“Swatter” Tyler Barriss Pleads Guilty to 51 Federal Charges

Canary. Photo by 4028mdk09.

“With his public defender at his side and two law enforcement officers on guard at his back, Tyler Barriss pleaded guilty Tuesday afternoon to 51 federal charges involving fake bomb threats, murders and other violence reported at schools, shopping centers, TV stations, homes and government buildings across the country,” the Wichita Eagle reported Tuesday.

According to an Associated Press report Dec 30, 2017, 25-year-old Californian Tyler Barriss, a was arrested in Los Angeles, California, on suspicion of perpetrating a “swatting” hoax call to police in Wichita, KS on December 28, that resulted in a man being fatally shot by police on the steps of his home when they responded to a 911 emergency call from a person claiming they had just killed their father and were holding their mother and brother hostage in a closet and had doused the house with gasoline.

According to reports, earlier, on December 28, two gamers, Casey Viner, 18, of North College Hill, Ohio and Shane Gaskill, 20, of Wichita, KS, “were fighting over a Call of Duty match with a $1.50 wager allegedly contacted Barriss and asked that he swat the other,” when Viner gave Barriss an older address he thought the other gamer, Gaskill, lived at.

Barriss verifies the address is a house, then, when Gaskill realized Barriss “was following him on Twitter,” contacted Barriss through direct messaging and gave Barriss the older address as well, and “dared him to swat him,” according to the AP.

Gaskill wrote, “Please try some s—. I’ll be waiting.”

In January, the BBC published part of the 911 called released to the public that lead to the death of Andrew Finch.

Published January 2 2018

Barriss has a track record for making false threats, and in 2016 was convicted on two counts for making bomb threats to a Glendale, CA television station KABC-TV. He was sentenced to two years, but according to jail records, the AP reported, was released in January 2017.

According to a CBS Los Angeles report, when Barriss appeared in court Jan 3rd he did not fight extradition to Kansas to face criminal charges there. Once in Kansas, Barriss entered a plea of not-guilty and had been awaiting trial in jail until Tuesday, when he appeared in court and in exchange for a plea deal, pleaded guilty to 51 federal counts.

Tuesday’s plea hearing resolves cases filed against Barriss in three federal jurisdictions: Kansas, California and Washington D.C. He still faces charges tied to Finch’s death in state court, including involuntary manslaughter. That trial is scheduled for January.

He pleaded guilty to three of 12 charges brought in Kansas involving the Dec. 28, 2017, swatting call that led to Finch’s death — false information and hoaxes, cyber stalking and conspiracy. The other nine were dropped as part of his plea deal.

The two D.C. charges he admitted to — both classified as threatening to kill another or damage property by fire — were for bomb threats against the Federal Communication Commission’s and the FBI’s headquarters on Dec. 14 and Dec. 22, 2017.

He admitted to the most counts, 46, for other swattings he committed while he was living in Los Angeles County, Calif., and for using people’s credit and debit cards to buy things without permission. Those charges include threatening to kill another or damage property by fire, making interstate threats, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and conspiracy. The swatting calls included bomb threats reported at high schools, a middle school, universities, malls, homes, a movie theater, a museum and other buildings — some of which were evacuated by law enforcement — in several states. Sometimes Barriss would tell police he was waiting outside of the buildings with an assault rifle and was planning to shoot people as they fled, according to the plea agreement Melgren read from in court.

The Wichita Eagle; Nov 13 2018

In the California case, in which Barriss pleaded guilty to 46 charges, he called emergency numbers to “Ohio, New Hampshire, Nevada, Massachusetts, Illinois, Utah, Virginia, Texas, Arizona, Missouri, Maine, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, New York, Michigan, Florida and Canada” from Los Angeles.

In exchange for the plea deal U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister will recommend minimum 20 years, but no more than 25 years, at Barriss’ sentencing hearing set for January 30, if U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren accepts the deal.

Part of the deal is that Barriss, “writes apology letters expressing his sincere remorse for his crimes to police, dispatchers and the family of Andrew Finch.” Barriss will be put on probation for five years after his release, and will have to pay $5,000 “in restitution” to “help pay” for Andrew Finch’s funeral, “and $5,100 in other fees.”

In April, while awaiting trail before changing his plea, it was reported, Barriss, along with 14 other inmates, through a ‘glitch” in a software update gained access to the internet through what is known as the “kiosk” where inmates are able to “check their account balances to buy items from the jail’s commissary and send and receive electronic messages,” but are not supposed to be able to access the internet.

From jail, Barriss posted to a Twitter account known to be associated to him.

“How am I on the Internet if I’m in jail? Oh, because I’m an eGod, that’s how,” a tweet posted at 9:05 a.m. Friday said. The Twitter handle used to post the message, @GoredTutor36, is known to be associated with Barriss.

A follow-up tweet posted 19 minutes later under the same Twitter handle said: “All right, now who was talking (expletive)? >:) Your (expletive) is about to get swatted.”

The Wichita Eagle; April 9 2018

That account is still active and the tweets are still there, here and here.

Criminal charges filed in federal court are still pending against Viner and Gaskill, both are named as “co-conspirators.”

On A Side Note to the story:

When police arrived at Andrew Finch’s home, a 28-year-old father of two, both who were in the house, along with his mother and grandmother, not knowing the call was a hoax, Finch appears at the door and officers tell Finch to come forward with his hands up when, what appeared, the department later says, that Finch was reaching towards his waist, Wichita cop Justin Rapp fired his weapon once, hitting Finch.

According to most of the reports, as well as the BBC video above, Lisa Finch, Andrew’s mother, holds Rapp and the Wichita Police Department just as responsible for the death of her son, telling reporters the day after her son was killed, “that cop murdered my son over a false report in the first place.”

In another video, which can be found at The Wichita Eagle here, (scroll down past the end of the article), on March 20th, Finch appears in front of the Wichita City Council at a public forum and tells the tale from her side, saying after shooting her son and he lay there on the porch, police then ordered her, the grandmother and the two children outside, requiring them, the children included, to have to step over Andrew Finch’s body.

According to Finch, the police allegedly then handcuffed them, including one of the children, and made them wait outside in 24-degree weather without proper clothing, then took them all down to the police station, alleging they failed to rendering aid to her son, who was still alive. According to Finch, her son died later in the hospital.

According to the report, “Rapp testified at a court hearing in May that he didn’t see a gun in Finch’s hand when he fired and never thought the emergency call might have been fake. Rapp was cleared of criminal wrongdoing earlier this year.”

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