either way, he did a poor job and should be punished too.
Devil's advocate: these guys are trained day in and day out to deal with violent criminals that hide weapons anywhere they can and then try to jump officers with them. When you are in a situation where a perp may have a weapon, you ar erunning on hair trigger reflexes and unconsious psycology, it is insanely stressful and the part of the brain that thinks "lets slow down and consider the situation" is not going to be firing on any cylinders at that time.

If you start punishing cops for these incidents, that is going ot make them hesitate when performing their jobs, and the next time they are up against a legitimate threat, that hesitation is going to result in the officer's death, and the deaths of innocent people. Someone innocent being killed is a shame, but it's not worth turning against your own police force for.
 
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EndRessentiment

TS Booster
Dont know what kind of recon they could do? Couldn't they have just called the house until the real person answered? Seems like a ridiculously simple thing to do at the start of hostage negotiations. It took me all of 2 seconds to think of that.
This. Too often people reason as if the police could only take the dangerous course of action. It's not true. It's better for the police not to be able to save everyone than them rushing in without consideration and immediately killing innocent people! Absurd.

The fact is that the is US police is causing way too much damage. It has to change.
 
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TomSEA

TechSpot Chancellor
Banned from online games .... ok, so how is that enforced?
That's exactly what I was wondering.

Although the lethal force could appear excessive, the police went there based on the phone call that someone had already been murdered and people were being held hostage by a "crazed gunman." I don't know what kind of recon you could do, and how much time you'd want to waste if you believe there are people's lives at stake. Tough decisions are going to be made in that circumstance.
Dont know what kind of recon they could do? Couldn't they have just called the house until the real person answered? Seems like a ridiculously simple thing to do at the start of hostage negotiations. It took me all of 2 seconds to think of that.
You've been watching too many TV shows. Seriously....put yourself in a situation in a home where some lunatic has killed one of your family members and is threatening to blow the brains out of the rest of you. And you want the police to MAKE A PHONE CALL??
 
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Hexic

TS Evangelist
Dont know what kind of recon they could do? Couldn't they have just called the house until the real person answered? Seems like a ridiculously simple thing to do at the start of hostage negotiations. It took me all of 2 seconds to think of that.
This. Too often people reason as if the police could only take the dangerous course of action. It's not true. It's better for the police not to be able to save everyone than them rushing in without consideration and immediately killing innocent people! Absurd.

The fact is that the is US police is causing way too much damage. It has to change.
That is a drastic exaggeration, and an example of how far too many people don’t understand the job, environment, and situations officers go through.

“It would be so easy if”, “Why couldn’t they have just”, “They acted too rashly” - it’s much easier to sit in your chair at home and brainstorm how many ways the perfect situation could have gone off without a hitch, instead of thinking it about how the world really works.

The call was bogus, cops didn’t know that. The man answered the door and reached for his waist, the cops had just heard he had his family hostage, shot someone, and threatened to burn the house down. You really think that given the limited intel they had, and as RASHLY violent the intel they did have was, that shooting the guy wasn’t a possibility?

You keep living in fantasy-land, while the rest of us live in the land we call reality. Too many keyboard warriors throwing assumptions without actually forming a logical hypothesis.
 
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Nobina

TS Evangelist
Devil's advocate: these guys are trained day in and day out to deal with violent criminals that hide weapons anywhere they can and then try to jump officers with them. When you are in a situation where a perp may have a weapon, you ar erunning on hair trigger reflexes and unconsious psycology, it is insanely stressful and the part of the brain that thinks "lets slow down and consider the situation" is not going to be firing on any cylinders at that time.

If you start punishing cops for these incidents, that is going ot make them hesitate when performing their jobs, and the next time they are up against a legitimate threat, that hesitation is going to result in the officer's death, and the deaths of innocent people. Someone innocent being killed is a shame, but it's not worth turning against your own police force for.
I understand that part, at least I think I do. I can only imagine the stress, no matter how trained you are losing your life is something you want to avoid, anyone who says the classic "they singed up for it" is a ****. But taking that into consideration, I still think it was poorly executed.
 

Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
An eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth ..... a death sentence by firing squad so he can understand the victims last moments and make his co-conspirator watch, before he gets his own similar punishment .....
 
An eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth ..... a death sentence by firing squad so he can understand the victims last moments and make his co-conspirator watch, before he gets his own similar punishment .....
I am absolutely for the death penalty for rapists and murderers.

But it's important that "justice" be impartial; equal regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, etc and emotionless.

I don't want "revenge" on his for what he did.

I want the state to make examples of them as a warning to the next ***** who might consider doing the same.
 

Paulos7

TS Booster
When I first read about this, it was my understanding that it was later determined that the guy was probably reaching to hold up his drooping shorts or underwear. The cop should have told the guy to stop reaching instead of just putting a bullet in him. Trigger happy? Pumped up for a conflict? Who knows?
 
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dogofwars

TS Addict
An eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth ..... a death sentence by firing squad so he can understand the victims last moments and make his co-conspirator watch, before he gets his own similar punishment .....
An eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth ..... a death sentence by firing squad so he can understand the victims last moments and make his co-conspirator watch, before he gets his own similar punishment .....
Just remove his balls and send him on his way.
 

