Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies and the Internet (2022) s01e01 Episode Script

Death by SWAT

1
[switch clicks.]

[interviewer.]
Okay, we're recording.

[Tyler Barriss.]
All right.

[interviewer.]

So, maybe the best place to start is,
how did you get involved in this?
["Flagging" by Bettina Köster playing.]

[sirens blaring.]

[helicopter blades whirring.]

[Barriss.]

I was in an argument with someone that
most people would consider a hacker.

I was reading the texts on my phone,
and I guess I said something
that kind of, I have to assume,
like, insulted his pride
or his ego or something.

And this person sent the SWAT team
to my house at midnight.

["Flagging" continues playing.]

[helicopter blades whirring.]

[indistinct police radio chatter.]

[Barriss.]
When I looked out my window,
I noticed it was really bright outside,
like, really bright.

So then I walked out my room
and opened the front door.

And it I looked up in the sky
and there was a helicopter.

The light was so bright that it was
It seemed like it was mid-afternoon,
that's how bright the light was.

[sirens blaring.]

[Barriss.]
Then shortly after,
cop cars started pulling up,
and they were getting out
with shotguns and rifles.

Maybe by land, maybe by sea ♪
[Barriss.]
It was an eye-opening experience
that that he could do that
to my house over nothing,
, 'cause it was a hoax call.

Whatever he said, wasn't true.

He said that someone
was being held hostage in the closet.

I learned later
that he even pretended to be
the girl that was allegedly
being held hostage in my closet.

I wasn't scared for my life.

I didn't feel like
I was gonna die or anything.

I just thought it was cool
that he could do that.

[interviewer.]
You thought it was cool.

[Barriss.]
That's what I thought
about that experience.

Quite frankly,
I was thinking, "Holy shit.
"
"This guy actually just sent
the SWAT team to my house,
and he's not worried at all
about the consequences.
"
maybe by sea ♪
[woman in phone recording.]

This call is from a federal prison.

[theme music playing.]

[ominous music playing.]

[reporter 1.]

Now, if you've never heard of swatting
Honestly, I hadn't
until this story happened.

[caller.]
I've got two people here
held hostage, all right?
[reporter 1.]
It's when someone
makes a prank call about a bogus crime
to get the SWAT team
to go to someone's house.

[reporter 2.]

An army of Nassau County SWAT teams
descended on a home, guns drawn.

They thought they were
responding to a double-murder,
and a suspect who had
barricaded himself in the home.

[SWAT officer.]

Police department search warrant!
- [gunshot.]

- [indistinct yelling.]

[reporter 2.]

But it all turned out to be a hoax.

Down! Get on the ground!
[reporter 3.]
The swatting targets
are sometimes celebrities
like Rihanna and Justin Bieber,
but are often online gamers.

People making the false 911 calls
and then watch live online.

[tense music playing.]

Swatting started as a way to, I think,
disrupt gaming competitions.

Or if they lose an important match,
to get back at somebody else.

It goes back more than 20 years.

People playing a video game,
they call the police
and mimic the person that they lost to,
and say that they've killed family members
and they see how many people
they can get to come down.

I come out of my room,
they got guns pointed at me.

[chuckling.]

I'm like, "Oh my God, I'm gonna die.
"
[Krebs.]

A lot of the people involved in swatting
are doing this to somebody gaming online
and a whole bunch of people
all over the world are watching it live.

You could tell them.

You could tell them, actually.

It's not funny and it's like
The takeaways is one thing,
but this is, like,
police who are saving lives.

- Um
- A waste of police time, whoever did it.

Being able to send the police
to kick in someone's door
while this is all on camera,
kind of ups the ante.

People who perpetrate this
are looking for bomb dogs, helicopters.

That's all part of the "fun.
"
Each swatting incident costs
law enforcement on average $10,000.

[Krebs.]
It's about being feared.

It's about being known.

Making the world
acknowledge your presence.

[yelling.]

For a lot of these individuals,
any attention is good attention.

Somebody cares enough about me
to send the SWAT team to my house?
I must be important.

[reporter 4.]
But the FBI's
biggest concern, that one day,
these criminal crank calls
will turn deadly.

[birds chirping.]

[children laughing.]

["Jane Doe".]
Shh, shh.

And then we'll change
her face, hair, and clothing.

Let's go with Gigi, 'cause that's easy.

We'll do a random last name.

I play video games 'cause it's fun for me.

You can be really creative
with it sometimes.

Oh my gosh.
She looks crazy.

[chuckling.]
Look at her legs.

What kind of power workouts are you doing?
I deal with anxiety and stuff like that.

When you have anxiety,
you tend to like revert in yourself
and do things that feel better for you.

And this feels better for me sometimes.

[intriguing music playing.]

Ooh, where should we go?
Prettier houses in Oasis Springs.

It starts off as, you know,
you not wanting to deal with real life.

You get validation from the game,
and, at some point it becomes addictive.

You wanna get that validation
over and over again.

Look, my neighbors are coming to visit me,
which is not something
that happens in real life.

