Suspect in Wichita swatting case accused of similar call in Canada

Tyler Barriss, left, flanked by public defender, Mearl Lottman, appears for an extradition hearing at Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via AP, Pool)

WICHITA —The California man arrested in connection with a fatal swatting incident in Wichita has also been charged for a similar hoax in Canada earlier in December.

 

Tyler Barriss, 25, who is awaiting extradition to Kansas, is accused of calling 911 in Calgary, Alberta, on Dec. 22, claiming that he had shot his father and was holding his mother and younger brother hostage, the CBC reported.

As officers on the scene attempted to confirm the reported information, 911 received a call from a woman at the address who said she suspected she was the victim of a swatting call, according to a statement released by Calgary police. The woman walked out of her house and police were able to confirm the call was false. No one was hurt.

Barriss has been charged with public mischief, fraud and mischief in connection with the incident. But he will face charges in Kansas first.

Barriss was charged in Wichita on Dec. 29 with the felony of making a false alarm.

Barriss is accused of reporting a fake homicide and hostage situation to the Wichita Police Department just after 6:15 p.m. on Dec. 28. The “crime” he reported in Wichita mirrored what was reported in Calgary.

Reports say Barriss was called by someone after a feud between two Call of Duty players broke out over a virtual “friendly kill” during a game earlier that day. There was a $1.50 wager over the game.

One of the players allegedly called Barriss and requested he “swat” another player. A man claiming he was responsible for the swatting said he was given an address on McCormick Street by another player, he said during an interview with the DramaAlert channel on YouTube.

Swatting is the term when someone calls police with a fake story of a serious ongoing crime – like a killing, hostage situation or bomb threat – in an effort to draw a large police presence to an address. It has gained traction in recent years among online gamers.

Police went to the address, expecting to find a homicide victim and two hostages. Instead, Andrew Finch, 28, opened his front door when he saw police lights outside and didn’t know why. Wichita police say he was given commands to keep his hands raised, but he reached toward his waistline multiple times.

When he reached his hands up suddenly, police say an officer who was standing in a driveway across the street from Finch shot him.

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