SWATter Gets 20 Years in Prison

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Tyler Barriss call of duty gamer swat wichita
Tyler Barriss (Bo Rader/The Wichita Eagle via AP, File)

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll remember our posts on a SWATting incident in Wichita, Kansas that resulted in the shooting death of an innocent man. A Call of Duty gamer in Los Angeles, Tyler Barriss, was later arrested for phoning in phony report of a shooting and kidnapping.

Barriss pleaded guilty to making the false police report back in November. Now, Mr. Barriss will be spending a good deal of the rest of his life in the graybar hotel.

Here’s the AP’s full report:


WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A California man was sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison for making bogus emergency calls to authorities across the U.S., including one that led police to fatally shoot a Kansas man following a dispute between two online players over a $1.50 bet in the Call of Duty: WWII video game.

U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren sentenced Tyler R. Barriss, 26, under a deal in which he pleaded guilty in November to a total of 51 federal charges related to fake calls and threats. The plea agreement called for a sentence of at least 20 years — well over the 10 years recommended under sentencing guidelines. Prosecutors believe it is the longest prison sentence ever imposed for the practice of “swatting,” a form of retaliation in which someone reports a false emergency to get authorities, particularly a SWAT team, to descend on an address.

Melgren said the case went into “uncharted legal territory,” that the law has not caught up with technology and the charges didn’t address the severity of what happened.

The 2017 death of 28-year-old Andrew Finch drew national attention to swatting. But Barriss had made dozens of such calls before that and was “known as the guy on Twitter that is good at this,” his attorney, Richard Federico, said.

Authorities say an Ohio gamer recruited Barriss to “swat” a Wichita gamer, but that the address they used was old, leading police to Finch, who was not involved in the video game or the dispute. Barriss called Wichita police from Los Angeles on Dec. 28, 2017, to falsely report a shooting and kidnapping at that Wichita address. Finch answered the door, and an officer shot the unarmed man.

Barriss apologized to Finch’s family on Friday, saying he takes full responsibility for what happened.

“If I could take it back, I would, but there is nothing I can do,” Barriss told the court. “I am so sorry for that.”

Federico described Barriss as a loner who “found solace in the gaming community” as he became a “serial swatter.” His best friend is someone he knows only online, Frederico said, his father died when he was young and his mother abandoned him.

Outside the courthouse, Finch’s sister, Dominica Finch, said Barriss got what he deserved, but that she also wants to see police held accountable. Finch’s family has sued the city of Wichita and the officers involved. Police have said the officer who shot Finch thought he was reaching for a gun because he moved a hand toward his waistband. Prosecutors declined to charge the officer.

Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett defended that decision.

“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,” Bennett said.

Barriss’ prosecution in Wichita consolidated other federal cases that had been filed against him in California and the District of Columbia involving similar calls and threats. Bennett also said Friday that he would dismiss state charges, including involuntary manslaughter, because Barriss would be getting more prison time from the federal charges than he could get in state court.

The FBI recognized swatting as an emerging threat as early as 2008, noting it had become commonplace among gamers.

“We hope that this will send a strong message about swatting, which is a juvenile and senseless practice,” U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister told reporters. “We’d like to put an end to it within the gaming community and in any other contact. Swatting, as I’ve said before, is not a prank.”

The intended target in Wichita, Shane Gaskill, 20, and the man who allegedly recruited Barriss, Casey Viner, 19, of North College Hill, Ohio, are charged as co-conspirators. Authorities say Viner provided Barriss with an address for Gaskill that Gaskill had previously given to Viner. Authorities also say that when Gaskill noticed Barriss was following him on Twitter, he gave Barriss that old address and taunted him to “try something.”

Viner and Gaskill pleaded not guilty to charges including conspiracy to obstruct justice, wire fraud and other counts. Viner has notified the court he intends to change that plea at a hearing scheduled for Wednesday. Gaskill’s trial has been delayed to April 23 amid plea talks with federal prosecutors.