If real life isn't making me
feel good and this is,
I'm gonna play this and spend
a majority of my time doing this.

Okay, this is Tyler,
and it's Christmas Day.

["Jane Doe".]
Really, the reason
I started gaming was my friend, Tyler.

And I just got something on camera
that was kind of entertaining.

["Jane Doe".]

We met when I was in the seventh grade,
he taught me how to play games.

He was the first boyfriend I ever had.

[intriguing music continues.]

["Jane Doe".]

He delved into the gaming community,
and didn't really
get outside of the house.

His father died when he was younger.

His mother, she moved to Vegas
and they lost contact.

His grandmother, I know her as his mom,
that's what he called her.

But he wasn't the same online
as he was in person.

[distressing music playing.]

[Koerner.]
Playing Halo, the Xbox game,
became the most important thing
in Tyler's life at a very young age.

[indistinct chattering in game.]

He had aspirations of becoming
a professional Halo player.

[crowd cheering.]

[indistinct announcement.]

[Krebs.]
People who are good at this,
their name can be
widely known very quickly.

There are competitions all over the world
where people who basically do nothing
but play a specific game or set of games,
come together
and compete against each other.

[announcer.]
If he can continue to hold
this down for just a couple more seconds,
a perfect kill for Royal2.

And that's gonna do it, folks!
They are the Halo world champions.

[Krebs.]
The top prizes for these
can be just astronomical.

Endorsements, that kind of thing.

[victorious music playing.]

You're gonna sit there behind
your mother's computer screen
You ain't got shit to say, bitch!
[Koerner.]
There is coarseness
to gaming culture.

[gamer 1.]
You dumb cunt.

Learn how to play a proper character,
you fucking stupid whore.

There is a treatment of others,
even that are friends,
that can be quite harsh.

- [gamer 2.]
Shut the fuck up
- [gamer 3.]
Shut the fuck up piece of shit!
[Koerner.]
Slight infractions
invite retaliation, name-calling.

Real harassment and abuse
can be part of this.

In the gaming culture
that Tyler belonged to,
to be extreme is something
that's welcomed and invited.

And extreme is also included with fun.

[gamer 4.]
Shut the fuck up!
[Koerner.]
These Halo acquaintances he had
were really his closest friends.

Tyler Barriss was raised
by Halo in many ways.

[tense music playing.]

[interviewer.]

Tell me about how you got into this.

Like, what was your first bomb threat?
[Barriss.]
My first bomb threat
or the first time I sent a SWAT team
to someone's house?
[interviewer.]
Yeah, I assume
the bomb threats came first, right?
[cold music playing.]

[Barriss.]
Yeah, that was the first thing
I ever tried was evacuating a building.

The same person who swatted me
sent the bomb squad to a school.

The first thing that I wanted to try to do
was make headlines like that.

I tried evacuating a college university.

That was the first thing
that I ever tried to evacuate
and it was on the news the same day.

At that point, I knew,
"Okay, since that worked, this is legit.
"
Like, I could probably do this
to any location in the United States.

It'll get evacuated as long
as the call sounds believable.

Wherever I do this
is going to get evacuated.

[indistinct online chatter.]

[Koerner.]
So, Tyler starts to swat
other people in the Halo community.

But not only that,
starts making lots of bomb threat calls
to high schools and junior highs.

He would call up and say,
"I've hidden a bomb in a locker.
"
And, of course,
they had to close the school.

[Barriss.]
I had gone on a spree
of evacuating high schools,
and I was just making it
quite obvious on my Twitter
that I'm evacuating
numerous schools around the country.

And I have the ability to do this.

And then I wanted to
[interviewer.]
This is a time in which
there's a lot of school shootings.

Did that factor into your thinking?
[Barriss.]
I wasn't It had nothing to do
with school shootings.

I was saying there's bombs in the school,
they're going to detonate.

I never tried to do no school shooting
script or anything like that.

[interviewer.]

But people are on edge
because there are so many
school shootings around the country.

Did that factor into your thinking?
[Barriss.]
That wasn't that didn't
make me think I was going to have
any more success
in having something evacuated.

It wasn't a relevant factor in my mind.

[dramatic music playing.]

[Barriss.]
It's the fact that I knew
I was breaking the law
and I could get away with it.

And there was nothing
they could do to stop me.

I could keep doing it.

I could literally talk
to law enforcement over the phone,
lie to them, do something illegal,
send them somewhere,
have a place evacuated,
it's coming on the news and
there was nothing they could do about it.

They couldn't find me, couldn't arrest me.

Nothing they could do.

So I could do that as much as I wanted.

I was
I was like, unstoppable, you could say.

["Jane Doe".]
A lot of people praised him.

People being like, "Wow, you're so cool,"
or, "Wow, can't believe you're doing this
and not getting caught.
" Stuff like that.

He's never had a job,
doesn't have any working skills.

He did not graduate from high school.

Swatting was a way for him
to earn notoriety.

It was about impressing other kids,
or other gamers online
and showing them that you could do
other things online than just game.

