A serial prankster from Wichita, Kansas, and two Call of Duty gamers involved in a fatal swatting case were indicted on federal charges this week.
The indictment, which was unsealed Wednesday, charged Tyler Barriss, 25, with involuntary manslaughter, false information, cyberstalking, hoaxes, wire fraud, and conspiracy.
Casey S. Viner, 19, the gamer that hired Barriss to stage a swatting prank on a COD rival but got the address wrong, was also indicted with multiple counts of conspiracy to obstruct justice, conspiracy, and wire fraud. Viner’s COD rival Shane M. Gaskill, 19, faces similar charges.
The case stems from the fatal shooting of Andrew Finch, 28, by the Wichita police on his family’s porch on December 28. The police arrived at Finch’s home after Barriss called 911 to report a hostage situation and a murder at the man’s address.
Barriss got Finch’s address from Viner who falsely believed that it belonged to Gaskill. Police officer Justin Rapp shot down and killed Finch after the man got out of the home to meet the cops. The police officer initially said that he though Finch was holding a gun.
Victim Had No Association with the Two Gamers
Barriss had lied to the 911 dispatcher that Finch killed his father and was keeping the rest of the family hostage while threatening to burn down the house and kill himself.
After the killing, the police said the victim didn’t comply with the officers’ commands. Finch carried no handgun, was not a gamer, and was not associated with the two COD gamers’ dispute.
Viner and Gaskill got in a dispute on December 28, when Gaskill accidentally “killed” Viner’s Call of Duty World War II character, prompting Viner to lose $1.5 in a bet. Gaskill played the game from his Wichita home, while Viner was playing the game from Ohio.
Viner called Barriss asking for his services that night. The 25-year-old was known as a serial “swatting” prankster in the gaming community.
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