At the tail end of 2017, we reported on the disastrous news of an innocent man being shot and killed after getting inadvertently tied to a swatting “prank” gone horribly wrong following an online Call of Duty match. After this incident, an arrest was later made, and now the suspect has officially been charged with involuntary manslaughter for having his hand in the events that led to a person’s death.
While making his first court appearance in Witchita, Kansas, Tyler Barriss, a 25-year-old from Los Angeles, California, received the charge for involuntary manslaughter over his involvement with the aforementioned swatting incident that led to the death of 28-year-old Andrew Finch. Barriss has also been charged with reporting a false alarm, and interference with a law enforcement officer. His bond for release has been set by the court at $500,000, and if convicted, he could receive a maximum penalty of 36 months in prison, and a $300,000 fine.
For those unaware, “swatting” is when someone calls in a false police report that results in SWAT swarming in for an arrest, and Barriss has already faced prison time once before back in 2016. As it so happens, Barriss had been previously arrested for swatting and making bomb threats, which then led to his release in January 2017. Just a month later, Barriss went on to violate a protective order that resulted in him receiving a year-long prison sentence, but he was eventually released early in August 2017 after that.
Taking all of this into consideration, one can only hope that this ruling will somehow give Finch’s friends, family, and loved ones some sense of closure, despite the fact that the damage done seems almost insurmountable. If anything, perhaps this incident will be able to serve as an example for how egregiously irresponsible swatting and all other forms of online harassment can be, and everyone will finally be convinced to see them as the societal scourges that they so blatantly are.