I kind of had to tell him, like,
"You don't really understand
how the real world works.
"
"People do get caught
for the things that they do.
"
[Koerner.]
Tyler's grandmother found it
very difficult to understand him.

There was a volatility
to her relationship with Tyler.

And she grew frightened of him.

[tense music playing.]

[indistinct newscast.]

[Koerner.]
In September of 2015,
his grandmother is watching
KABC TV newscast in Los Angeles.

And he says to his grandmother,
"Do you think
I could clear out that building?"
[Barriss.]
This is when I had just started.

I was sending the bomb squad to schools
and having the schools evacuated
just to have it come on the news.

And I wanted to evacuate
something kind of bigger.

Instead of having the news
report on a school that got evacuated,
why don't I just
evacuate the news studio itself?
It's unusual for those
who report the news to become the news.

Well, that's what happened today to
the staff at KABC, in Southern California.

The station had to do
its four o'clock newscast
from a lawn down the street
after a bomb threat forced everyone
in that building to evacuate.

[Barriss.]
They were actually
broadcasting live on Channel 7 News
when I made the phone call.

So I thought it would be
interesting to make that call,
and watch the TV
and see what happened on the TV.

[reporter.]
A bomb squad and search dogs
combed through the building,
eventually ruling it safe to re-enter.

[intense music playing.]

[Koerner.]
Tyler's grandmother
immediately suspects Tyler
and confronts him.

And says, "I know you did this.
"
He says, "Yes, I did it.
"
"But you will not tell another living soul
or else I will beat you bloody
and I will blow up our house.
"
And she's terrified.

However, she has a longtime friend
who's a college police officer
and she confides in him the fact
that Tyler did this bomb threat.

[brooding music playing.]

[Dorroh.]
My primary job is,
I'm an explosives investigator
for the bomb squad.

Back in September, October 2015,
there were a series of swatting incidents
that were being called in
across the country.

There were also cases
involving bomb threats,
and we weren't sure at the time
if they were all related or not.

But on September 29th,
I responded to two school bomb threats
in the San Fernando Valley.

One was at a junior high,
one was at an elementary school.

We took the police reports,
and then got in contact
with the Glendale police officers.

They advised me that they had arrested
a person by the name of Tyler Barriss
after calling in a bomb threat to
the news stations there in Glendale.

That's the first time I heard his name.

I had to take and piece together
the forensic trail.

The first thing I did
was met up with the 14-year-old student
who took the telephone call
at the office at the middle school.

We played the audio recordings for
six different swatting calls that I had.

And as soon as we hit
the, uh, Tyler Barriss audio recordings,
she was like she knew exactly.

She was emphatic that was him.

["Crossbow" by Tamar Aphek playing.]

[Dorroh.]

Tyler Barriss has a distinctive voice.

When I get these different calls,
I typically give them a title
so I can keep them all.

You know, "mush-mouth," "baritone.
"
Something along those lines.

With Tyler Barriss,
I used the word "snide.
"
Hit him with a hammer ♪
[Koerner.]
Tyler became very adept
at covering his tracks.

He always used the voice over IP services
to call from numbers that would dead-end
somewhere that was not connected to him.

[Dorroh.]
We had tied him into a number
of other cases across the country.

We had five LAX bomb threats
that he was responsible for.

At one point I tied him
into seven in one week.

He would change his script along the way,
but it was the voice
that we always came back to.

[Koerner.]
They'd go and arrest Tyler
at the house in Chatsworth.

[police sirens blaring.]

[Koerner.]
Ultimately, Tyler Barriss
pleads no contest to the charges,
and is sentenced to approximately
two years in the Los Angeles County Jail.

His grandmother, fearing for her own life,
had taken out
a restraining order against him.

[tense music playing.]

[Barriss.]

It was my first time ever being in jail.

Everything was all new to me.

I wasn't worried or scared.

It was more like, "Okay, well,
my bail was a million dollars,
and I'm stuck in this situation.
"
So, it just was what it was.

I was just doing the time
until I ended up getting out.

I got released from the county jail
after 16 months.

It was 2:00 a.
m.

when I finally stepped foot outside.

I had nowhere to go.

I didn't have anywhere to stay.

I didn't know anyone in LA.

[tense music continues.]

[Barriss.]
My grandmother,
she had already told me not to go back.

But I don't know how to be homeless
and survive in the streets
and do all that.

I just went back to the only place
that I knew, which was my house.

All the doors were locked
and I just camped out back all night,
until about 6:00 a.
m.

I've lived with her my whole life.

I know what her routine is.

I kind of just hung out in the backyard
until she unlocked the back door
to do some laundry.

And I just walked in the house.

She was kind of shocked that I was there,
and she told me
that I wasn't supposed to be there.

He contacted the grandmother,
a violation of the restraining order.

And we put him
right back in custody again.

Tyler lives in his own little world.

He doesn't have any real-world friends.

He doesn't have any employers
or anything along those lines.

So I think his only lifeline that he has
is his grandmother
and he spoiled that relationship.

[Koerner.]
Tyler was then in jail
from January 2017 to August 2017.