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  1. And the police get a pass. If you or I kill somebody that is unarmed, there be somebody who can testify that they presented a credible threat. Reaching for their waistband doesn’t get it.

    • But, OFC, neither you nor I happen to be the Grand Poobah’s designated enforcers. It is very much in the authority’s interests to insure that their thugs are always protected from the consequences of their own actions. If they had to stand trial every time they killed a bystander because of an anonymous phone call, soon they might not want to oppress the citizenry anymore.
      What good would they be to the King then? What good is an oppressor who is afraid to step on a citizen’s neck? Thuggery must be encouraged among the enforcers at all costs. This is why historically we always go through the same 8 (or 9)stages of civilization. The authority figures get what they want(theft) for a while, but they always oppress more and more until the people cannot tolerate it any more. Then they violently overthrow the authorities, and replace them with some other figures. Who then repeat the cycle, over and over, Ad Nauseam.
      Whenever the thugs become so violent and fearful of those they are appointed to oppress that they shoot anything that moves (like in this, and many other, cases), even on the flimsiest of pretexts (again, like this case), the end of that system is not far off.

    • Yep, dude walked out on his front porch confused and they shot him.

      Both are responsible for his death.

      • This was an execution.
        Police were across the street behind a car, yet shot him in the head.
        Citizens have the right to be armed (just in case some of you forgot this fundamental right).
        A non police officer would be going to jail for second degree murder for a long time for this.
        Remember your CCW class? pretty hard to justify a long shot.

  2. Notable that this wasn’t a one-time thing he did, it was his regular go-to. This time someone got killed but if someone hadn’t this guy would have kept doing it until someone died. And even then probably wouldn’t have kept doing it until he got caught.

    Unfortunate that it takes someone dying for the system to really start filing serious charges.

  3. “Police have said the officer who shot Finch thought he was reaching for a gun because he moved a hand toward his waistband.”

    Lesson learned. Never try to scratch your b@lls around a cop.

  4. By the look of that picture he’ll be going in as a .410…until the first lights out…-30-

  5. As long as the police behave in their predictably trigger happy fashion, swatting is going to be a thing. No one prank calls and sends strippers to a rival’s house hoping for a fatal g string incident.

    • And “red flag” laws are just another form of swatting. Make a phone call, say someone is armed and dangerous, and the cops show up in force ready to deal with an “armed and dangerous” perp. What happens next is all too predictable.

  6. It’s really easy to “reach for the sky.” I’ve seen it a million times in cowboy movies. You can’t grab a gun out of thin air, and you can’t confuse the officer as to your intentions.

    If you put your arms up as high as they will go, chances are you will emerge unscathed. Why is this so difficult?

    • I hate to tell you this, but even with your hands in the air, poorly trained cops will still shoot your ass. Years ago they were training cops not to try and identity yourself to a active SWAT team as ANY action you take may get you shot.

    • Because fuck that. The onus should not be on the innocent to not get themselves shot. You sound like a battered wife: “If I would have just cooked his dinner perfect, he wouldn’t have beat me and the kids!”

      The civilian police should not be receiving training that is only appropriate in a war zone.

      Hell, strike that; the military code has much more stringent rules of engagement than the civilian cops in the US.

      • Well, I’m not a cop, but if I have a weapon on someone and I tell them not to move, suddenly reaching for their waistband is an excellent way to get shot by me.

        If we’re gonna woulda/coulda/shoulda this, I’d say the onus was on this sociopathic little fuck to have never put either of them in that position by making a phony call in the first place.

