Authorities have charged 25-year-old Los Angeles man Tyler Barriss with manslaughter for allegedly placing a hoax call that led to a Wichita, Kansas police officer shooting and killing an innocent man, the L.A. Times reported.
Court records released on Friday showed that prosecutors charged Barriss with involuntary manslaughter, interference with law enforcement, and making a false alarm. According to the Times, Barriss is being held in lieu of $500,000 (£365,000) bail over the December 28th incident, in which he stands accused of phoning in a report of a fake hostage situation over a Call of Duty dispute—a form of hoaxing called “swatting” and which is intended to summon heavily armed police officers to an unsuspecting person’s home. Wichita police then arrived at a local address and shot and killed a man who was not involved in any level of the dispute.
Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett told the Times other “potential suspects” may be involved, but “As you might imagine anytime computers and gaming machines are involved, there’s a fair bit of forensic analysis involved.”Barriss, who Krebs on Security wrote posted online under the handle “SWAuTistic,” has a lengthy history of similar allegations, per the Times:
He pleaded no contest to charges of making false bomb threats in the Los Angeles area in recent years, sparking evacuations at a Glendale television station and two schools, records show.
Glendale police believe he was involved in at least two dozen other swatting and hoax calls around Southern California. The Los Angeles Police Department was investigating Barriss on allegations that he made similar calls in late 2017, and had planned a meeting with federal prosecutors before arresting the 25-year-old in connection with the Kansas incident.
According to Glixel, if convicted on the felony manslaughter charge, Barriss’ prison time could be“31 to 136 months depending on a number of factors including any prior criminal record.” The Globe and Mail noted that Canadian authorities recently charged Barriss with similar offences in Calgary, though no one was hurt in that incident.
The officer who fired the fatal shot in Wichita was placed on leave, and according to the Wichita Eagle, at least one expert who has reviewed evidence and footage says he “appears to have shot prematurely.” [L.A. Times]