Crime & Courts

Tyler Barriss pleads not guilty in deadly Wichita swatting

A man accused of making a false call to police that ended with a Wichita officer killing an unarmed man on his front porch pleaded not guilty Friday in Sedgwick County District Court.

Tyler Barriss, 25, is being tried on charges of involuntary manslaughter, reporting a false alarm and interference with a law enforcement officer in connection with a Dec. 28 swatting call to Wichita police claiming there was a homicide and hostage situation inside a West Wichita home.

Swatting is the term used when someone makes a call to a police department with a false story of an ongoing crime — often involving killing or hostages — in an attempt to draw a large number of police officers to an address.

On Dec. 28, as part of an online gaming feud, police said Barriss swatted 1033 W. McCormick.

That was the address of 28-year-old father of two Andrew Finch.

When Finch stepped out of his house, with police surrounding it and shouting commands, he didn't comply with officers’ commands to put his hands up, Wichita police Officer Justin Rapp said in a May court appearance. After briefly putting his hands up, Finch brought them back down around his waistband area, Rapp said. That’s when Rapp fired a single shot from across the street, which killed Finch.

Rapp said in May that he thought Finch had shot his father in the head and was holding other people hostage inside. He said he didn’t know the caller’s description of the house was wrong or that the call was false. Rapp initially told investigators after the shooting that he thought he saw a gun. Finch’s hand motion made him think he was drawing a gun, he said in May.

Rapp will not face charges for shooting Finch, Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said in April.

Barriss was arrested in South Los Angeles on Dec. 29, the day after the swatting call. 

He also faces federal charges accusing him of making threats against government buildings in Washington, D.C., in December.

On Friday, Barriss' attorney waived his right to a formal reading of charges, and Barriss did not speak. His trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 1.

United States Attorney Stephen McAllister describes a federal indictment that was unsealed Wednesday naming three men in a "Swatting" incident. McAllister named Tyler Barriss along with Casey Viner of Ohio and Shane Gaskill of Wichita.

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