It makes you really sad
to, like, grow up with somebody
and be really close with them
for such a long time,
and next thing you know, they're in jail
and their whole life is upside-down,
and you don't recognize
who's in front of you anymore.

We kind of lost contact
and I moved on with my life.

[Koerner.]
When Tyler is released,
he finds a homeless shelter to live in
near Exposition Park in Los Angeles.

He ends up spending all his time going
to a library near the homeless shelter.

[insistent music playing.]

[Dorroh.]
He goes right back to doing
what he believes he's singularly best at.

[typing.]

[Dorroh.]
He was using his cell phone
on the public Wi-Fi system
to make these calls.

And he would do it
for a variety of reasons.

Sometimes he would do it for pay.

[Koerner.]
This is a person
who's never held a traditional job,
and maybe lacks
a lot of the skills necessary to do so.

[interviewer.]

How much were you making per swat?
[Barriss.]
I was charging people depending
on how much of a stranger they were to me,
anywhere from $20 to $50 per swat.

But, quite frankly,
I enjoyed the thrill of swatting.

I just enjoyed doing it.

Having it appear on the news
and then bragging about it on Twitter.

[interviewer.]
Yeah.

[Barriss.]
I just, for whatever reason,
enjoyed doing that.

[911 operator.]
Hi, what's going on?
[Barriss.]
My dad, he's going crazy,
he's got his gun out.

[Dorroh.]
He enjoyed swatting people.

It was his form of entertainment.

[Barriss.]

Yeah, I left some bombs at my high school
and they're gonna blow up in 15 minutes.

Just scared.
I don't see why people
would want to harm children.

[Dorroh.]
He had about
a dozen different Twitter handles.

He would post links
to the news stories on it,
you know, as "proof,"
taking credit for it.

[reporter.]
We have new information on
the bomb threat that led to an evacuation
of the Kay Bailey Hutchison
Convention Center.

[man.]

We heard an alarm go off, like, ten times?
And they're like, "We need you to leave.
"
[Dorroh.]
During the time period
that he was out of custody,
we found approximately 37 other cases
that he had called in
bomb threats or swattings.

[Barriss.]
I'm upset with some people.

They got me mad,
so now they're going to pay for it.

And I also have a gun too.

[Dorroh.]

He was like a one-man wrecking crew.

He was just out of control.

[somber music playing.]

[Koerner.]
A couple weeks later,
the Federal Communications Commission
in Washington, DC
is having a very key meeting
about the future of net neutrality.

[Barriss.]
The FCC, broadcasting the vote
on net neutrality live on Twitter
had like 160,000 viewers, at the time.

And it was a federal building,
a little bit more high profile
than some of my other evacuations.

So I posted on Twitter
that I was gonna evacuate that building.

On advice of security,
we need to take a brief recess.

[clears throat softly.]

[Koerner.]
This is a huge issue the FCC
is considering, of national importance.

And Tyler is well aware of
the importance to his community,
to gamers in particular.

And once again, he takes
credit for this and laughs about it.

He takes great pride that his power
now extends to the halls of government.

[Barriss.]
I wasn't trying to scare them
out of voting or whatever was going on.

That didn't concern me.

I just knew it was gonna bring
my Twitter a lot of attention.

And my Twitter was quite popular that day.

Gamers and hackers and people
doing dark criminal stuff online.

My Twitter was quite popular
in that scene of individuals.

Whoever it is running this Twitter
is swatting and evacuating everything.

[Dorroh.]
Since 2014,
I had been investigating
swatting cases more and more.

We all recognized,
even the gaming community recognized it,
as a dangerous practice.

But we never had that fatality
and we were just kind of waiting for it.

We knew it was going to happen.

- [gunfire.]

- [man.]
Go, go, go!
[suspenseful music playing.]

[gunfire in video game continues.]

[Koerner.]
On December 28, 2017,
Shane Gaskill,
who lives in Wichita, Kansas,
is playing Call of Duty
with another gamer named Casey Viner,
who lives outside Cincinnati.

They're playing on a site
where you can actually win
small amounts of money
for winning one of these games.

In the midst of all this violent chaos,
Shane Gaskill accidentally shoots
Casey Viner's character to death.

[suspenseful music continues.]

[Koerner.]
They lose the game
and don't get the $1.
50 wager
that had been placed on the game.

Shane and Casey get into
a huge dispute about this online,
and Casey decides that he wants
to take revenge on Shane Gaskill.

Casey knew exactly where to go.

And so he contacted "SWAuTistic"
as Tyler was known online.

["Flagging" by Bettina Köster playing.]

[Koerner.]
Shane Gaskill saw that
"SWAuTistic" was now following him
to collect information.

And then Shane Gaskill sent
a direct message to Tyler Barriss.

"Please try some shit.
I'll be waiting.
"
"1033 West McCormick Street,
Wichita, Kansas.
"
This is a person telling
the ostensibly most feared swatter
that he doesn't have
the balls to go through with it.

Tyler kind of had a God complex.

His ego was really big.

