Suspect in fatal Kansas hoax call pleads guilty

Blanche Robertson
November 14, 2018

Gaskill found out that Barriss was pursuing him and sent messages daring him to carry out the swat, but provided an old address that actually belonged to the family of Andrew Finch, a 28-year-old who had no connection to the matter. If the judge approves the terms, he will spend at least 20 years in prison. Alongside manslaughter, he has also pled guilty to 46 additional charges introduced two weeks ago, including cyberstalking, interstate threats, and conspiracy.

This 2015 booking photo released by the Glendale, Calif., Police Department shows Tyler Raj Barriss. Viner and Gaskill's argument reached the point where Viner threatened Gaskill with "swatting", a prominent and unsafe harassment tactic often used by gamers to send police to the residence of a person who has angered them.

"Without ever stepping foot in Wichita, the defendant created a chaotic situation that quickly turned from unsafe to deadly", McAllister said. "His reasons were trivial and his disregard for the safety of other people was staggering".

As well as 'fessing up in the Wichita case, Barriss entered guilty pleas to a staggering 46 counts brought by the Middle District of California, over false bomb threats all over the US, and in the District of Colombia for making false bomb threats against the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the FCC. Barriss also admitted Tuesday that he called in hoax bomb threat to the Federal Communications Commission's headquarters on the day it voted to repeal net neutrality. He called from Los Angeles to emergency numbers in Ohio, New Hampshire, Nevada, Massachusetts, Illinois, Utah, Virginia, Texas, Arizona, Missouri, Maine, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, New York, Michigan, Florida and Canada.

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The incident began with Shane Gaskill, 19, of Wichita and Casey Viner, 18, of North College Hill, Ohio, getting into an argument over the online first-person shooting game, according to prosecutors.

In the Wichita case, Barriss entered guilty pleas to count one (making a false report resulting in a death), count two (cyberstalking) and count 12 (conspiracy) of a superseding indictment.

Barriss is set to be sentenced on January 30, 2019. Viner and Gaskill had exchanged friendly fire in the game, which led to them losing a match and a bet of $1.50. Viner asked Barriss to swat Gaskill, who said he lived at 1033 W. McCormick St., although he didn't live there at the time. The 28-year-old had been at home with his mother, and upon hearing law enforcement outside of his home, he opened the door and was tragically shot dead by police.

It is unclear what will become of separate state charges. The police officer who killed Finch was not charged.

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