LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles County man was sentenced Friday to 20 years behind bars for making a hoax emergency call to law enforcement in which an innocent Kansas man was shot and killed by police.
Tyler R. Barriss, 26, was sentenced in Wichita, Kansas, by a federal judge under an agreement in which he pleaded guilty in November to dozens of charges brought by federal prosecutors in Los Angeles, Kansas and Washington, D.C., related to fake calls and threats, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
In the case, Barriss admitted making fake emergency calls on Dec. 28, 2017, that resulted in police surrounding a Wichita house, believing there was a man inside who had killed his own father and was holding family members hostage. The man who came outside to face police — Andrew Finch, 28 — however, had done nothing wrong and did not know about the call. As he stepped onto the porch, police told him to put up his hands. When he unexpectedly dropped his hands, he was shot and killed.
The phony call that led to Finch’s death drew national attention as the first documented fatal case of swatting, a hoax designed to provoke a law enforcement response to a nonexistent threat.
Barriss’ fake call stemmed from a dispute over a $1.50 bet on an online game of “Call of Duty.” Finch had nothing to do with the game, but police were given his address because it was the former home of one of the gamers, according to the DOJ.
In January, three men — Neal Patel, 23, of Des Plaines, Illinois; Tyler Stewart, 19, of Gulf Breeze, Florida; and Logan Patten, 19, of Greenwood, Missouri — were charged in Los Angeles with allegedly conspiring with Barriss to make hoax reports of bombs and murders to police departments, high schools and a convention center across the United States.
The three defendants are charged in separate indictments with conspiracy and conveying false information concerning the use of an explosive device.