The police and FBI are investigating whether an argument between two players of the online game Call of Duty may have lead to the death of an unarmed man in Kansas on Thursday.
A "prankster" called 911 on Thursday and made a false report of a shooting and kidnapping, leading to the officer-involved fatal shooting of a 28-year-old Wichita father of two, Wichita Deputy Police Chief Troy Livingston said during a news conference Friday. Livingston didn't discuss the online game but said investigators were tracking online leads.
"We believe this incident is a case of 'swatting,' which is the act of deceiving emergency services into sending a police response to another person's address," Livingston said.
The Los Angeles Police Department arrested 25-year-old Tyler Barriss on Friday in connection with the call, LAPD spokesman Mike Lopez said Saturday. Barriss has been previously arrested for allegedly phoning in bomb threats.
Barriss couldn't be reached for comment, and it wasn't immediately clear whether he had an attorney.
Wichita police responded to a 911 call (see video below) Thursday indicating that an armed man was holding his family hostage. There was no hostage situation, but police say they shot and killed a man who answered the door after he reached for his waistband several times.
The deceased man, who was unarmed, has been identified as 28-year-old Andrew Finch. According to Finch's family, he didn't play video games and was uninvolved in the dispute.
The phenomenon of swatting, anonymous reports of fake hostage situations, shootings and other violent crimes, has grown in recent years, particularly among online gamers and hackers. The FBI estimates that roughly 400 cases of swatting occur annually.
The hoax call was made after a dispute over a wager in a game of Call of Duty, according to Dexerto, an online news service focused on gaming.
Security researcher Brian Krebs, Krebs, a Twitter user with the handle @SWauTistic threatened to swat another user who goes by the name @7aLeNT.
After the fatality was reported by the news media, @SWauTistic denied responsibility, according to tweets obtained by Krebs.
"I DIDNT GET ANYONE KILLED BECAUSE I DIDNT DISCHARGE A WEAPON AND BEING A SWAT MEMBER ISNT MY PROFESSION," @SWauTistic tweeted.
The @SWauTistic account was suspended by Twitter on Friday. Representatives for the social network didn't respond to requests for comment.
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