Notorious "swatter" gets 20 years behind bars

Bubbajim

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Fifteen months after the most infamous instance of ‘swatting’ drew the world’s attention to the practice, Tyler Barriss – the man who made the hoax call – has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

On December 28 2017, two men’s $1.50 wager on Call of Duty: WWII escalated to the point of tragedy. Casey Viner and Shane Gaskill had been playing on the same team when an argument about friendly-fire culminated in Viner threatening to ‘swat’ Gaskill. Gaskill tauntingly provided an address, but unbeknownst to Viner, it was a previous home.

Viner contacted Tyler Barriss – known online as “SWAuTistic” – and provided the address he thought was Gaskill’s. Barriss informed 911 that he had fatally shot his father and was holding other family members hostage – prompting a swift armed response from the Wichita police.

Andrew Finch was the current resident of the address given. He opened the door having heard a commotion outside, only to be fatally shot by Officer Justin Rapp.

Now, according to Associated Press, U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren has sentenced Barriss to 20 years, under a deal where Barriss pleaded guilty to 51 federal charges for fake calls and bomb threats. It’s the longest sentence ever reported following ‘swatting’.

Viner and Gaskill, the two original players, have each been charged as co-conspirators, but have not yet been sentenced. But Sedgwick County District Attourney Marc Bennett has said that Justin Rapp, who shot the unarmed Finch, will not be prosecuted. He said, “I am very much sympathetic to the Finch family, but at the end of the day my determination has to be in what the law allows.”

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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
Read the original article. When SWAT is called in it is considered life or death and they have full authorization to use deadly force, presumably to save a person life. The *****s that played this deadly game are lucky to have only received 20 years ..... Just goes to show that people that pull stupid stunts will and should pay the price, especially when it costs an innocent person their life.
 

brucek

TS Maniac
Presumably that "full authorization" does not include shooting a victim, or a surrendering perp, or a witness. If according to the fake call the perp was the only person still alive in the building, and the person in the door has no weapon, there is no longer any life or death situation to resolve. (Edit: just re-read and saw there were other alleged hostages, although I still don't see how that justifies shooting an unarmed man in plain view facing outwards.)

I am by no means a police hater and am willing to hear any reasonable explanation, but I have not heard one so far. I also think the system needs to better differentiate between an officer who tried to do a job and screwed up vs. a murderer.

Do I think this shooter screwed up and needs to be evaluated for continued fitness on a SWAT team? Yes. Do I think that equally indicates a potential problem with the leadership of the SWAT team and those above it in the police organization? Yes. Even if problems were identified, do I feel the appropriate solution is a murder charge? no.
 
WHAT'S WORSE???

#1 The fact that someone would call up the police to go arrest or possibly kill someone else...

OR...

#2 The fact that the police's tactics are SO VIOLENT and SO PREDICTABLE that the swatter KNEW that the person he swatted would more than likely be arrested or killed and that the police would rush to do it without any investigation?

It's the same logic used by someone comitting "Suicide by cop"...they know exactly what they need to do to get the officer to kill them.

JUST THINK ABOUT THAT when you see these media scumbags and that TRASHBAG Rahm Emmanuel expressing so much rage for Smollet while cops kill unarmed citizens, lie about it and then get off.
 
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brucek

TS Maniac
Not sure how you can possibly compare Smollet to this. Smollet had a very easy alternative that would have led to no harm: just don't create a horrible hoax. Almost no one else does that. He took an extreme, unusual action and of course people are pissed off about it. The following corruption in dismissal of the charges is a further aggravating factor.

Compare that to the officer, who while in my opinion likely screwed up, was not there that day on a voluntary basis. Police received a report that required them to respond. The potential for violence is real and there have been reports nearly every week this year of killed or injured officers. A better officer or better training might have led to a better outcome, but the problem is definitely not that someone woke up on a clear blue morning and decided to create a shitstorm for the fun of it.
 

m4a4

TS Evangelist
I am by no means a police hater and am willing to hear any reasonable explanation, but I have not heard one so far.
Then stop being ignorant (like a lot of the comments on here) and read a few articles:
According to Livingston, Finch was ordered to put his arms in the air but instead moved a hand toward his waistband.
Literally from the article referenced in this article.

