November 14, 2018 Tyler Barriss has pleaded guilty to 51 separate charges, and faces at least 20 years in prison.
Almost a year ago, 28-year-old Andrew Finch was shot and killed by police responding to a false report about a hostage situation at a home in Kansas. Tyler Barriss, 26, now admits to having made the call, reportedly over a disputed $1.50 bet between Call of Duty: WWII players. As part of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Barriss is pleading guilty to 51 separate charges. If accepted by the judge, the deal will sentence Barriss to at least 20 years in prison.
This is believed to be the first death related to swatting, but it was not the only time that Tyler Barriss – who now admits to having made the call – has faced charges for making false reports. The 51 charges he faces, filed mainly in California but also in the District of Columbia, concern many more false reports that bombs were planted at high schools, universities, shopping malls, and TV stations.
The bulk of these incidents took place at the end of 2017. That’s right after Barriss was released from Los Angeles County Jail, having served two years there after pleading no contest to making a bomb threat.
According to Wired, prosecutors say many of these calls were made at the behest of other individuals – and some at a nominal fee of $10 each. Some of the earliest charges go back to 2015, when prosecutors say Barriss phoned bomb threats in to schools across the country to get his online Halo buddies a day off from classes. Others include further swattings and bomb threats. In one case, prosecutors say Barriss impersonated an ISIS member to report a bomb threat.
Barriss’s sentencing is set for January 30, according to The Guardian. The two COD players whose dispute allegedly led to the call that caused Finch’s death are charged as co-conspirators, and due to be tried on January 8. Casey Viner, 18, of Ohio, allegedly became upset at Shane Gaskill, 20, of Wichita, Kansas, and asked Barriss to ‘swat’ him at an address that Gaskill had provided. Gaskill no longer lived there, but Finch did. Both Viner and Gaskill are pleading not guilty to charges including conspiracy to obstruct justice, wire fraud, and others.