Man who admitted role in Kansas 'swatting' death gets 20 years

By Peter Szekely (Reuters) - A California man was sentenced on Friday to 20 years in federal prison for making hoax calls, including a so-called 'swatting' incident where Kansas police responded to a false report and fatally shot an unarmed man, prosecutors said.

Reuters March 30, 2019 02:07:19 IST
Man who admitted role in Kansas 'swatting' death gets 20 years

Man who admitted role in Kansas swatting death gets 20 years

By Peter Szekely

(Reuters) - A California man was sentenced on Friday to 20 years in federal prison for making hoax calls, including a so-called "swatting" incident where Kansas police responded to a false report and fatally shot an unarmed man, prosecutors said.

Tyler Barriss, 26, of Los Angeles, California, pleaded guilty last November in U.S. District Court in Wichita, Kansas, to charges stemming from the December 2017 incident as well as dozens of similar hoax calls in which no one was hurt.

"I hope that this prosecution and lengthy sentence sends a strong message that will put an end to the juvenile and reckless practice of ‘swatting’ within the gaming community, as well as in any other context," U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said in a statement.

Swatting refers to a prank in which a caller falsely reports an emergency that requires a police response, usually by Special Weapons and Tactics, or SWAT, teams.

The Kansas case arose from a spat between two online video gamers, Shane Gaskill, 20, of Wichita and Casey Viner, 19, from a suburb of Cincinnati, prosecutors said. Both pleaded not guilty last June to federal charges against them.

Viner is scheduled for a hearing next Wednesday at which he is expected to plead guilty to charges in the case, court documents showed. Gaskill is set to go on trial in Wichita on April 23.

While playing an online video game on Dec. 28, 2017, Viner got upset at Gaskill and contacted Barriss, a known swatter, to punish him, federal prosecutors said.

Viner gave Barriss an address he believed was Gaskill's, not knowing that Gaskill had given him a phony address in Wichita, authorities said.

Barriss admitted making the hoax calls to Wichita police. Authorities said he used a false name to report that he shot and killed his father, was holding his mother and brother at gunpoint, and was threatening to set fire to the address he received from Viner and commit suicide.

When Wichita police arrived at the address, an officer shot and killed Andrew Finch, 28, as he stood at the front door of his home.

Barriss, who pleaded guilty to making a false report resulting in a death, cyberstalking and conspiracy, also admitted to making numerous hoax bomb threats in several other states, the District of Columbia and Canada.

Barriss had also faced state charges in Kansas, but a spokesman for the Sedgwick County Office of the District Attorney said in an email on Friday they were being dismissed following his federal sentencing.

(Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Diane Craft)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.