The guy unfortunately made a mistake at the wrong time, and the officer responded (remember, they were misinformed that he was unstable, just shot and killed his father, and had hostages).
And it seems like the District Attourney also recognizes it wasn't something the officer intended to do; kill an innocent man.

Hopefully this sentencing sends a message to anyone thinking of swatting someone...
 
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brucek

TS Maniac
Call me ignorant if you want, but IMO an armored SWAT team can wait to see an actual weapon before opening fire. I'd also want to see for example body cam footage and form my own opinion on the alleged "waistband" motion vs. accept the word of the guy who clearly screwed up on interpreting it if it even existed in the first place.

More generally, any system in which an ordinary person can be shot for opening their front door is flawed on its face.

But I agree the officer likely did not start his day wanting to murder someone, did not commit murder in the sense that word is generally used, and that our system needs to understand that no one doing any demanding job is consistently perfect. That means being able to call a mistake a mistake without it being a murder charge (which is what leads to people being so defensive about obvious screw ups and therefore prevents the system from working on improving itself like it should.)
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
More generally, any system in which an ordinary person can be shot for opening their front door is flawed on its face.
I agree.

To me, SWAT teams are a militarization of police, and their use can be egregiously excessive like the time that a SWAT team was sent to arrest six monks who had accidentally overstayed their visa, as only ONE example. https://www.ketv.com/article/monks-arrested-in-swat-team-action/7601220

IMO, laws that allow the use of deadly force by police need to be dialed back significantly, and police need to find different ways of handling situations like this.

FLIR could have been employed to see through the walls, and SOMEONE could have gotten the telephone number of the house and called to see if the situation was genuine. WTF? The guy supposedly called from the house, so in an effort to at least attempt to talk the supposed gunman down, it would have been worth a try to make contact first with the people inside the house.

I am not buying this :poop: that the man who was killed did not follow orders. IMO, since police have known about the practice of SWATTING for more than a decade, they should have done far more to verify that it was a real situation.

That said, I don't think that 20-years for this guy is enough. He should never get out, IMO.
 
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GrievingGod

TS Rookie
Police received a report that required them to respond.
Why did they need to respond? Because somebody said something over an anonymous phone call? Get a grip. Anyone can say anything, and they clearly do, as was evidenced here.

Just like a bunch of guilty cops saying "his hand moved toward his waste band" mmmhmm, sure, because he was pulling it away from the open door handle he was holding after he opened it.

You wanna live in a locked down police state? Continue being the bootlicking stooge of the thugs with badges carrying guns with no accountability what-so-ever, and you'll get it soon enough. We're already semi-there thanks to you and people like you so blind to the notion that power corrupts eminently nearly everyone who wields it.

Enjoy that boot Orwell spoke about, stomping your face for eternity.
 

brucek

TS Maniac
Are you seriously suggesting police can just stop responding to any and all cries for help? Or maybe require filling out a four page form first?

We live in a world where people experience life threatening situations and need immediate help. That's why we have police and why they have to respond.

Now, as to the manner of the response, could it have included a phone number check? A phone call? On the scene surveillance? I'm not picking a method, but sure, no doubt the response in this situation needed improvement. That's not saying it could have been ignored entirely.
 

Hexic

TS Evangelist
A little common sense goes a long way.

1. When in this sitution, officers are looking for threats to themselves and others and act accordingly, that’s how it works.
2. SWAT is a necessary force, I encourage you to study the 70s/80s for historical relevance.
3. FLIR can’t see through walls... I have no clue where you would get that idea, once more.. please at least pretend to Google what you’re talking about.
4. Police respond to anonymous calls because... that’s their job. And their response levels correspond to the report... common sense.
5. If you are staring down the gun barrels of a SWAT team and don’t feel like complying with exactly what they’re telling you, then whatever happens from that point on is either Darwinism or the grace of God. Whichever comes first.

*facepalm*
 

ZackL04

TS Guru
WHAT'S WORSE???

#1 The fact that someone would call up the police to go arrest or possibly kill someone else...

OR...

#2 The fact that the police's tactics are SO VIOLENT and SO PREDICTABLE that the swatter KNEW that the person he swatted would more than likely be arrested or killed and that the police would rush to do it without any investigation?

