Crime & Courts

What’s next for swatting suspect Tyler Barriss

By Amy Renee Leiker

aleiker@wichitaeagle.com

December 31, 2017 05:59 PM

Tyler R. Barriss — the man accused of making a swatting call in Wichita that left a 28-year-old man dead by police gunfire — is expected to appear in a California courtroom sometime this week in connection with the case.

The court appearance, which a Los Angeles, Calif., police officer said might happen as early as Tuesday, would be the first step in bringing 25-year-old Barriss to Kansas to face criminal charges. He is accused of reporting a fake killing and hostage situation in Wichita just after 6:15 p.m. Thursday.

In this video from the YouTube channel DramaAlert, a man who claims responsibility for a fake call to Wichita police answers questions about that call. The 911 call led to the death of Andrew Finch, 28. (Video courtesy of DramaAlert)

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Police went to the address given by the prank caller — 1033 W. McCormick — and shot and killed Andrew Finch after he opened his door to see why police cars were outside. Wichita Deputy Police Chief Troy Livingston has said Finch raised and lowered his hands after stepping onto the porch. An officer who feared Finch might be reaching for a weapon in his waistband fired at him. Finch was unarmed.

Swatting is falsely reporting a serious ongoing crime — like a killing, hostage situation or bomb threat — to draw a large police presence to an address. It has gained traction in recent years among online gamers.

Reports indicate a dispute between gamers in an online Call of Duty match led to the swatting call in Wichita. Finch did not play video games, family has said, and was not the intended target of the prank.

Los Angeles police arrested Barriss on a felony warrant in South Los Angeles on Friday afternoon. He’s being held in jail there without bond. It was unclear what felony crime Barriss was arrested on suspicion of committing. That information could be made public during Barriss’ court appearance in California, Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said.

The process of transferring a fugitive or wanted person from one state to another to face charges is called extradition. Barriss will be taken to a courtroom in California, served a copy of the arrest warrant issued by the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office and given the chance to apply for a court-appointed attorney. He’ll then have two options — waive extradition and come back to Kansas without a fight, or contest it.

If Barriss waives extradition, he’ll be brought to Kansas as soon as his transportation can be arranged - likely within days, Bennett said.

If he fights it, the Kansas governor’s office will send additional paperwork to California, and Barriss’ arrival in Wichita could take weeks.

Bennett said Sunday that his office is reviewing all possible charging options for Barriss while the Wichita Police Department continues its investigation.

One possible charge is making a false alarm, which includes telling police there is ongoing violence in an attempt to elicit an immediate reaction. Whether he would face any kind of homicide charge is unknown.

Barriss has been arrested for making false emergency calls in the past, bomb threats to a Glendale, Calif., television station in 2015.

Warning Graphic Content: Wichita Police Department releases the body camera video of officer-involved shooting. Police say the man shot was a victim of swatting. (Video by Wichita Police Department)

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Amy Renee Leiker: 316-268-6644, @amyreneeleiker