        • And you take the word of the cop that he was reaching for his waist band B’s.these cops who are cowardly murderers need to be held accountable.either by judges or by us.if you have to shoot an out of control cop don’t miss

  7. Militarization of CIVILIANS, is the PROBLEM. Washington conservative think tanks identified this problem as a growing cancer nearly two decades ago.
    Police are NOT THEM, and us civilians.
    They are civilians, they live in the community, not on a military base. This is a nationwide get on the ground, comply, comply, or they shoot to kill.
    30 years ago, our police officers were NORMAL LOOKING people. Not McFifes, but regular looking. These days, I don’t know how any of them have time to do ANY police work, as they now look like Russian Olympic weight lifters.
    I’m an honorary, I know agencies across the board, and your locals, who call “us” civilians, do not think of themselves as CIVILIANS, so, I ask….WTF are they, paid hit men?
    Society’s euthanasia dog catchers? This is a raw post. Really raw, but, TRUTH is as raw as it comes.
    I could get into the report, THE report, that analyzes WHO the “They” are that WILL fire on Americans.
    Down the road, if and when the REAL SHTF, they and theirs will find out, THEY are in fact, civilians, cause they will have to desert, and go to the house, to protect their own.
    I’m old, 40”s child. Politics has been my thing since 64′ and Goldwater. When the Trump term (s) end, be it Jan. 2021, or Jan 2025, THEN the fan will come to America.

    • massive defections during Katrina..then again NOPD doesn’t have the best of reputations..

      • I know. Its worse than we discuss generally.
        I see things others don’t.
        The most regretful to me, was the deaf driver lit up, pulled over, and since he did not comply, the Glock was in fear of its plastic, and the mute got wasted, cause they TALK with their HANDS.
        Conclusion? I’d deaf, and lit up, comply, pull over…left hand on wheel, arm straight, pistol bbl., under left armpit, get the first mag empty, then get out, lay on ground, and await the hord.
        Better tried by 12 than carried by 6.
        In the game of justice, everybody looses, best you can do, is take someone with you.
        If you* ( officers) are that intimidated, BACK OFF, Wait for backup.
        Same for medical cases, where bipolar’s don’t take their meds, go off the rails, family calls for help, the help becomes that black zippered body bag.
        Withdraw the army, send in the ME, baby sit, parlay…give me that SAO letter to operate, we’ll talk em’ down off the “ledge.” Protocols need to be looked at for the off the medication “perps.”

          • You must be an idiot. My training and experience over the decades is what that statement is about.
            It may be a visual, it may be in the paperwork, assholes that make uneducated diagnoses need to stfu unless you know what is going on.
            You are clueless, dude.
            Have you ever been to Whiteman, Offutt, MacDill. Do you know the back channel number to DOJ Voter Fraud Division? I’ve passed many background checks to be with Presidents, I can tell you WHAT compass direction A.F.One left Bradenton, Fl. on 9-11.
            I can tell you WHO knocked on the War Wagon window, to inform our best, our tower just was struck in N.Y.
            You only got to see the Dumbya look on TV.
            So, the psychiatrist at Groton Sub Base thought I was gtg, in fact, they liked me a lot.
            Atlanta was the last time I spoke to a spook, a recruiter, I made a recommendation.
            I had family members that were Secret Service, FBI.
            You my friend are a lightweight.

          • What’s the matter wuss, too much reality for you? Go to Bayshore Gate, MacDill, ask for Boogerdog. Someone will meet you and bring you to where he is.
            See you soon.

          • You also missed phone auto word change I’d…if you’re going to play Internet COP, get it right. You need more training before you’ll make VERBIAGE SNIPER.

        • So, in my experience, the people who talk the loudest about spec ops, cia, super secret crap are ALWAYS the ones who are posers….. and to anyone who has actually served in the military, or worked for a federal agency for real, they are about as obvious as a neon sign in the dark…… just sayin..

