25-year old Tyler Barriss from South Los AngelesThe was taken into custody Friday night allegedly “swatting” 28-year old Andrew Fitch in a police shooting that went sour. Fitch died from being shot by police when opened the front door of his home to see why all the lights were flashing outside. On Thursday police killed the Wichita, Kansas, man has been arrested.
Barriss is alleged to have reported a lengthy threat to Wichita police on Thursday night after a Call of Duty game in which two teammates got into an altercation over a $1.50 wager. Screenshots posted to various Twitter accounts show the dispute escalating. Shortly thereafter, the Wichita police received a call alleging that someone at that address had killed his father, taken his family hostage, poured gasoline around the home, and was ready to light it on fire. Cops descended on the area and cordoned it off.
A Twitter account called “SWAuTistic” took credit for the swatting, but then just as quickly denied any responsibility for the death. The YouTube channel DramaAlert, which covers the gaming community, published a 10-minute interview with a man claiming to be the person who made the swatting call.
What happened that night was broken down on Friday by the Wichita police in a press conference, which you can watch online. According to the officer giving the briefing, a threatening call came in to City Hall at around 6:15pm local time. The caller said he had shot his dad in the head and was holding his mother and brother in the closet. He had a black handgun and wanted to kill himself.
The police surrounded the Fitch residence. Andrew Fitch opened the door, saw police cars all over the place, and heard a police officer with a drawn weapon begin to shout at him: “Walk this way!”
Fitch appears confused and drops his hands, then a police spotlight shines on him, and he appears to raise his hands again. In the middle of a police officer shouting, “Walk this way!” a second time, a single shot rings out, killing Fitch.
According to Friday’s Wichita police briefing, an officer thought Fitch had reached for his “waistband” and then raised his hand again, potentially carrying a gun and posing a threat which needed to be eliminated.
The Wichita police briefer repeatedly put the full blame for what happened on SWAuTistic, saying that “the irresponsible actions of a prankster put people and lives at risk” and that “due to the actions of a prankster, we have an innocent victim.” (Finch’s mother had a different view of the police actions, telling the local paper, “What gives the cops the right to open fire? Why didn’t they give him the same warning they gave us? That cop murdered my son over a false report.”)
The Wichita Police argue that you have to understand the officers’ state of mind here.
Now Barris is being held without bail pending an extradition hearing, authorities said Tuesday.