"SWATing" prank call led to officer-involved shooting, police say

Family identifies Wichita man killed by police in possible 'swatting' prank

Tyler Barriss, 25, suspected of phoning in a false 911 call that led to a police raid and the fatal shooting of a father of two, was arrested Friday afternoon in South Los Angeles, a Los Angeles Police Department spokesman tells NPR.

Barriss was reportedly arrested about 3:15 p.m. Friday by Los Angeles police on suspicion of making the swatting call.

Deputy Police Chief Troy Livingston said at a news conference Friday that a prankster called 911 claiming to be an occupant of the home, saying he had shot his father and was holding his mother and a sibling hostage.

The practice is called "swatting" and happens when someone makes a call to a police department with a false story of an ongoing crime - often with killing or hostages involved - in an attempt to draw a large number of police officers to a particular address. In 2013 a 12-year-old Southern California boy admitted to making swatting calls to the homes of actor Ashton Kutcher and singer Justin Bieber. Relatives have identified him as Andrew Finch.

Police shot Finch after they say he moved his hands to his waistline, Livingston said.

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"I already poured gasoline all over the house, I might just set it on fire", he told the dispatcher, according to a recording of the call published on the newspaper website.

The caller repeatedly gave authorities his alleged home address, leading Wichita police officers to the house.

Dexerto, an online news service focused on gaming, reported that the series of events began with an online argument over a $1 or $2 wager in a "Call of Duty" game on UMG Gaming, which operates online tournaments including one involving "Call of Duty". Instigators call 911 operators within close proximity to their victims - frequently using caller ID spoofing or other measures to hide their true location - and report severely volatile situations that may warrant a SWAT team response. Finch, who was unarmed, died a few minutes later at a hospital.

"Due to the actions of a prankster, we have an innocent victim", Livingston said.

Police say the man shot by an officer was the only person injured at the home.

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"The police said, 'Come out with your hands up, '" she added. Livingston said Finch was not armed.

Audio of the emergency call has been made public.

"The incident was a nightmare for everyone involved, including the family and our police department".

The arrest comes after Mr Finch's mother, Lisa Finch, said her son had been "murdered". Had the false police call not been made, we would not have been there.

"We woke this morning to terrible news about an innocent man losing his life", UMG spokeswoman Shannon Gerritzen said in an email to The Associated Press.

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