          • Sorry to disappoint you. I’m old, so I can talk a little now. I hear you, and I don’t have a retirement from a government agency to worry about, and my disgust with what I see, is enough to now comment elsewhere.
            I was banned from THE HILL in Dec. 2016. They didn’t seem to like posting WHERE Steele found his Dossier “bread crumbs to gather in the forest” or the FACT Brit Govt and MI5, 6 conspired with the Obumer Admin.to derail the Trump Train.
            What would you like to know, about the 2016 Election cycle, I was involved in the 3 to 5 mil. your heard then candidate DJT quote from the podium. Ask about the wandering delegate “anomoly” how it got the head campaign dude fired, it was a “shake n bake” or, the blue tooth thing on the Tarmac. Want to know the deal?
            So, if being on a sealboat in the 60”s counts, or working with U.S. Costoms to plaster ships, in the 70’and 80′ to PEGASUS, I’ll share, or 9-11 in Bradenton.
            I worked with Phil McNiff, former head of Tampa FBI office, and then again, when he was Steinbrenners Tampa Ship boss, as well as Yankees Ex.V.P.
            Hey, I have one phone number left, in D.C., but won’t give the name, but, I still have Cohen”s direct Tower number, and his cell phone number if it still is a working number.
            I proudly served base commanders as a civilian, have been places you’ll never likely see. In 2000, it was the straw vote at the Portofino, squashed, 74.5 % of delegates, I later found out, hadn’t been done since the Civil War in Florida at a state GOP convention.
            My win loss record with Karl, yes Rove, is 3-1, lol, and I penned the “Austin, We Have A Problem” email. That was AFTER Iowa, but before New “Hemp”shire, and by S.C., Laura was kicking Karl’s ass…he emailed, asked, “Got any ideas?” I penned the South Carolina Speech.
            By March of 2017, I realized POTUS had control of ZERO Alpha Agencies, that struggle continues to today. Karl is now calling for Barr to move forward, let it all go….we watch. Jury out on Barr.
            The 3 to 5 mil. illegal voters was a very conservative number, and you should be up in arms over handing any alien a ballot with Federal Races on it. Certain states DO allow aliens to vote in local and state elections, but on a Federal race, is is a crime.
            I’ve been into this chit since Goldwater in 64’… Florida now has a Commemorative Air Force wing, Boeing superstar Robert M. “Bob” Robbins, got it started, I didn’t have the quals to run a Wing, I got the package from the Dixieland Wing out of Atlanta, gave it to Bob.
            When you can advance the ball or move the needle, you recognize the need and just help pull the prop through.
            I was on the Sealion for a bit, 60’s, so old, we only had 1911’s, Thompsons, and WWII Garands. So this 40”s child of, has dropped a cylinder or two cardio-wise, but we still know who gets invited each year to the Koch Bros. bash, and who is the Western Cabal, who is for open borders and who are the RINOS.
            Some of us old dog’s just won’t give up the bone.
            It is going to be interesting to see if the DeclassTheirAss nets are deployed. And, just for some piss in the coffee urn this morning,
            the NRA Pres., was the person who broght CRACK to literally every town in America, under once classified operation PEGASUS. I was on the perifery in early 80’s, Ronnie apparently didn’t know daddy bush was running the show.
            It will take you a week to read up on that. Find GEORGE WEBB on utube. He is the preeminent authority on what and who is connected to what.
            I’m disgusted, so there are two choices, fight the flow, or just don’t go.
            But, ask me some questions, if I know about it, I will tell you.

    • hgc, why are you shouting so much? I have to agree with some of the other guys. It sounds like you’re “woofing shit.” At least that’s what we called it when I was active duty. That’s okay though. Someone has to be Walter Mitty. If not you, Strych9 is happy to step in.😃

      • Sorry, captn, my ears got shot out long time back, I didn’t realize. Btw, I assume ol’ Mr. Hosford is no longer living, but, back in 84, 85,I used to share a pepsi with him at the fenceline, just west of grade two in Robert Brent.
        In 97′ I learned his son was convicted and sentenced to federal, my friend was the prez. hywy.patrol/dot cr.u. who was tally area.
        What started the spirited discussion was “I notice things others don’t see.”
        Like on foggy overcast days, in ‘s tree stand, off grade two. And the dual engine low on the deck runs the railroad track route…I noticed. I knew. I wuz jus huntin…

    • Yawn. Don’t you have a rope to go piss up, dude?

      Nobody’s impressed, nobody’s intimidated, and nobody cares. Take your barking insanity someplace else.

