A young gamer based in California was facing a trial over abetting in the murder of an innocent man. Allegedly, the accused was Call of Duty gamer who called the police on an innocent man. The call then led to the murder of that man at the hands of a police officer. He was prompted to make the call over a dispute in an online Call of Duty match. The gamer has now admitted to his crimes. There were several felonies that he committed, and one of these was cooking a hoax to call US police on an innocent man. The man now faces up to 20 years in jail.
According to the details of the case, Barriss is a 25 years old man from California. He was an avid Call of Duty player. During one specific online game, Barriss got into a row with another player. This row involved a Call of Duty World War II battle with a 1.50 dollar wager. In a fit of rage, Barriss threatened to call the police to the other player’s home. Instead, Barriss mistakenly gave the police a wrong address. The other player understood the threat and gave Barriss an old address while daring him to call the police there. Barriss proceeded to mask his phone number to appear as a local while calling the Wichita Police Department.
Barriss told the police that he lived on the property and had shot his father dead. He also claimed to have taken the rest of his family hostage. As a result of the call, the police went to another home. It was owned by Andrew Finch, a father of two based in Kansas. The encounter that followed led to the police fatally shooting the innocent man. This happened with the unaware man failing to comply with orders of keeping his hands in the air.
When the case originally started being pursued in court, Barriss pleaded innocent. However, he has now changed his plea to guilty. The police officer who murdered Mr. Finch was cleared of charges earlier this year.
The prosecutors in Barriss’ case are calling the call an example of swatting. Swatting is an official term used to define an attempt at fooling police or emergency services. This could lead to disturbance in an unrelated victim’s home or other address, or as in this case, worse. This term has been coined as it is linked with the special weapons and tactics (SWAT) police units in the US Forces.
US Attorney Stephen McAllister said in a statement:
“Without ever stepping foot in Wichita, the defendant created a chaotic situation that quickly turned from dangerous to deadly. His reasons were trivial and his disregard for the safety of other people was staggering.”
According to local newspaper the Wichita Eagle, the felon has also admitted to similar hoaxes of potentially dangerous consequences. These include hoax bomb threats to shopping malls, TV stations, schools, universities, and even the FBI. Barriss has accepted the responsibility of contribution in the victim’s funeral expenses. He has also agreed to be under supervision for five years following his release from prison.
Barriss is set to be sentenced on 30 January.