[Barriss.]
People are actually ignorant and
arrogant enough to give you their address
and tell you to come do something.

[911 operator.]

This is 911.
What's going on?
[Barriss.]
My mom and dad, they were
arguing and I shot him in the head.

And he's not breathing anymore.

[911 operator.]

Do you have any weapons on you?
[Barriss.]
Yeah, I do.
A handgun.

[911 operator.]
Okay.
What's your address?
[Barriss.]
It's 1033 West McCormick Street.

["Flagging" by Bettina Köster
continues playing.]

[sirens blaring.]

[Koerner.]
The problem is, Shane Gaskill
had given the wrong address.

It wasn't Shane's house.

And the people who actually
lived in the house at that time
was the Finch family.

[somber music playing.]

[Francis Finch.]

Andrew Finch is my mom's brother.

October 27th, 2002,
my mother got into a car crash
on her way to Texas
to get me and my sister.

She rolled three times in her truck
and was pronounced dead on scene.

I was like one or two, I believe.

Andrew was like, maybe 16 or 17.

I believe that he had felt he had a duty
to take care of me and my sister.

He taught me
a lot of the things that I know now.

And that's why I regard him as my father
is because I feel like a father's duty
is to teach a young man
how to be a man in life.

[sizzling.]

[suspenseful music playing.]

[Ali Abdelhadi.]

Andy actually cooked dinner for us.

That day he made pasta
with tomato sauce with cheese
and big pork chops.

We were just relaxing, chilling,
because it was just
a few days past Christmas.

There was a paved alley
right against the house
where there was this huge pothole.

[thud on pothole.]

[Abdelhadi.]
When I heard one vehicle,
didn't seem odd.

It happens all the time.

[thud.]

[tense music playing.]

[Lisa.]
Andy got up to see who was there.

By this point,
police had surrounded the house.

And Andrew opens the door
and he's caught by police lights,
officers all over
to the east of the house,
to the west of the house,
directly in front of the house.

[Lisa.]

He didn't know who was there for him.

You know, he didn't know.

[indistinct police radio chatter.]

[officer 1.]
Hey, front door! Hands!
- [officer 2.]
Show your hands!
- [officer 1.]
He's right there.

[officer 3.]
Walk this way!
[Abdelhadi.]
I started hearing
commands from everywhere.

I didn't exactly make them out.

Shouting.

[Haze.]
And in the seven seconds
of opening the door,
an officer pulled the trigger
on his AR-15
[gunshot.]

and shot Andrew once
from, I believe, it was 67 yards away.

[somber music playing.]

[Abdelhadi.]
He was on his face,
barely able to breathe.

[inhales.]

And on his face
and laid out in front of the front door
to the inside of the house.

That's when Lisa came out.

She goes, "I heard Andy scream.

What's going on?"
I said, "I don't know.

I'm getting ready to find out.
"
I'm looking at him, possibly dying,
couldn't tell her that.

Figured the next shot
might be coming at me.

I didn't know who was shooting.

And then they're on their intercom saying,
"Everyone get out from the east side.
"
[Lisa.]

Telling us to come out with our hands up.

[Haze.]
Dispatch was actually still
on the phone with Tyler at this point.

Tyler actually
stayed on the phone with 911
for 16 minutes after the shooting.

- [Barriss.]
Hello?
- [911 operator.]
I'm still here, okay?
[Barriss.]
Yeah, me too.

[Haze.]
Despite them still being on phone
with the alleged hostage-taker,
the family was dragged outside,
barefoot, handcuffed.

The family was basically
treated as criminals,
while WPD tore through the house.

[Barriss.]
My dad isn't breathing.

It's kind of giving me anxiety
and making me, like, paranoid.

[Abdelhadi.]
They kept asking us,
"Who else is up there?"
So we're confused at that point.

We didn't know what happened,
why they were there.

I kept saying, "Why are you guys here?"
But their confusion
was even more than our confusion.

They couldn't tell us what's going on.

They kept asking
who else was in the house.

[Francis.]

I was at my friend Isaac's house
and I started getting these texts,
like, "Are you okay?"
"There's cops at your house.
"
"Hey, are you good?"
"Do you know what's going on?"
I'm just, "I don't know.

I'm not at my house right now.
"
And then like an hour goes by, maybe two,
articles start coming out,
"Man shot at 1033 West McCormick.
"
"Unidentified man shot at"
I almost like,
the moment I saw "Man shot at" I
I almost knew, like, automatically.

And that's when I found out it was him.

I just like, dropped down
to my knees at that point,
not being able to breathe.

I remember
almost forgetting, like, to inhale.

I just sat there in disbelief.

[somber music continues playing.]

[Haze.]
Andrew's niece Adelina
lived with the family.

I believe she was 17
at the time of the shooting.

She was actually forced
to step over Andrew
as he was laying on the floor,
bleeding out and gasping for air.

[Francis.]

They left him there on the ground
until all of it was over with.

So she had to walk over his body,
and look at him and see him,
and then get handcuffed outside.

