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Teenage gamer jailed over lethal swatting – Naked Security

Security Watch

Teenage gamer jailed over lethal swatting – Naked Security


An Ohio gamer who got into a spat over a $1.50 wager that led to the death-by-swatting of an innocent man has been sentenced to 15 months in prison, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Friday.

Casey S. Viner, 19, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of obstructing justice.

Viner admitted to arguing with another gamer – co-defendant Shane Gaskill – while playing Call of Duty World War II online. The two gamers were disputing a $1.50 wager. Apparently, one had accidentally “killed” a teammate in the first-person shooter game.

So, as Viner admitted in his plea agreement, he contacted known swatter Tyler Barriss and asked him to swat Gaskill.

Swatting (or SWATting), which takes its name from elite law enforcement units called SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) teams, is the practice of making a false report to emergency services about shootings, bomb threats, hostage taking, or other alleged violent crime in the hopes that law enforcement will respond to a targeted address with deadly force.

Barriss did as he was asked: he first taunted Gaskill in Twitter direct messages. Gaskill challenged Barriss to go ahead and swat him, according to court records.

But Gaskill then sent Barriss the wrong address: that of a home nearby, at 1033 W. McCormick, in Wichita, Kansas, where he once lived. That misdirection led police to show up at the wrong house – the home of 28-year-old Andrew Finch.

In the recording of the emergency call that cost Finch his life, Barriss told operators that he’d shot his father in the head. He also said that he was holding his mother and a sibling at gunpoint in a closet. Barriss said he’d poured gasoline all over the house and that he was thinking of lighting the place on fire.

Police surrounded Finch’s Wichita home, prepared to deal with a hostage situation. When Finch answered the door, he followed police instructions to put up his hands and move slowly. But at some point, authorities said, Finch appeared to be moving his hand toward his waistband as if he was going to pull out a gun.

A single shot killed Finch. He was dead by the time he reached the hospital. Police said the innocent man – the father of two children – was unarmed.

Finch’s family is now suing the police and the city of Wichita for what they say was his wrongful death.

In March 2019, Barriss was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for placing the deadly hoax call. He pleaded guilty to more than 50 felonies nationwide, including federal charges in Kansas of making an interstate hoax that resulted in a death and cyberstalking.

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