Infamous swatter faces 46 more charges, including bomb threats

Tyler Barriss is currently awaiting trial for involuntary manslaughter.

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Reuters/Irfan Khan
Reuters/Irfan Khan

Tyler Barriss, an infamous swatter whose actions allegedly led to a man's death, faces 46 new charges. They include allegations he called in bomb threats at the schools of his Halo buddies so they could have a day off, as Wired reports.

Barriss was already facing several charges, including involuntary manslaughter, related to an incident at the end of last year. He allegedly called cops in Wichita, Kansas, claiming to have killed his dad and taken hostages. He seemingly thought the address he gave was that of a Call of Duty player he wanted to swat (a "prank" where a person directs police to someone's home under the pretense of them causing immediate danger to themselves or others). However, it was the wrong house, and when Andrew Finch, 28, opened his door to find out what was happening after cops arrived, he was shot dead by a police sniper.

Barriss was arrested soon afterwards and charged with federal and state crimes -- his involuntary manslaughter trial is set to start January 7th. But Barriss's woes don't stop there, as more charges were laid against him Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors allege that he called in bomb threats to schools, television stations, malls, a Call of Duty tournament, a museum and other locations across the US and Canada. Barriss has been accused of bank fraud along with several unindicted co-conspirators, who were referred to in the list of charges only by their Twitter handles. They also allegedly paid him to swat other people.

His public defender is seeking to have the latest charges, which were filed in California, transferred to Kansas, where Barriss is awaiting trial. Once the case is transferred, he reportedly plans to plead guilty to the charges.

The bulk of the latest charges stem from his alleged actions in late 2017, soon after Barriss was released from prison after almost two years -- he had pled no contest to making bomb threats. He was also charged in May with calling in bomb threats to the Federal Communications Commission during a net neutrality hearing.

As the charges pile up against Barriss, efforts are underway at state and federal level to counter swatting. As of April, swatting in Kansas carries a maximum prison sentence of 41 years after Governor Jeff Colyer signed into law an act named after Finch. Seattle police are allowing potential targets (such as popular Twitch streamers) to add their names to a registry. That way, cops should know to be more skeptical when they're called to those targets' homes. A federal anti-swatting bill was also introduced in June.

Meanwhile, Finch's mother, Lisa, is suing the city of Wichita and several police officers following her son's death, claiming they violated his civil rights. She has accused the police department of acting recklessly on the night he died.

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