[Haze.]
Andrew laid there
for roughly 15 to 20 minutes
before receiving
any medical attention whatsoever.

Officers were actually told
to not move the body,
and step over him,
and ambulance was on-scene,
and the ambulance was held back.

Instead of going to the hospital
with their family member,
they were taken downtown for questioning.

[somber music continues.]

[Abdelhadi.]
In the interrogation room,
the detective said,
"Would you know of someone that is
holding a grudge against you or the house
that would actually make
a false call to create chaos?"
I said, "Not necessarily, no, why?"
"You haven't told me, how is Andy?"
"'Cause I know when
I saw him inside the house,
he was having a hard time breathing.
"
"Did he get better?
Did they take him to the hospital?"
He said, "I am very sorry, Ali,
but he did not survive his wounds.
"
[somber music continues.]

[Lisa.]
I did not cry.

I did not get hysterical.

I became determined
and was going to do what I needed to
to make sure this was handled.

For justice.

You know, I didn't know if I was
going to be able to uphold myself
as a human being after that day.

[distant gunshots
and grunting in video game.]

[Koerner.]
About an hour and a half
after Andy Finch was shot,
Shane Gaskill sent a Twitter DM to Tyler.

"This shit has me dying.

They showed up to my old house, retard.
"
To him this was the funniest thing ever,
that he basically duped
the notorious Tyler Barriss
into swatting the wrong house.

Upon revealing this,
Tyler defends himself and says,
"You gave an address
that you don't live at,
but you were acting tough,
LOL, so you're a bitch.
"
Gaskill said, "Anyways,
good job, but you failed the mission
because I trolled
the fuck outta you guys.
"
And they have a petty dispute
over who has bragging rights,
who emerged victorious in this scenario.

Right now, a false 911 call led to
a deadly officer-involved shooting in
[Koerner.]
A couple hours later,
the local newscast in Wichita
start carrying reports about this death
on West McCormick Street.

And Gaskill realizes what's happened.

And so he reaches out
to both Tyler and Casey Viner and says,
"You guys need to delete everything.

This is a murder case now.
"
[brooding music plays.]

[Haze.]
We were actually trying
to identify Tyler before the FBI did.

I understand social media
and the Internet pretty well, so,
that was probably 30 minutes
of actually constructing what happened.

He was decent at hiding his real name,
but he was not good at hiding
his digital footprint whatsoever.

There were accounts that he would just pop
back and forth through,
with "SWAuTistic" and "GoredTutor36"
being the two main ones.

I finally reached out to
the "GoredTutor36" account,
and said "Any chance you would like
to talk to us about last night's swat?"
"We really do want to hear your side.
"
Tyler actually responded with,
"Hmm.
Hi.
Here's my story.
"
And he produced a screenshot
that was actually Shane Gaskill
encouraging him and egging him on
and giving him a previous address
that his family had lived at.

Basically, that was Tyler saying
that Shane encouraged him
to swat that address.

And I said, "I understand that,
but why did he send it to you?"
"Like is it a paying gig
or just entertainment value?"
"How did you even get into swatting?"
And he put, "I was swatted once.
"
I put, "No shit.
What happened with that?"
And he put, "Well, I didn't die.
"
Man, he's a fucking little prick.

[chuckling.]

I don't even put
the full blame on him, but, man
He's just such a little fucking prick.

- Just that one sentence.
"I didn't die.
"
- [interviewer.]
"I didn't die.
"
After he knows, by the way,
that someone did die in this circumstance.

Yeah.

[Haze.]
When word got out
that these three gamers
got an innocent man killed
by doing a swatting,
the Internet responded
and they were not happy
about what had happened.

He even made a post saying,
"Hypothetically speaking,
let's say I just kill myself right now
for the purpose of this
getting through your guys' heads.
"
"Will justice have been served?"
One user responded, "I would be happier.
"
Another one responded,
"You won't be missed.
"
"You were the cause.
"
"Going to jail, bro.
"
"Lol I got someone killed
but It's Just A Prank Bro
so it's perfectly fine.
"
That's actually a pretty good summary
of how he tried to play it off.

[Koerner.]
A tremendous amount
of abuse is hurled his way.

And so when a big YouTube star
reaches out to him,
he consents to be interviewed.

[Keemstar.]
Ladies and gentlemen, we have
the alleged swatter on here, "SWAuTistic.
"
So you swatted that address.
Correct?
- [Barriss.]
Sure.

- And then this guy gets killed.

[Barriss.]

That's what happened, I guess.

And you said this on Twitter.

You said, "I didn't get anyone killed
because I didn't discharge a weapon.
"
Do you take any responsibility
for what happened?
[Barriss.]
Um, the argument can be made
that the police would've never showed up
if I didn't make the call.

However, 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,
and taunted to swat that address,
you could point the finger
at the cop who killed someone,
at the guy who made the call,
at the person who provided the address,
saying, "Oh, look, this is where I live.

Go ahead and swat me!"
Uh, so it's really debatable.

[Dorroh.]
I recognized
Tyler Barriss's voice right off the bat.

