What is ‘swatting’?
Tyler Barriss — the man charged in a swatting hoax that led to the death of an innocent Wichita man — apparently got access to the internet from jail for at least 28 minutes on Friday and threatened to swat again.
"How am I on the Internet if I'm in jail? Oh, because I'm an eGod, that's how," a tweet posted at 9:05 a.m. Friday said. The Twitter handle used to post the message, @GoredTutor36, is known to be associated with Barriss.
A follow-up tweet posted 19 minutes later under the same Twitter handle said: "All right, now who was talking (expletive)? >:) Your (expletive) is about to get swatted."
The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office on Monday said in a news release that a software upgrade to an inmate kiosk that was done improperly by the vendor gave inmates a chance to get onto the Internet "for less than a few hours."
It's unknown exactly how many inmates got onto the internet or what they did. The Sheriff's Office said 14 inmates had access to the kiosk in question before the vendor learned of the breach.
Inmates can use kiosks in the jail to check their account balances to buy items from the jail's commissary and send and receive electronic messages. They aren't supposed to have access to the internet.
"As soon as the path was identified it was closed and the affected kiosk was upgraded with the proper digital security features," the Sheriff's Office said. The kiosk that was upgraded improperly "has been tested and the issue did not reoccur," the agency said.
The problem apparently occurred at kiosks at other jails across the country, according to the Sheriff's Office's news release.
The Sheriff's Office launched its investigation into the breach after The Wichita Eagle noticed a series of tweets posted on Barriss' account between 9:05 a.m. and 9:33 a.m. Friday.
A total of four tweets were posted from the account during that time.
In addition to the "eGod" post and the swatting threat, Barriss' account tweeted, "Yarreddy know" at 9:26 a.m. and "Y'all should see how much swag I got in here" at 9:33 a.m.
Barriss, 25, is accused of making a false emergency report of a killing and hostage situation that caused Wichita police to descend on the home of 28-year-old Andrew Finch on Dec. 28. The hoax stemmed from a dispute over an online video game that Finch was not involved in. One of the police officers at the scene that night fatally shot Finch after he stepped out onto his front porch to see why police cars were outside.
Barriss is charged with involuntary manslaughter, giving false alarm and interfering with law enforcement in the case. He's been in police custody since he was arrested in Los Angeles, Calif., on Dec. 29. He's been in the Sedgwick County Jail since Jan. 11.
Swatting is falsely reporting a serious ongoing crime — like a killing, hostage situation or bomb threat — to draw a large police presence to an address. It has gained traction in recent years among online gamers.
Barriss is a suspect is several false emergency calls made in the U.S. and Canada.