On December 28, 2017, 28-year-old Andrew Finch of Wichita, Kansas, was shot and killed that night by police in what was deemed a swatting incident. Now, the three men behind the incident are facing federal charges.
“Swatting,” according to this Destructoid article, is “the practice of calling in a fake bomb threat, assault or other serious crime, prompting an entire police squad to break into someone’s residence.” It’s primarily associated with streaming with a few occasions even having the streamer finding themselves and the cops on camera.
Tyler Barriss, 25, Los Angeles, Calif., making false/hoax reports to emergency services (count 1), cyberstalking (count 2), making interstate threats (count 3), making interstate threats to harm by fire (count 4), wire fraud (counts 5 through 11) and conspiracy to make false/hoax reports (count 12).
Casey Viner, 18, North College Hill, Ohio, wire fraud (counts 5 through 11), conspiracy to make false/hoax reports (count 12), obstruction of justice (count 13), and conspiracy to obstruct justice (count 16).
Shane Gaskill, 19, Wichita, Kan., obstruction of justice (count 13, 14 and 15), conspiracy to obstruct justice (count 16), and wire fraud (count 17).
From what has been gathered, the incident started when Viner, 18, and Gaskill, 19, got into an argument over a wager of $1.50 in a game of Call of Duty. Viner enlisted the services of Barriss, a serial swatter with the incredibly classy alias of ‘SWAuTistic’. However, Gaskill had provided an old address in their chat, which resulted in Finch’s death. When news of the death started to spread, the three of them deleted their conversations in an attempt to hide the evidence.
According to Variety, the officer who shot Finch will not be charged as they determined he believed Finch had drawn a gun from his waistband and that the lives of the officers were at stake. The three instigators, meanwhile, could be facing serious charges as well as the 11 years Barriss could be facing for involuntary manslaughter. Cyberstalking, or making a false report resulting in a death, carry penalties up to life in prison and a $250,000 fine. A far cry from the $1.50 that instigated this tragedy.