I had five investigators
all huddle around my phone
and we're sitting there watching it
on my department phone.

[Barriss.]
It really sucks being connected
to this incident in any fucking way,
and if I could rewind, I would,
'cause this is all stupid.

It fit into his profile wanting to brag,
wanting the recognition, everything.

Are you worried that they'll find you?
That the FBI will find you and you'll
be arrested and charged for this?
[Barriss.]
Currently, not so much.

[tense music playing.]

[Koerner.]
One person posts on Twitter
that they know that this is
the same person responsible
for the KABC TV bomb threats in 2015,
and the police
are already investigating this.

And they could see on his Twitter feed,
he's taking direct responsibility for
what occurred on West McCormick Street.

So, it doesn't take much detective work
to have a prime suspect in this case.

[Dorroh.]
The surveillance team
went to his address
that was listed on his California ID card,
and followed him from there on foot
to the library.

[suspenseful music playing.]

[interviewer.]
Did it ever occur to you
in all of this that someone might die?
[Barriss.]
No, that never crossed my mind.

I've never killed anyone,
so I don't know what that feels like.

But I've also never been responsible
for someone dying.

But-but-but the consequences of
killing someone, from what I know,
are pretty severe.

You can get life in prison,
you can get the death sentence.

So being responsible for someone dying
I was pretty much
the sole reason that the police
even went to that house.

So when I found out someone died at
the house that I sent the SWAT team to,
I was I couldn't
It was a very surreal moment for me.

[interviewer.]
Were you worried more
about the ramifications on you,
or the fact
that someone's life was just taken?
[Barriss.]
Well, you I was
It was it was both.

I didn't immediately
feel guilty that someone died.

I didn't know what to think.

It's almost like life wasn't real anymore.

[reporter 1.]
Police have arrested
a 25-year-old man in Los Angeles.

[reporter 2.]

This is 25-year-old Tyler Barriss.

We've learned that the LAPD
has taken him into custody
and he is facing
potential charges in this case.

In 2015, he was arrested because
he called in bomb threats
into a CNN-affiliate ABC,
a television station in California.

He eventually served
two years in that case,
so this certainly
would not be the first time
that he's done some
serious damage with his phone.

[Haze.]
I got over there
for the first time that following night.

There was still blood on the front porch,
on the carpet of the entryway.

And that's when
I did my first interview with Lisa.

We're here with the mother
of last night's
Wichita Police Department shooting victim.

[Haze.]
It's like, "I don't"
"I don't really know how to tell you this,
but it was a $1.
50 bet
on Call of Duty Online.
"
"That's the root of all this.
"
[clicks tongue.]

I mean, a $1.
50 bet.

I think it was
disgusting.

But it happened,
and they're going to have to face it.

Everybody's gonna have to deal with it
because it did happen.

You know? Even myself.

I have to deal with it.

[dramatic music playing.]

[Haze.]

No matter how big of an asshole he is,
no matter how terrible a person he is,
at the end of the day,
Tyler didn't pull the trigger.

- [indistinct yelling.]

- [gunshot.]

[Haze.]
Twelve other officers
that night did not pull a trigger.

There was one officer
that pulled a trigger.

The reaction was anger in this area.

[woman.]
It was a senseless murder
and we hope to find out
more information as it comes out.

We need to stand out and make sure
things like this don't happen,
hold people accountable,
and be here for those
who have lost this great man,
28 years young.

[vigil attendee.]
I think people
are pretty horrified about what happened.

They are fearful.

They know it could've happened to anybody.

If we have a police force
which does the opposite
of de-escalation in situations like this,
you have these tragedies.

[Haze.]
In Wichita, in Kansas in general,
they don't name the officers.

They protect the officers.

[reporter.]
Will we be able to get
the name of the officer involved?
Yeah, it's important to know
that the department has a long history
of not releasing names of officers
involved in shootings.

[Dion Lefler.]
It's very difficult
to get information on these incidents.

Kansas has possibly the weakest
open records law in the country.

They basically hope you don't find out
and the statute of limitations expires
so they don't have to pay out on a case.

The national average for shootings
was about one for every 1300 officers.

In Wichita, 2012,
we had one shooting death
for every 120 officers, approximately.

So we were about 11 times higher than
the national average here in Wichita.

[dramatic music continues.]

[Haze.]
I received an email
and the person said it had been a minute
"since I've given you anything.
"
"Your shooter's Justin Rapp.
"
[brooding music playing.]

[interviewer.]

You're first to publish his name.

[Haze.]
Yes.

[Ann Jones.]
Justin Rapp has been
with our department now eight years.

He has formal military training.

He has been featured
in episodes of Cops a couple of times.

[Rapp.]
Get on the ground, right now!
He has gotten many reports
of "use of force" against him.

[inaudible.]

[Haze.]
We've been told there is around
a dozen incident reports against Justin
before the shooting of Andrew Finch.

On one of our highway overpasses
we put "Arrest Officer Rapp.
"
We just wanted to make sure
Rapp's name stayed important.

That's also why we made the T-shirts.

