Gamer Charged in “Swatting” Case

As if the world needed a new horrible crime that someone could commit against another person, “swatting” is beginning to see its fair share of headlines. Swatting involves making a fraudulent phone call to police or other emergency personnel in order to harass a victim. In at least one case, this turned deadly.

California gamer, Tyler R. Barriss, pleaded guilty to calling authorities on a Kansas man that led to a fatal shooting. He will face 20 to 25 years for a total of 51 charges including California charges, Kansas charges, and federal charges. Also charged were two other gamers, Casey Viner of Ohio (18) and Shane Gaskill of Wichita (20). According to the testimony, the whole thing started over a $1.50 bet.

Specifics of the Story

According to the defendants, Viner was upset at Gaskill and asked Barriss to “swat” Gaskill at an address that Gaskill had given him at an earlier date. On December 28th of 2017, Barriss called Wichita police from Los Angeles and fed them a phony report that there was a shooting and a kidnapping at the address.

Prior, Gaskill had confronted Barriss on Twitter after he realized that Barriss was following him. He essentially dared him to try something. Barriss took the bait. He targeted Gaskill’s address and police responded, fatally shooting Andrew Finch, 27.

A small army showed up at Finch’s door. Ten officers and three deputies surrounded his home. They came heavily armed. They were prepared for a hostage situation. The had officers positioned at the door and those who had their sights on whoever opened it. That was Andrew Finch, father of two.

Finch was shot by an officer who positioned as support behind those at the door. The officers at the door say that as soon as Finch opened the door he put his hands up but he suddenly jerked them back down at which point the officer fired, killing him.

Will Gaskill Go to Prison?

It’s hard to say. Gaskill is being charged with conspiracy since he gave Barriss a false address and then baited him into swatting. It’s unclear, however, if this constitutes a legitimate crime. Gaskill gave Viner the fake address and then again gave it to Barriss taunting them into trying something.

When reports came through about the shooting, Gaskill advised Barriss to delete any records of their interaction. Gaskill did not know Finch or have any reason to target him in that way.

At this point, the only punishment that either Gaskill or Viner have faced is that the judge has ordered them not to play any online video games.

The defendants are facing charges related to making false reports, cyberstalking, and more.

Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’ve been charged with a cybercrime in West Palm Beach, the Skier Law Firm, P.A. can help. We have successfully represented defendants in cybercrimes. Give us a call or contact us online and we can begin preparing your defense today.

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