Police arrest suspect behind Call of Duty swatting death

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

Swatting—the act of making a hoax 911 call in the hope it will lead to armed responders turning up at an address—has been around for a while. But on Thursday, what’s thought to be the first ever swatting-related fatality took place. One day after the incident, the man who allegedly made the prank call was arrested.

25-year-old Tyler Barriss was taken into custody over his alleged role in the death of 28-year-old Andy Finch, a father-of-two from Wichita, Kansas.

The incident was reportedly the result of a $1.50 wagered Call Of Duty online match, with two players on the same team apparently blaming each other for their loss, but what makes this even more tragic is that Finch had no involvement in the match or the argument that ensued.

One of the COD players, who used the Twitter handle @SWauTistic, threatened to swat a user called @7aLeNT. The latter player dared @SWauTistic to “please try some shit,” and even provided an address to do so, but it wasn’t his own.

@SWauTistic, believing this really was @7aLeNT’s home, 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. @SWauTistic also threatened to burn the house down.

'That was the information we were working off of,' Deputy Wichita Police Chief Troy Livingston told to the Wichita Eagle.

Armed police quickly arrived at the address expecting a hostage situation, but it was an unsuspecting Finch who answered the door. According to Livingston, Finch was ordered to put his arms in the air but instead moved a hand toward his waistband. One officer, convinced that the father was reaching for a gun, fired a single round. Finch died within minutes. His mother, Lisa Finch, said the whole family was made to step outside barefoot into the cold, and that her granddaughter was forced to step over her dying uncle. She insisted that Andy wasn’t a gamer; it appears the address was one chosen at random by @7aLeNT.

Finch had no weapon on him at the time he was shot. The officer who fired the shot has been placed on administrative leave.

A day later, police arrested Barriss, who is suspected to be @SWauTistic. As his username suggests, he is a serial swatter and also claims credit for a number of hoax bomb threats, including one targeting the offices of an ABC affiliate in Los Angeles in 2015, and the recent hoax that delayed the FCC’s Net Neutrality vote. He’s been arrested twice before, once for a bomb hoax.

Speaking before the arrest during an interview with YouTube channel DramaAlert, a person claiming to be Barriss said: “It's my personal belief that I didn't cause someone to die.”

“The call was made by me, but as far as the whole incident, you could point the finger at a few different people. You could point the finger at the cop that shot him. You could point the finger at the guy who made the call. You could point the finger at the person that gave the address.”

Barriss was equally unapologetic on Twitter. After posting,“That kids house that I swatted is on the news,” he sent out another tweet that read: “I DIDNT GET ANYONE KILLED BECAUSE I DIDNT DISCHARGE A WEAPON AND BEING A SWAT MEMBER ISNT MY PROFESSION.”

Police say the FBI is now involved in the case.

Permalink to story.

 

cliffordcooley

TS Redneck
It's not that simple.
It is just that simple. If they fire the first shot, they are the cause of the situation going south quickly. There is a reason why martial artist are considered deadly weapons and held responsible if someone gets hurt. Cops are no different, yet they get away with it simply because they wear a badge. Deadly force should only be a last resort, not a first response. People need to know the cops are there, and why they are there, before they can be expected to cooperate period. If people don't know what is going on, you never know what to expect. And pointing a gun at them until they do is playing jeopardy with their well being.

The whole notion of barge in, capture, and ask questions later is all wrong. They're not even looking for a peaceful outcome that way. They only prove just how big they're head is, behind that badge. People should be given the opportunity to come out peacefully, especially if the charges against them are based on the word of a single caller.
 

Lionvibez

TS Evangelist
It's not that simple. When dealing with potentially life threatening situations things can go down south really fast really easily.
While I agree with you that is still a trigger happy officer.

What is one guy at his door way going to do when the whole swat team is there weapon's ready. Could have shot him in the leg or anywhere else non life threatening.

Training the swat team for head shots instead of DE-escalating the situation is the problem.
 

penn919

TS Maniac
I understand the desire to empathize with the SWAT officer who shot the civilian. It was a dangerous situation all parties were thrust into; however, it doesn't change the fact that an innocent man did something as innocuous as answering his door and was killed merely for being startled.

The police were the ones who were the trained professionals in the situation. It's not enough to shrug our shoulders and place all the blame on the prankster. Under no circumstances should I be shot just for answering my door.

They say he shouldn't have made a sudden movement? Well that tends to happen when you suddenly realize you're being ambushed!
 

J spot

TS Maniac
People are so naive. The cops are there under the impression that the guy shot his father in the head, has his mother and little brother locked in a closet, and is about to burn the house down. Yet in hindsight they wanted the police to let the guy shoot first, or maybe shoot the gun out of his hands, and other naive statements that show they have absolutely no clue about such tense life and death situations. The cops have families, they're not going to work under the impression that this is a swatting situation.

