L.A. Man Arrested After Video-Game Dispute Leads to Deadly ‘Swatting’ Incident in Kansas
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Police in Los Angeles have arrested a man they suspect made a hoax emergency call that resulted in a SWAT police officer fatally shooting a man at the door of his own home in Kansas, a law enforcement official said Saturday.
Wichita Deputy Police Chief Troy Livingston on Friday characterized the hoax call as “swatting” and blamed a “prankster” who called 911 with a fake story about a shooting and kidnapping at the victim’s address. Authorities haven’t released the name of the man who was killed Thursday, but relatives have identified him as 28-year-old Andrew Finch.
Tyler Barriss, 25, is suspected of making that call and was arrested in Los Angeles on Friday, according to the law enforcement official. The official wasn’t authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press Saturday on condition of anonymity. The official had no information on possible charges or prospects for extradition.
In audio of the 911 call played by Wichita police at a news conference on Friday, a man said he shot his father in the head and that he was holding his mother and a sibling at gunpoint. The caller, speaking with relative calm, also said he poured gasoline inside the home “and I might just set it on fire.”
Officers subsequently surrounded the home at the address the caller provided and prepared for a hostage situation. When Finch went to the door, police told him to put his hands up and move slowly.
But Livingston said the man moved a hand toward his waistband – a common place where guns are concealed. An officer, fearing the man was reaching for a gun, fired a single shot. Finch died a few minutes later at a hospital. Livingston said Finch was unarmed.
The officer, a seven-year veteran of the department, is on paid leave pending the investigation.
Lisa Finch on Friday told reporters “that cop murdered my son over a false report in the first place.”
In addition to the 911 call, police also released a brief video of body camera footage from another officer at the scene. It was difficult to see clearly what happened.
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.”
Livingston said investigators were tracking online leads, and the law enforcement official who confirmed Barriss’ arrest said the incident stemmed from a dispute over “Call of Duty.”
The official said Barriss believed a person involved in the dispute lived at the address, but that investigators don’t believe Finch was the intended target. Finch’s mother said her son was not a gamer.
The official said it wasn’t clear if Barriss was involved in the dispute or if he had been recruited to make the false call.