A 25-year-old California man was arrested in connection to an online quarrel between two “Call of Duty” gamers that prompted a hoax call and led to a man being killed by police in Kansas.
Los Angeles police on Friday arrested Tyler Barriss, who law enforcement claimed is the “prankster” who called 911 and made up a story about a kidnapping in Wichita, ABC 7 reported.
Barriss reportedly gave police the address he believed the other gamer lived.
In the audio of the 911 call, the caller claimed his father had been shot in the head and that he was holding his mother and a sibling at gunpoint. The caller added that he poured gasoline inside the home and “might just set it on fire.”
The address was for the home of Andrew Finch, 28, whom police believed was not involved in any argument on “Call of Duty.”
Wichita Deputy Police Chief Troy Livingston, speaking at a news conference, said the hoax call was a case of “swatting,” in which a person makes up a false report to get a SWAT team to descend on an address.
“Due to the actions of a prankster we have an innocent victim,” Livingston said. He said no one has been arrested in connection with the hoax.
When officers arrived at the scene, Finch opened the door for the officers. As police told him to put his hands up, Finch moved a hand toward the area of his waistband – a common place where guns are concealed. An officer, fearing the man was reaching for a gun, fired a single shot. Finch died a few minutes later at a hospital and was found to be unarmed, Livingston said.
The officer who fired the shot, a seven-year veteran of the department, is on paid leave pending the investigation.
Police did not disclose the name of the man shot Thursday evening but Lisa Finch, Andrew’s mother, identified him. She told reporters Friday her son was not a gamer.
“What gives the cops the right to open fire?” she asked. “That cop murdered my son over a false report in the first place.”
Livingston on Friday said investigators had made good progress tracking online leads.
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.”
“We woke this morning to horrible news about an innocent man losing his life,” UMG spokeswoman Shannon Gerritzen said in an email to The Associated Press. “Our hearts go out to his loved ones. We are doing everything we can to assist the authorities in this matter.” She declined to disclose other details.
In addition to the 911 call, police also released a brief video of body camera footage from another officer at the scene. It was difficult to see clearly what happened.
The FBI estimates that roughly 400 cases of swatting occur annually, with some using caller ID spoofing to disguise their number.
Fox News’ Nicole Darrah, Kathleen Joyce and the Associated Press contributed to this report.