It's the same logic used by someone comitting "Suicide by cop"...they know exactly what they need to do to get the officer to kill them.

JUST THINK ABOUT THAT when you see these media scumbags and that TRASHBAG Rahm Emmanuel expressing so much rage for Smollet while cops kill unarmed citizens, lie about it and then get off.
Unfortunately its a double edged sword.
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
A little common sense goes a long way.

1. When in this sitution, officers are looking for threats to themselves and others and act accordingly, that’s how it works.
2. SWAT is a necessary force, I encourage you to study the 70s/80s for historical relevance.
3. FLIR can’t see through walls... I have no clue where you would get that idea, once more.. please at least pretend to Google what you’re talking about.
4. Police respond to anonymous calls because... that’s their job. And their response levels correspond to the report... common sense.
5. If you are staring down the gun barrels of a SWAT team and don’t feel like complying with exactly what they’re telling you, then whatever happens from that point on is either Darwinism or the grace of God. Whichever comes first.

*facepalm*
So FLIR can't see through walls. And cops should just go in guns blazing all the time?

What about windows and surveiling the house?

Have you ever heard of being startled or surprised? Put yourself in the situation: you are at home peacefully doing what you usually do and then you hear something outside. You go to your door and open it and find yourself staring down the barrel of an AR-15 and a mob of SWAT team members yelling at you. Tell me that would not startle you. Tell me you would react calmly and do exactly what they say, and I'll tell you your full of :poop: - at least your pants would likely be.

WTF? I guess that SWAT should just never try to verify anything, then, right?

That's the whole point - VERIFY.

From a psychological aspect, someone calling like that to say, I've killed people and I am going to kill more, is a call from that person, the shooter, for help. Calling back, and trying to verify is something that could be reasonably done.

But no just go in guns blaziing, that's the whole thinking these days - including in cases of active shooters. If anyone is ever caught in that kind of situation, say your prayers because current police thinking is to go in guns blazing and take out the active shooter - and if SWAT mistakes you for an active shooter - tough sh!t.

I strongly disagree with you that SWAT teams are necessary everywhere. I lived through the 70's and the 80's.

And, in case you are not aware of it, its :facepalm:
 

GrievingGod

TS Rookie
A little common sense goes a long way.

2. SWAT is a necessary force, I encourage you to study the 70s/80s for historical relevance.
*facepalm*
No, please edify us with your data that the lack of (needed) SWAT team violence in the 70s/80s when gasoline was overrun with mind altering inducing lead in any way compares to now.

You're moving goal posts which have already been firmly established by historical context in order to create a boogeyman that exists to the .001 percentile in order to protect crooked cops.
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
3. FLIR can’t see through walls... I have no clue where you would get that idea, once more.. please at least pretend to Google what you’re talking about.
I think you should take your own advice and learn that there ARE technologies that exist that CAN see through walls - case in point - https://akelainc.com/technologies/through-the-wall-detection-surveillance/
And
https://www.bbc.com/news/av/technology-38608135/radar-sensor-for-the-home-which-can-see-through-walls
But WTF, right? Just spend money on guns to blow anyone away who has no f'ing clue some jerk decided to SWAT them. Problem solved!
:facepalm:
 

Darth Shiv

TS Evangelist
WHAT'S WORSE???

#1 The fact that someone would call up the police to go arrest or possibly kill someone else...

OR...

#2 The fact that the police's tactics are SO VIOLENT and SO PREDICTABLE that the swatter KNEW that the person he swatted would more than likely be arrested or killed and that the police would rush to do it without any investigation?

It's the same logic used by someone comitting "Suicide by cop"...they know exactly what they need to do to get the officer to kill them.

JUST THINK ABOUT THAT when you see these media scumbags and that TRASHBAG Rahm Emmanuel expressing so much rage for Smollet while cops kill unarmed citizens, lie about it and then get off.
When you have a cluster**** society where police and SWAT have legitimate reason before they turn up to a location to be paranoid the other party is armed and extremely dangerous you reap what you sow.
The absolutely root fact of it is the US has a MASSIVE gun problem. The problem extends to many facets of society. Cops shooting unarmed civilians is one thing. Massive gun homicide rates. Active shooter drills in schools. People not trusting police to resolve their disputes. These are all signs you have a HUGE societal problem.
 

