WICHITA — A California man accused of making a hoax emergency call that resulted in the fatal police shooting of an unarmed Kansas man said he regrets that someone died but evaded questions about whether he made the call that caused the shooting.
Tyler Barriss 25, is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the Dec. 28 death of Andrew Finch, 28, who was shot by police after officers went to a Wichita home in response to what turned out to be a fake report about a shooting and kidnapping.
During interviews with KWCH-TV on Friday and Sunday, Barriss said he was sorry a person died and said he was willing to accept whatever punishment he receives. At one point in the interview, Barriss said he wished the night Finch was killed he could have “rewound somehow and never done it,” but when asked directly whether he made the call, Barriss declined to answer.
“Of course, you know, I feel a little of remorse for what happened. I never intended for anyone to get shot and killed. I don’t think during any attempted swatting anyone’s intentions are for someone to get shot and killed,” Barriss said from the Sedgwick County jail, where he is being held on $500,000 bond.
“I’ll just take responsibility and serve whatever time, or whatever it is that they throw at me. I’m willing to do it,” he said.
Barriss admitted that he had been paid in the past to make similar hoax calls, sometimes called “swatting,” but again declined to say whether someone paid him to make the call to Wichita. He said he began making such calls after he and his grandmother were victims of a swatting call in 2015.
People who make hoax calls do it for the shock value and to get a police response, he said.
“Anytime a swat hoax call is attempted, I’m never looking for someone to get shot and killed,” he said. “Why would you want that sitting on your conscious?”
Prosecutors contend Barriss was in Los Angeles when he called police with a fake story about a shooting and kidnapping in Wichita.
When police responded to the address, an officer fatally shot Finch after he opened his door. Police have said Finch moved a hand toward his waistband and an officer, fearing he was reaching for a gun, shot him. Finch was unarmed.
Barris said he hoped others who make hoax calls will see this case as a reason to stop, adding he hoped swatting calls are “something that ceases to exist.”
“It hasn’t just affected my life, it’s affected someone’s family, too,” he said. “Someone lost their life.”