April 2, 2019

WELL, GOOD: Man gets 20 years for deadly “swatting” hoax.

Tyler Barriss, whose hoax call to Wichita police led to the shooting death of an innocent man, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison, the Associated Press reports. The sentence in Kansas federal court is a stark reminder of the serious consequences of the deadly prank called “swatting.”

The December 2017 death of Andrew Finch began with an online feud over a Call of Duty game. Casey Viner, then around 18 years old, allegedly recruited Barriss to “swat” the Wichita home of Shane Gaskill, who was about 19. Barriss called Wichita police pretending to be a deranged man with a gun holding members of his family hostage, giving what he believed was the target’s address.

As Barriss expected, the police responded by dispatching a SWAT team. But Gaskill lied to Barriss about where he lived. As a result, police surrounded a home occupied by the Finch family, which had nothing to do with the online dispute.

It wasn’t a hoax — it was premeditated murder, using the police as the murder weapon. What gets lost in the shuffle though is that too many SWAT teams are just too trigger-happy.

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