Kansas swatter faces involuntary manslaughter charge

Image source:  Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via AP 

Image source:  Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via AP 

Tyler Barriss, who instigated the swatting that led police to kill an unarmed man in Wichita, Kansas in December, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, according to Glixel, as well as giving false alarm and interference with law enforcement officers. Barriss, who has previously faced charges of making fake bomb threats, was arrested in California on December 29 and extradited to Kansas yesterday. 

Kansas law defines involuntary manslaughter as a killing that results from recklessness, the commission of a felony that is not otherwise "inherently dangerous," or during a lawful act that's committed in an unlawful manner. According to this sentencing range document, it carries a maximum penalty of 136 months in prison. Barriss is currently being held on a $500,000 bond.

Barris placed a report of a murder and hostage situation with the Wichita police following a dispute between two Call of Duty players over a lost match. The address he provided police was not that of the intended target, however, and 28-year-old Andrew Finch, who was not involved in the dispute, was shot and killed by police while exiting the house. Police claim that Finch moved his hands in a suspicious manner. An investigation into the actual killing is ongoing. 

Interestingly, Barriss is also wanted in Canada: The Globe and Mail reports that he is facing mischief and fraud charges in Calgary, Alberta, arising from an attempted swatting on December 22. In that case, the intended victim, Lisa Vannatta, who streams about gaming and technology under the name STPeach, was warned about the possible swatting by a viewer; she then contacted 911 herself to inform the police that it was a hoax.   

Correction: The story originally indicated that Barriss faced a maximum of 36 months in prison. The maximum sentence is actually 136 months. 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.