Sincere congratulations to the Los Angeles Police Department for making this arrest. If you’re new to this story, you can read my post about this deadly SWATting here, as well as my own account of having been a SWATting victim in the past. I published the audio of the SWATting call and the body cam footage of the shooting here. Now a suspect has been arrested in Los Angeles:
A 25-year-old California man was arrested in connection to an online quarrel between two “Call of Duty” gamers that prompted a hoax call and led to a man being killed by police in Kansas.
Los Angeles police on Friday arrested Tyler Barriss, who law enforcement claimed is the “prankster” who called 911 and made up a story about a kidnapping in Wichita, ABC 7 reported.
Barriss reportedly gave police the address he believed the other gamer lived.
In the audio of the 911 call, the caller claimed his father had been shot in the head and that he was holding his mother and a sibling at gunpoint. The caller added that he poured gasoline inside the home and “might just set it on fire.”
. . . .
Dexerto, an online news service focused on gaming, reported that the series of events began with an online argument over a $1 or $2 wager in a “Call of Duty” game on UMG Gaming, which operates online tournaments including one involving “Call of Duty.”
The mother of the SWATting victim says her son was not a gamer. If that’s right, this was not just a SWATting, but also a SWATting in which the SWATter gave the wrong address. The man who opened his front door probably had absolutely no idea why he was being shouted at by police.
It’s reassuring to see law enforcement taking a SWATting seriously for once. It’s a shame that it took someone getting killed to motivate them. As I mentioned in my initial post, the “investigation” of my own SWATting was slipshod and laughable. The FBI waited so many months to gather basic evidence, some of it was purged in the interim. Evidently that lazy and disinterested level of energy was not in play here — for obvious reasons.
If the evidence is there to show the suspect made the call, I hope he is charged with murder. The act of making a SWATting call creates a high risk of death, and the person making the call knows it, and either intends that death or doesn’t care. If someone dies as a result, that’s murder, any way you slice it.
Some online are also calling for the prosecution of the police officer who fired the fatal shot. That may well be called for, but it also may be a heavy lift. The body cam footage (which I published here) does not clearly show the actions of the SWATting victim, which would be relevant to the officer’s mindset, even though the decedent was obviously innocent of any wrongdoing. The witnesses are all likely to be police officers with a possible bias towards justifying the shooting. Again, however, depending on the facts, a prosecution might be appropriate.
Unless you’re a radical salivating cop-hater who believes all cops are looking to shoot people for sport (and there are plenty such people online, I have found), you understand that the mindset of a police officer firing out of (even totally unreasonable) fear is different from the premeditated and malicious intent of the person who made the SWATting call.
I again think back to the two times I have faced police officers pointing guns at me — both resulting from misunderstandings that were quickly resolved — and I thank God that the officers did not have itchy trigger fingers. It’s a very volatile situation — and in this case, that situation was created entirely by the SWATter.
Charging the SWATter with murder in this case, if they can show he made the call, should be a no-brainer. I’ll stay on top of this story for you.