From the video it looked like the guy was pulling something. My guess is that perhaps this was all surreal to him and kept forgetting to put his hands up. And while his hands were going down, he quickly remembered and quickly jerked his hands back up and one of the officers shot.

All too horrible, the only one that deserves any blame is the swatter, putting people in such extreme danger. Unfortunately he might not get that much time. I believe another swatter got 13 months in prison, and another 5 years. Maybe they can charge him with something extra due to the fact that somebody died. I don't know how doing it from a different state will affect things.
 

cliffordcooley

TS Redneck
Maybe they can charge him with something extra due to the fact that somebody died. I don't know how doing it from a different state will affect things.
I'm fairly certain those charges would be enough to extradite, especially within the same nation. After extradition a state or national line means nothing.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: dms96960

aLilBabyOtter

TS Rookie
The cops are there under the impression that the guy shot his father in the head, has his mother and little brother locked in a closet, and is about to burn the house down. Yet in hindsight they wanted the police to let the guy shoot first, or maybe shoot the gun out of his hands, and other naive statements that show they have absolutely no clue about such tense life and death situations. The cops have families, they're not going to work under the impression that this is a swatting situation.

From the video it looked like the guy was pulling something. My guess is that perhaps this was all surreal to him and kept forgetting to put his hands up. And while his hands were going down, he quickly remembered and quickly jerked his hands back up and one of the officers shot.
Agreed. People are over-simplifying it and not taking into account that the cops don't know that it's not a real situation. As far as they are aware, someone has already killed and is trying to kill more. They can't go in nicely. They don't know that it's just a prank.

Could they have tried something different instead of shooting first? Ehhhh maybe, but I wouldn't expect them to. Once again, they're going in under the pretense that someone has just shot their father in the head and is about to kill the rest of their family. As far as they know, this person has used and is willing to use deadly force, so they are allowed to use deadly force against him.

Is it messed up? Yes. Do I think it's the cops fault? No. It all goes back to the fact that they don't know it's a prank, and they can't take the situation lightly just in case it is. I hope the swatter gets ****ed hard, and I hope this story will make it all over the news so that people will stop treating swatting as if it's just a silly prank.
 

Red Desires

TS Member
I understand the point of this whole debate, I do. But while everyone is debating over who's fault it is, the fact that this situation even occured in the first place is being overlooked. What is wrong with people today that they would waste the time of law enforcement, put someone's life at risk, (whether they know them or not) and not only have absolutely no remorse about it afterwords, but seem to gloat about the whole incident. All over an argument over a video game. This has got to be one of the stupidest things I have have seen, and what's worse is that an innocent person lost his life over this childish prank. If this practice has been going on for a while, then why hasn't it been nipped in the bud before this? Why are these kids thinking that this is, "okay" to do?

And the fact that the name of the game is predominantly displayed in the title and the video is only going to have some people blame the "violence of video games", when really the game had nothing to do with it.
 

cliffordcooley

TS Redneck
Agreed. People are over-simplifying it and not taking into account that the cops don't know that it's not a real situation. As far as they are aware, someone has already killed and is trying to kill more. They can't go in nicely. They don't know that it's just a prank.
I damn sure don't want you to have a badge and a gun, if you think the job doesn't require assessment and thought before carrying out a death shot. There is such a thing as taking cover until you know it is safe. To spite the badge looking like a shield and giving the authority to kill if necessary, doesn't give them the right to stand boldly at a door and shoot someone having a panic attack.
 

Nobina

RTX 2080 Ti and iPhone XS MAX 512GB
The amount of people defending the cop is insane. Part of his job is to be able to handle himself in high pressure situations where there's little time to react. When you become a police officer you sign up for this kind of ****. Yes, the cop has a family like everyone else but that doesn't give him a pass to be a whimp and shoot a guy because of what he might do. By your logic any time there's a potentionally dangerous situation, which is almost every time, police should just shoot everyone to not risk their lives cause they have a family.
 

MannerMauler

TS Addict
It's not that simple. When dealing with potentially life threatening situations things can go down south really fast really easily.
While I agree with you that is still a trigger happy officer.

What is one guy at his door way going to do when the whole swat team is there weapon's ready. Could have shot him in the leg or anywhere else non life threatening.

Training the swat team for head shots instead of DE-escalating the situation is the problem.
If you watch this video, you'll understand why they can't just shoot them in the leg.


Imagine this, you're a cop and you get a call that some kid shot his dad in the head and is about to burn his family alive. You walk up to the door, gun drawn. A man opens the door. You tell him to put his hands up but instead of doing so, he reaches to his waist, a common area for people to put their guns. You have between 5 and 15 seconds to determine whether he's about to shoot you. If you shot him in the leg or arm, he's gonna get hella mad and unload his weapon on you. You'd be surprised how many bullets an adrenaline filled person can take.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: psycros

cliffordcooley

TS Redneck
This is why I hate this topic. If you shoot an intruder in your home you better hope they fall inside. And you better hope they die when you do hit them. If not you will likely be sued by the intruder.

