Suspect in Wichita swatting case accused of similar call in Canada and other news in brief

Tribune News Service

WICHITA, Kan. — The California man arrested in connection with a fatal swatting incident in Wichita has also been charged for a similar hoax in Canada earlier in December.

Tyler Barriss, 25, who is awaiting extradition to Kansas, is accused of calling 911 in Calgary, Alberta, on Dec. 22, claiming that he had shot his father and was holding his mother and younger brother hostage, the CBC reported.

As officers on the scene attempted to confirm the reported information, 911 received a call from a woman at the address who said she suspected she was the victim of a swatting call, according to a statement released by Calgary police. The woman walked out of her house and police were able to confirm the call was false. No one was hurt.

Barriss has been charged with public mischief, fraud and mischief in connection with the incident. But he will face charges in Kansas first.

Barriss was charged in Wichita on Dec. 29 with the felony of making a false alarm.

Barriss is accused of reporting a fake homicide and hostage situation to the Wichita Police Department just after 6:15 p.m. on Dec. 28. The “crime” he reported in Wichita mirrored what was reported in Calgary.

Reports say Barriss was called by someone after a feud between two Call of Duty players broke out over a virtual “friendly kill” during a game earlier that day. There was a $1.50 wager over the game.

One of the players allegedly called Barriss and requested he “swat” another player. A man claiming he was responsible for the swatting said he was given an address on McCormick Street by another player, he said during an interview with the DramaAlert channel on YouTube.

Swatting is the term when someone calls police with a fake story of a serious ongoing crime — like a killing, hostage situation or bomb threat — in an effort to draw a large police presence to an address. It has gained traction in recent years among online gamers.

Police went to the address, expecting to find a homicide victim and two hostages. Instead, Andrew Finch, 28, opened his front door when he saw police lights outside and didn’t know why. Wichita police say he was given commands to keep his hands raised, but he reached toward his waistline multiple times.

When he reached his hands up suddenly, police say an officer who was standing in a driveway across the street from Finch shot him.

—The Wichita Eagle


Scalise to undergo planned surgery related to baseball shooting

WASHINGTON — House Majority Whip Steve Scalise will undergo a planned surgery Wednesday as part of his recovery from injuries sustained last June from a shooting at a GOP congressional baseball team practice.

The Louisiana congressman missed more than three months last year after a gunman opened fire on Republican lawmakers in Alexandria, Va., on the eve of the annual Congressional Baseball game.

Scalise suffered severe internal organ damage when a bullet tore through his hip as he fled to right field.

He returned to Congress in a wheelchair in September but has recently been seen walking around the Capitol on crutches.

“I have been fortunate to make tremendous progress in my healing from last June’s shooting, and tomorrow I will undergo a planned surgery as part of my ongoing recovery process,” Scalise said in a statement Tuesday. “I am incredibly humbled by the outpouring of support and prayers I have received from friends and neighbors in southeast Louisiana, my colleagues in Congress, and wonderful people from all across the country.”

He also thanked his medical team for its care.

It is unclear when Scalise will return to the Capitol after Wednesday’s operation.

—CQ-Roll Call


ACLU wants Kansas secretary of state held in contempt, says he disregarded court order

The American Civil Liberties Union wants Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach held in contempt of court, arguing he disregarded a court order to register voters.

The ACLU filed court documents late Monday seeking a contempt order, or asking a judge to order Kobach to update election procedures to make clear that those seeking to register to vote in federal elections at Department of Motor Vehicle locations are exempt from a Kansas law that requires proof of citizenship to register.

The ACLU says Kobach, who is running for governor, is refusing to correct errors in his manual for local election officials and is not ensuring that voters who register at DMV sites in accordance with an earlier court order are receiving certificates of registration saying they can vote.

“These violations could be cured easily. … Yet, despite numerous efforts by Plaintiffs over the past six months to obtain Defendant’s compliance, Defendant has refused, and has stated that he will not take corrective action even if final judgment is rendered against him after trial,” an ACLU court filing says.

A Kobach spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The Eagle first saw the documents just before 10 p.m.

“My objective … is to make it easy to vote but hard to cheat,” Kobach said in September. “Those are completely compatible goals.”

The filings came in a lawsuit challenging a Kansas law that requires voters to provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote. A federal judge has already effectively suspended the requirement for individuals who want to vote in federal elections.

—The Wichita Eagle


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