    • Locked and loaded.my stepdad was a state cop 40’s/50s.he said you better not shoot untill you actually saw a gun.the gung ho murderers today know all they have to say is I feared for my lifeeee they want to kill.well it will turn back on them when we decide we no longer will let them murder us

  8. Good. Short of a presidential pardon, he’ll do at least 17 years. Feds only give 15% off for behaving.

  9. 2o years plus getting hung by the testicles with 2-inch diameter rope would be good.

    • If you don’t care about the Eighth Amendment, how can you expect anyone else to care about the Second Amendment?

      Amendment II: A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

      Amendment VIII : Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

  10. Some LEOs have always used drugs that they thought “helped” them. Steroids, uppers for long shifts(and rotating shifts), alcohol and downers to sleep. The “militarization” of police was rampant in big cities and was encouraged by chief Parker in Los Angeles in the 60s – leading to the Watts riots. Heavy handed police tactics is what makes the hoods explode – jobs lessen the effects.

  11. I’ve never understood how anyone would think there’s anything funny about “SWATing” someone else.

    The chances an innocent person gets killed are pretty darn high and any damn fool should be able to see that.

    • I agree.

      I’ve also never understood how anyone would think there’s anything funny about raping someone else. Yet, here we are again with some imbeciles that seem to think it’s funny. Instead, it indicates that there’s something wrong with the prison system to allow a crime that’s perceived as a common occurrence. I wonder sometime if the imbeciles think that those perpetrating rapes suddenly change their ways after they are released from prison.

      • The thing is that there is an issue with video game culture (ask me how I know).

        The problem isn’t so much the games themselves but the fact that there is a sliver of society that has absolutely disconnected from reality and substituted a digital version of life. In as much as they’ve *cough* “fully transitioned” to that digital lifestyle and they have lost touch with consequences for actions that are incredibly easy and, as Specialist says below, do things just because they can.

        Not many of these kind of people would pick up a gun themselves and do something stupid because that’s too “real” for them and they do understand on some level that if they die they won’t respawn. However the combination of a digital life and the emotional disconnect that can be had in a anonymous digital world has a downside in that it can cause it to be far easier than it should be to play games with someone else’s life.

        As such, they think that something like SWATing someone is a just a nasty joke. They don’t really consider the real-world ramifications of what they’ve done. Because they can dox and SWAT from the same chair that they play their games from it’s seductive to think, well probably more appropriately not think, that the first two are an extension of the latter. The result is a real-world consequence for a digital action which was incredibly easy in and of itself but which can cause real trouble off-line. They kind of look at it like ordering a pizza online for someone else who’s not expecting it. What could go wrong? It’s a harmless thing to do. Of course, the Domino’s guy doesn’t come with a dozen armed friends to kick down your door…

        That’s just my read of it.

    • There is a moral disconnect in a large portion of society.

      They think if they can do it, then why not?

      These are the people the Socialists are successfully recruiting.

      “Make me happy or die” is there motto.

      • Agree. Criminality does have a thin line. And if perception was ever reality, in this area it certainly is.
        Sometimes, even that blue color can be that thin line.

      • “There is a moral disconnect in a large portion of society.”

        I would say this is true but I would also add that there’s a disconnect from consequences too which results in people not thinking things through. As I said to John above, if it’s basically as easy to order a pizza online and have it sent to your friend who didn’t order it as it is to send an armed raid to his house, then what’s the difference? They’re both harmless jokes, right?

        It’s not like the cops or the delivery guy are going to show up and murder your friend right? Because, IRL, no one ever makes a mistake.

  12. Smart police departments are well aware of SWATing. They have been known to telephone the address and ask, “Did anyone call 911 to report a …?” I guess the Wichita PD isn’t that smart. Maybe, they learned from this experience.