And now you have this de-lema, with a cop shooting you in your own home. You can be prosecuted for using a gun in your own home for your protection. But law enforcement has the freedom to ignore your protection in your home from liars who mean you harm. If it wasn't the mans home, I might would feel differently. People should feel safe in their home from everyone, that includes cops.
 

MannerMauler

TS Addict
There is no reason why every situation can not be handled the same way. Regardless of the charges the person being charged should at least be able to calm down and speak on their own behalf before being shot and killed.
https://www.quora.com/Police-Procedures-What-are-the-basic-principles-of-hostage-negotiation
Once you kill someone and threaten to kill more, the police have no choice but to go in and try to save anyone still alive. Chances are that if you already killed a hostage, you won't let the others go freely.
 

cliffordcooley

TS Redneck
Once you kill someone and threaten to kill more, the police have no choice but to go in and try to save anyone still alive. Chances are that if you already killed a hostage, you won't let the others go freely.
So you are saying people should be prosecuted without proof, because that is what happened here. There is a reason we have a court system and laws, and they failed this man. The fact they were operating on false intelligence has nothing to do with the system failing this man.
 

MannerMauler

TS Addict
So you are saying people should be prosecuted without proof, because that is what happened here. There is a reason we have a court system and laws, and they failed this man. The fact they were operating on false intelligence has nothing to do with the system failing this man.
This is not prosecution, this is going in, trying to detain the subject, hopefully without killing him, and saving the hostages. If I was the cop who shot him, this'd be haunting me for the rest of my life. I'd be waking up sweating in the middle of the night, reliving that moment over and over and over, wondering if I did the right thing. I have brothers and sisters. I have nieces and nephews. I'd be thinking about what if it was me on the other side and my little sister had to step over my dead body.

Of course, I feel terrible for this family. I can't even begin to imagine what they must be going through. It makes me sick but you have to step in the officer's shoes. What if it was you, standing on that doorstep, knocking on the door, expecting to see a man with the back of his head missing, laying down on the ground. A mother and her child, sitting in a corner with a gun, held by her son, aimed at her head. That same boy telling the cops he's going to light the house on fire.

There's a major difference between sitting in a courtroom, two sides arguing whether a man is guilty and a few cops getting a call that a son just murdered his father and then having to walk into that scene that you'd think was something out of a horror movie. Please don't confuse sitting in a courtroom with walking into a scene where, as far as the cops know, a kid has just killed one parent and is about to kill another and their little sibling.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kenrick and psycros

psycros

TS Evangelist
Here's the point that I think everyone misses about "swatting": why aren't regular uniforms sent in to assess the situation first? Why do they go straight to the team with full auto weapons and a paramilitary mindset? That's the question I want answered before we even try to figure out the rest of this mess. That said, a person who is considered in their right mind and makes ANY knowingly false call to emergency services should do two years minimum.
 

Drew Valadez

TS Booster
Here's the point that I think everyone misses about "swatting": why aren't regular uniforms sent in to assess the situation first? Why do they go straight to the team with full auto weapons and a paramilitary mindset? That's the question I want answered before we even try to figure out the rest of this mess. That said, a person who is considered in their right mind and makes ANY knowingly false call to emergency services should do two years minimum.
Yeah, that sounds like a WONDERFUL idea.

http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/2-Santa-Cruz-officers-shot-to-death-4311095.php

Both of those officers we're co-workers, one a friend, of my parents. It's easy to throw out suggestions when you don't have any past or current experience in a matter like this. And I am asking you, stop. You're only throwing fuel on the wrong fire.

Everyone who mentions over/under training, poor training, militarization of LEO, etc.... Do you guys know what you're talking about or do you parrot everything you are fed from you're favorite flavor of media?

Do you people actually realize how much training these officers go through? Do you understand how understaffed many agencies are across the country? Do you understand how restricted things have become on each one of them because of incidents like these arise because of un-trained or un-experienced people yelling their non-professional opinion on a topic like this so the agency knee jerk reaction to appeal to the public? (AKA: Keyboard warriors) These things are not as black and white as you are all making it out to sound.

Should this officer be investigated? Definitely. Should he lose his job? No but let's allow the investigation determine otherwise. I am not saying to hold your skepticism back but if you aren't a military vet or an active, or retired, LEO, you have no place to speak of what they SHOULD DO in these situations, you're only furthering the stupidity of "Send in plain clothes cops to assess a situation before sending SWAT." resulting in the linked article or "Why didn't they send enough force to stop this before guy X took Y many more lives!? They didn't respond fast enough!"

And before someone says I am a "bootlicker" or something similar, my family thinks I am a Kapernick loving "cop hater", so don't think I am not trying to look at this objectively.