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Suspect in fatal "SWATting" call faces charge of making false alarm

LOS ANGELES — A 25-year-old Los Angeles man suspected of making a hoax emergency call that led to the fatal police shooting of a Kansas man faces a charge of making a false alarm. The Los Angeles County district attorney filed a fugitive-from-justice warrant Wednesday against Tyler Barriss, saying he was charged with the felony Dec. 29 in Kansas.

Barriss, 25, was arrested in Los Angeles on Friday, one day after police shot and killed a man at a house in Wichita. Barriss on Wednesday waived his right to an extradition hearing, enabling authorities in Kansas to pursue charges against him. He is being held without bail. Barriss, who served jail time last year for making a phony bomb report, allegedly told made a 911 call claiming that hostages were inside the home. 

The family of the dead man, Andrew Finch, said he wasn't the intended target of the prank known as "SWATting," when someone falsely reports a major crime to 911 hoping to incite a massive police response.

Moments after Finch stepped onto his front porch, he was shot dead by a Wichita police officer.

Wichita Deputy Police Chief Troy Livingston said the officer opened fire because he thought Finch, a father of two who was unarmed, was reaching for a weapon.

"The incident is a nightmare for everyone involved," Livingston said. "Due to the actions of a prankster, we have an innocent victim."

Officers arrived at Finch's home around 6:30 p.m. Thursday night responding to a 911 caller who claimed a man at the address had killed his father and was holding his mother and brother at gunpoint.

"I already poured gasoline all over the house. I might just set it on fire," the caller could be heard saying.

"OK, well, we don't need to do that, OK?" the 911 dispatcher responded.

"In a little bit, I might," the caller responded.

"Why would you do that?" the dispatcher asked.

"Do you have my address correct?" the caller said.

A Twitter user named @SWAuTistic later said he made the false 911 calls, adding: "I DIDNT GET ANYONE KILLED BECAUSE I DIDNT DISCHARGE A WEAPON AND BEING A SWAT MEMBER ISNT MY PROFESSION."

He also told a YouTube host he had been hired for the prank. "I don't believe that I'm the only guilty party involved in this whole incident, considering I was contacted and...almost instructed to SWAT an address," he said.

SWAuTistic is believed to be Barriss, who was arrested in 2015 for making bomb threats.

Online gamers say he intended to prank someone who played the video game "Call of Duty." SWAuTistic claims another player gave him Finch's address.

SWATting has also targeted celebrities like Rihanna, Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus. The FBI estimates 400 cases of SWATting happen each year, but this is believed to be the first time such an incident resulted in someone's death.