Capaill

TS Evangelist
When I first read about this, it was my understanding that it was later determined that the guy was probably reaching to hold up his drooping shorts or underwear. The cop should have told the guy to stop reaching instead of just putting a bullet in him. Trigger happy? Pumped up for a conflict? Who knows?
Exactly. We don't know, we weren't there and the only other witness besides the SWAT team is dead. He could have been in shock and slightly lowered his arm. Perhaps he had a panic attack. Maybe he was asked by one officer to do something and the shooter didn't hear that order. I have no idea how I would react in that situation - hopefully I would get clear instructions from the SWAT team.
I do remember another situation which was caught on video where a SWAT team were called (wrongly) to a suspected terrorist in a hotel, they had him lying on the floor at gunpoint and were yelling conflicting orders at him, the man started going into cardiac arrest, told the officers that he needed his pills, reached towards his pocket for his pills and the officers shot and killed him.
Like, have SWAT never heard of tasers? Or bean bag rounds from a shotgun? Or mace. Instead they went in with lethal ammo to a situation where they had zero evidence that a crime had been committed other than one phonecall from a random member of the public. It's not like swatting was unknown at the time. I've seen reports that it has increased from 400 a year in 2011 to over 1000 a year.
That's just not good enough - something needs to change.
 

Capaill

TS Evangelist
#1 Barriss should be given not one day less than a year for every single year he took from that 28 YEAR OLD man. I would throw him in prison and let him rot - or give him the option of the death penalty to be carried out immediately.

#2 Viner should get the same 28 years - and be given the death penalty option - to be carried out immediately.

I would send a clear message that using police under false pretenses resulting in "murder" would be punished swiftly and absolutely.
I'd be in favour of putting all 3 of them in a room and tell them that the judge is about to review their case. Then have a SWAT team kick in the door, give them 5 seconds to realise what's about to happen, and then shoot them all dead.
You may argue that Gaskill doesn't deserve that but he did goad Viner into it and knowingly gave a wrong address. Whether he thought Viner would do it is irrelevant, he shouldn't have given that address.
 

EndRessentiment

TS Booster
That is a drastic exaggeration, and an example of how far too many people don’t understand the job, environment, and situations officers go through.

“It would be so easy if”, “Why couldn’t they have just”, “They acted too rashly” - it’s much easier to sit in your chair at home and brainstorm how many ways the perfect situation could have gone off without a hitch, instead of thinking it about how the world really works.

The call was bogus, cops didn’t know that. The man answered the door and reached for his waist, the cops had just heard he had his family hostage, shot someone, and threatened to burn the house down. You really think that given the limited intel they had, and as RASHLY violent the intel they did have was, that shooting the guy wasn’t a possibility?

You keep living in fantasy-land, while the rest of us live in the land we call reality. Too many keyboard warriors throwing assumptions without actually forming a logical hypothesis.
Actually, something else is going on. You have a good view of the US police, and will defend them despite the facts. I think the US police is rubbish.
These are some general facts on the US police: https://www.vox.com/identities/2016/8/13/17938170/us-police-shootings-gun-violence-homicides
There are many more articles like this from respected sources.
It seems as if you're not aware how rubbish the US police is. Racism being one of the reasons.

As to this specific case, quoting Paulos7: "it was later determined that the guy was probably reaching to hold up his drooping shorts or underwear. The cop should have told the guy to stop reaching instead of just putting a bullet in him."
This. And you are talking about "situations officers go through"? Police forces often are, and should be trained to deal with pressure and all.
Killing someone when a gun is not even close to being revealed is not excusable at all. Nothing says the man was moving quickly. There was no pressure so high that lethal action was required. At all. The situation "on the ground" involved people sitting in their house. These officers should've been aware of the risk of swatting. And even if the story was true, they were in error. Actions should mostly depend on what the person does at that moment, how threatening he acts. What he supposedly said is much less important... Common sense 101, if you ask me. There is no reason for blind faith.
 
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Hexic

TS Evangelist
Actually, something else is going on. You have a good view of the US police, and will defend them despite the facts. I think the US police is rubbish.
These are some general facts on the US police: https://www.vox.com/identities/2016/8/13/17938170/us-police-shootings-gun-violence-homicides
There are many more articles like this from respected sources.
It seems as if you're not aware how rubbish the US police is. Racism being one of the reasons.

As to this specific case, quoting Paulos7: "it was later determined that the guy was probably reaching to hold up his drooping shorts or underwear. The cop should have told the guy to stop reaching instead of just putting a bullet in him."
This. And you are talking about "situations officers go through"? Police forces often are, and should be trained to deal with pressure and all.
Killing someone when a gun is not even close to being revealed is not excusable at all. Nothing says the man was moving quickly. There was no pressure so high that lethal action was required. At all. The situation "on the ground" involved people sitting in their house. These officers should've been aware of the risk of swatting. And even if the story was true, they were in error. Actions should mostly depend on what the person does at that moment, how threatening he acts. What he supposedly said is much less important... Common sense 101, if you ask me. There is no reason for blind faith.
Yeah... I’ve had many conversations when I was across the pond with this exact sentiment, and the conversation didn’t go anywhere. No offense whatsoever, but it sounds like you’re not residing in the states. You can assume innocence all you’d like, and you absolutely should until proven guilty. When you receive a call such as this, [sometimes] innocent people are caught in the mix.

I don’t like it, the caller and his accomplice should be justly punished, but I don’t believe you can blame the authorities in this instance.
 
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candle_86

TS Enthusiast
Not to hard, probation during that period allowing warrantless search of all computers and consoles in the property the suspect lives. They could also put in a special modem that forwards all traffic to a database to be analyzed.
 

VBKing

TS Enthusiast
Here is the video from multiple police body cams from the shooting.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=8-sWzC56df4

The cop who shot him should at least lose his job if he hasn't already.
I'm usually give the benefit of the doubt to cops, but the one who shot him from across the street did the unforgivable act of purposefully pulling the trigger and killing a completely unarmed, innocent person who was surrounded by multiple cops and showed NO sign of aggression even if a police report said he supposedly reached for his waistband (there was no gun found so I think they just made up that excuse to justify their shooting).

If he reached for his waistband, HOW COME ALL THE COPS DIDN'T OPEN FIRE???

Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_Wichita_swatting