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Published On: Fri, Jan 12th, 2018

Man accused of fatal Kansas ‘swatting’ hoax charged in Canada over similar call

Calgary police charge Tyler Raj Barriss, 25, over another swatting incident in which a bogus emergency call is made to deploy a tactical team to victims home

A Los Angeles man accused of making a hoax 911 call that led to a fatal police shooting in Kansas is now suspected of making a similar call days earlier in Canada.

Police in Calgary said on Tuesday that charges of mischief and fraud had been laid against Tyler Raj Barriss, 25. The charges stem from an incident in late December in which tactical unit and patrol officers surround an apartment in the western Canadian city after evacuating nearby units.

Police said they were responding to an emergency call in which a man claimed to have shot his father and said he was now holding his mother and younger brother hostage.

While officers were on scene trying to confirm the reported information, Calgary 911 received another call from a female who lived at the address, who believed she was the victim of a swatting call, said Peter Siegenthaler of the Calgary police service.

The female exited her residence and officers confirmed that the initial report of a shooting and hostage scenario was false. Nobody was hurt during the incident.

Police believe the woman who said she had been warned by another person online about the hoax was targeted due to her online persona.

They described the hoax as a case of swatting, in which a person makes a bogus emergency call in order to get a tactical team deployed to an address.

Anyone can make these calls. You dont have to be very sophisticated, said Siegenthaler. We know that swatters can be teenagers in their bedroom making a swatting call while Mom and Dad watch TV.

Tyler Raj Barriss is accused of making a hoax 911 call that led to a fatal police shooting in Kansas. Photograph: AP

The incident in Calgary took place six days before a similar hoax south of the border left an unarmed man dead. In late December police in Wichita, Kansas, surrounded a home after receiving a 911 call in which a man said he had shot his father and was holding a gun to his mother and younger brother. Audio of the call captured the man saying calmly that he had poured gasoline inside the home and I might just set it on fire.

Swat officers descended on the address. When a man later identified as 28-year-old Andrew Finch stepped out on the porch of the home, police ordered him to put his hands up and move slowly.

The man moved his hand toward the area of his waistband and an officer, fearing the man was reaching for a gun, fired a single shot. Finch died a few minutes later at a hospital. Police said he was unarmed.

The bogus call had been reportedly made after a dispute over a small wager during an online video game tournament, according to gaming news service Dexerto. The mother of the victim, however, said her son did not play video games.

Barriss has been charged in Kansas with making a false alarm.

Authorities in the US said Barriss has a history of making false reports to police. In 2016 he was convicted on two counts of making false bomb reports against two Los Angeles schools and TV station. Police and court documents have linked him to some 20 alleged incidents involving bogus threats against universities and media outlets.

Calgary police said it was unlikely that Barriss would be extradited to Canada to face charges, but that he would be arrested if he ever attempts to enter Canada.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

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Man accused of fatal Kansas ‘swatting’ hoax charged in Canada over similar call