VitalyT

Russ-Puss
If Shane Gaskill gets a sentence as a conspirator, then US law is truly f-d up. In my view, he is not guilty of anything. But Casey Viner is indeed 100% a conspirator on this, and should get a proper sentence.

And Tyler Barriss now will be having daily swat visits for 20 years, well deserved.
 

loki1944

TS Maniac
A little common sense goes a long way.

1. When in this sitution, officers are looking for threats to themselves and others and act accordingly, that’s how it works.
2. SWAT is a necessary force, I encourage you to study the 70s/80s for historical relevance.
3. FLIR can’t see through walls... I have no clue where you would get that idea, once more.. please at least pretend to Google what you’re talking about.
4. Police respond to anonymous calls because... that’s their job. And their response levels correspond to the report... common sense.
5. If you are staring down the gun barrels of a SWAT team and don’t feel like complying with exactly what they’re telling you, then whatever happens from that point on is either Darwinism or the grace of God. Whichever comes first.

*facepalm*
Exactly.
 

Hexic

TS Evangelist
So FLIR can't see through walls. And cops should just go in guns blazing all the time?

What about windows and surveiling the house?

Have you ever heard of being startled or surprised? Put yourself in the situation: you are at home peacefully doing what you usually do and then you hear something outside. You go to your door and open it and find yourself staring down the barrel of an AR-15 and a mob of SWAT team members yelling at you. Tell me that would not startle you. Tell me you would react calmly and do exactly what they say, and I'll tell you your full of :poop: - at least your pants would likely be.

WTF? I guess that SWAT should just never try to verify anything, then, right?

That's the whole point - VERIFY.

From a psychological aspect, someone calling like that to say, I've killed people and I am going to kill more, is a call from that person, the shooter, for help. Calling back, and trying to verify is something that could be reasonably done.

But no just go in guns blaziing, that's the whole thinking these days - including in cases of active shooters. If anyone is ever caught in that kind of situation, say your prayers because current police thinking is to go in guns blazing and take out the active shooter - and if SWAT mistakes you for an active shooter - tough sh!t.

I strongly disagree with you that SWAT teams are necessary everywhere. I lived through the 70's and the 80's.

And, in case you are not aware of it, its :facepalm:
Easily googled the storyline behind the timeline and reasoning of SWAT team development. Just because you’re alive during a period of time doesn’t prove you developed omnipotence and omnipresence for that duration/

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2014/09/08/us/the-rise-of-the-swat-team-in-american-policing.amp.html

It was never stated to go in guns blazing - see the definition of straw man. Pretty much negates you’re fearmongering of “they’re just shooting everyone without investigation”.

There is only so much can be verified from a situation such as this without actually being inside - if you don’t agree with this, that’s just fine - it’ll be chalked up to you never having to deal with this yourself, and only using the television and internet for references.

And once more, using the “well then SWAT shouldn’t verify anything” is just silly. The lack of logic there isn’t even a defense it’s so weak. Straw man... again.
 
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Hexic

TS Evangelist
I think you should take your own advice and learn that there ARE technologies that exist that CAN see through walls - case in point - https://akelainc.com/technologies/through-the-wall-detection-surveillance/
And
https://www.bbc.com/news/av/technology-38608135/radar-sensor-for-the-home-which-can-see-through-walls
But WTF, right? Just spend money on guns to blow anyone away who has no f'ing clue some jerk decided to SWAT them. Problem solved!
:facepalm:
There are devices that can assist is helping LEO to see through objects, yes - but you specifically stated FLIR; which does not see through walls as you stated above that it did. Just because there are other devices that assist with this visibility issue, doesn’t negate your incorrect statement on FLIR.

Once again, straw man - “May as well just blow everyone away then!” That arguement is also invalid.

How things work in the UK are not directly comparable to the states. They simply aren’t 1-1 comparable. If you are convicted of this, then I encourage you to pick up a history book as to why.. not enough willpower or characters here to explain the last 300+ years of researchable history.
 
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