On Friday, Los Angeles police arrested 25-year-old Call of Duty player Tyler Barriss for the death of an unarmed Kansas man, Andrew Finch.
Barriss is suspected of making the “swatting”) call that led to Finch’s death.
Swatting is dangerous prank that has grown in popularity among the gaming community. It involves one person making a hoax call to 911 about an ongoing hostage situation, usually at the home of another gamer who is live-streaming his game, which then prompts an emergency response by law enforcement. Often, these swats are live-streamed on Twitch, bringing notoriety to the swatters and entertainment to the audience.
In the hoax 911 call on Thursday, the suspect pretended to be a man that had shot his father and still held his mother hostage. “I shot him in the head and he’s not breathing anymore,” he said in the recording that was released by the Wichita Police Department.
“I might just pour gasoline all over the house, I might just set it on fire,” he added.
Wichita police rushed to the scene, expecting a hostage situation.
Instead, they found Andrew Finch, who is neither a gamer nor owns weapons, his mother told reporters after her son’s killing.
According to Wichita police chief Troy Livingstone, Finch had been told to raise his arms but instead made a movement as if to pull a gun out from his waistband, leading an officer to shoot. A police cam video that was released on Friday showed his shooting, but does not clearly show Finch to be armed.
Before the account was suspended, a user claiming to be responsible took to Twitter to say: “that kids house I swatted is on the news” and then “I DIDNT GET ANYONE KILLED BECAUSE I DIDNT DISCHARGE A WEAPON AND BEING A SWAT MEMBER ISNT MY PROFESSION.”
Another gamer, who claimed to be the other person involved, said in a since-deleted tweet, “Someone tried to swat me and got an innocent man killed.”
In an interview with reporters the next day, Finch’s mother asked, “What gives the cops the right to open fire? Why didn’t they give him the same warning they gave us? That cop murdered my son over a false report.”
A police cam video (warning: graphic content) that was released by the Wichita Police Department does not clearly show whether or not Finch presented a threat.