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Man in deadly Call of Duty 'swatting' hoax pleads guilty

Tyler Barriss, who pleaded guilty to 51 charges, faces at least 20 years in prison.

Tyler Barriss, who made fatal swatting call in Wichita, guilty of 51 federal charges

Tyler Barriss pleaded guilty to 51 federal charges on Tuesday.

Bo Rader/Wichita Eagle/TNS via Getty Images

A California man faces at least 20 years in prison after pleading guilty Tuesday to making calls to report fake crimes, one of which led to police fatally shooting a Kansas man.

Tyler Barriss was indicted in May in the "swatting" hoax -- making a fake emergency services calls that send police to another person's address -- over an argument between two Call of Duty players.

The 25-year-old from Los Angeles allegedly made a false report that resulted in Wichita, Kansas, police officers fatally shooting unarmed 28-year-old Andrew Finch on Dec. 28, 2017.

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. Viner allegedly asked Barriss to "swat" Gaskill, not realizing that Gaskill gave him a false address.

That address was a Wichita home owned by Gaskill's parents and rented out to Finch's family.

Barriss admitted to making the false report resulting in a death, as well as cyberstalking and conspiracy related to the deadly Kansas swatting call, the Associated Press reported.  The deal with federal prosecutors led Barriss to plead guilty to 51 charges that will send him to prison for between 20 and 25 years, if the judge accepts it.

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

Prosecutors said Barriss was also responsible for dozens of other calls in which he made fake reports about bomb threats and active-shooter incidents at high schools, malls and the FBI, the AP reported. 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.

His sentencing is set for Jan. 30. 

Viner and Gaskill pleaded not guilty and face trial on Jan. 8.

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