    Three years ago, the Mesa, Arizona PD (suburb of Phoenix) shot a pest exterminator after getting a call that someone in the hotel was pointing a gun out the window. They had a complicated procedure for getting everyone out of the room that included having the suspect crawl down the hall on his belly. Indications are that he got shot for trying to pull up his pants. It would have been entirely adequate to phone him and say, “Walk out of the room slowly with your hands open and well away from your body. Don’t make any fast moves. If you scare us, you are likely to get shot.” It didn’t help that the victim was drunk on his ass at the time.

    • Phillip Mitchell Brailsford – I imagine that he has been hired by a PD somewhere- anybody know if is working as a cop again? Anybody think he is not a murder?

      • I don’t think I had seen the video of that before, so I looked it up based on your comment here.

        I don’t know if he was a murderer because of that but he sure was a powertripping d-bag. He even corrects the other officer when the officer says “clear”.

        Personally, I don’t think the dust cover on his rifle matters. However, based on the video of what he did and how he acted in that encounter I think strong argument could be made in my mind that the cop was looking to shoot someone and may have gone out of his way to create a situation that would give him an excuse to do so.

        The way he treated that kid was, and I mean apart from killing him, unprofessional at best. If you really don’t want to shoot someone you don’t go out of your way to make it as hard as possible for them to comply with your commands. That video almost had me waiting for the cop to say “OK, balance this ball on your nose and bark like a seal and come towards me while doing that BUT KEEP YOUR FUCKING HANDS UP OR I WILL SHOOT YOU! IF THE BALL HITS TO FLOOR YOU DIE!!! WHY ARE YOU BARKING LIKE A DOG!? I SAID ‘SEAL’!!”

        • Don’t move!

          Put your hands up!


          I shot him because he moved, he must’ve been going for a gun.

        • One of my problems with the trial is that the jury did not get to see the entire video. It was redacted. I don’t know what was redacted but it is hard to imagine that it wasn’t something incriminating. I’d also posit that setting up a situation were it was much more likely that they could find legal cover to kill shaver was tantamount to murder. The only thing they had against Shave was that someone had seen a rifle pointing out a window, not that the rifle had been pointed at anyone much less fire No shots had been fired so there was no evidence of a felony. Why treat him that way for misdemeanor? Seven armored police facing a an obviously heavily intoxicate crawling person many yards away are hardly in immediate danger. It seems to me that with them already pointing aiming there weapons at Shaver that it was very unlikely that Shaver could draw a weapon and kill any of them before they could shoot the shit out of him. If there ever was a situation in which police had time to actually wait to see a weapon that was it.I have also yet to hear any police officer criticize how Shaver was treated. Would any of the police that comment here have handled the situation the way the Mesa PD did? I doubt it.

        • I apologize, Accur81did indeed criticize the the apparent poor training of those MPD officers back in 2016.

    • That entire incident was on video. It was heartbreaking. The guy was obviously terrified, trying to cooperate with confusing instructions and no threat to anyone. The fact that cop isn’t on death row is a tremendous injustice.

  13. Now, with the proliferation of ‘red-flag’ laws, we’ll probably start seeing a whole new level of ‘swatting’!

  14. , It’s evident people don’t know what their doing and if this government does not step in and force the citizens to behave this country is going to wind up a dictatorship

  15. If FB Google Twitter and Instagram ban more videos and delete more accounts this will surely become a crime of the past.

    And ban bumpstocks, because pieces of plastic are also somehow responsible.

    And ban online gun games, because nobody needs a high capacity war weapon semi auto machinegun bayonet videogame.

    And phones, if there were no phones it would be impossible to abuse 911.

    Theres a whole lot of banning to be done if we want a safer world where thoughtcrime enforcers only blast white nationalists and Trump voters on their porches instead of gamer geeks.

  16. The police has to stop relying on tips without confirming that the tips are correct. This is purely their negligence to confirm bye they just chose to come in firing with no evidence. Shameful and cowardly of the police.

    Let them continue their cowards chant.

    “I would rather be judged by 12 than carried by six”.
    Altogether now.

  17. Texas had a law stating if you feel a cop is trying to murder you you have a right to kill that cop.might still be on the books.maybe someone could look that up

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