One of my friends had seen that movie,
The Three Billboards or whatever.

And he said, "Why don't we do that?"
[reporter.]
Billboards are designed
to catch your attention,
but four digital billboards in Wichita
aren't marketed towards
getting your money.

They're asking for justice.

[Jones.]
He didn't follow any procedure,
any protocol.

He didn't even bother to think
that this guy might be a hostage.

He just shot him dead
and it could have happened to any of us.

So I think that's why the community
has stayed so involved
in pushing for the arrest of Justin Rapp.

He needs to be charged
for the murder of Andrew Finch.

express thoughts and prayers
[Lisa.]
The cops can't just go around
shooting people without any consequences.

I mean, that cop murdered my son.

[Lisa.]
My granddaughter saw the shooting
and had to see her uncle lay there dying.

She's only 17,
but she's had a lot of trauma in her life.

And I don't know if she'll survive this.

I don't know.

[Francis.]
I'm not going to lie,
I did contemplate suicide,
many times after that.

You know?
But
I just It's just It's just
Hold on, I'm sorry.

[unsettling music playing.]

We're going to teach you how to make cake.

[Haze.]
Adelina clearly had some issues
with what had happened.

[Lisa.]
She was forced
to see her father figure dying.

She could not stand
the constant nightmares and flashbacks.

And she could not stand to be alone.

Exactly a year and two weeks, exactly,
this past January 11th
Adelina
shot herself
in the head.

[delicate music playing.]

[giggling softly.]

[Lefler.]
And then her boyfriend,
who found her having just shot herself,
he wound up committing suicide too.

So really the death toll from this
is three, not one.

[Francis.]

I'm surprised I'm still here today.

I'm surprised I'm sitting here
doing this interview today, because
I thought it was going
to be me that did it.

That night, she had taken me to work,
and she's supposed
to pick me up at ten o'clock
and we're supposed to hang out afterwards.

Well, my cousin Jaden had came
and he picked me up
and I had told Adelina,
[voice breaks.]
"You don't have
to come pick me up.
It's okay.
"
So, I was supposed to be with her,
at the same exact time
that she had killed herself.

And I wasn't.

I just feel like I could have stopped it.

I know her.

[sniffles.]

That's why I should have seen
that something was wrong.

There was There was, like
[sighs deeply.]

[judge.]
Madam Clerk,
can you call the next item, please?
[county clerk.]

Lisa Finch, Andrew Finch shooting.

[Lisa.]
The death of my son
has changed every iota of my being.

I never wanted to be in the public eye.

My preference before this
was staying at home
and not to be put on display.

The person I was before no longer exists.

The concept of due process
goes back as far to 1215 A.
D.

from Clause 39 of the Magna Carta.

This should indicate
that due process is not new.

Shouldn't law enforcement
and public officials be aware
and abide by this constitutional right?
[judge.]
L-Lisa.

Can you wrap it up right quick?
You've gone over five minutes.
So
My time has been taken away from me, sir.

- This is my time.
Are you? Do you
- Right.

[woman.]
She can have my five minutes.

- [judge.]
She can't.
That's not the rules.

- You work for the public.

- [judge.]
Correct.

- I'm taking my time.

I'm gonna make them so uncomfortable.

I am.

And I'm going to continue
talking about this
[Jones.]
She's strong.
And she's a fighter.

- And, uh
- [applause.]

she's not going to let them
get away with this.

She's just not.

[tense music playing.]

[Marc Bennett.]
To charge Officer Number 1
would require evidence,
not 20/20 hindsight.

That it was unreasonable for him
to believe in that moment
that the man who came to the door
posed a risk to the officers
near the house,
there is insufficient evidence to overcome
self-defense immunity under Kansas law.

So under Kansas law
and the facts of this case,
I conclude that no charges
will be filed against the officer
for the death of Andrew Finch.

[reporter.]
Deputy Chief Troy Livingston
says it was in this moment
when Finch dropped his hand,
an officer thought
he reached for a weapon.

You see the officer pull the trigger
on the lower left side of the screen.

You have officers from the other side
also giving commands
and they were all consistent about
"Put your hands up, walk towards us,"
um, but he continued to
drop them down by his waistband.

[tense music fades.]

[dramatic music playing.]

[Lefler.]
I don't think
that complete exoneration
was what most people were expecting,
or that there wouldn't
be any charges filed.

That kind of reverberated
through the community.

[Lorrie Hernandez.]
When I got back here,
my sister said, "You need to sit down.
"
"I got to tell you some bad news
and you're not going to want to hear it.
"
[reporter.]
Andrew Finch's family
is upset to learn
that police will not face charges
for the shooting.

This decision almost
four months after his death.

[SWAT officer.]
Walk this way!
Walk
[gunshot.]

[Haze.]
Not even worth going to trial.

Although Casey, Shane, and Tyler,
all three are.

Casey asked somebody to do a swatting.

Shane Gaskill gave an address,
and talked shit to somebody.

And these guys got charged.

Justin Rapp pulled the trigger
that killed Andrew Finch,
and he didn't even get
a slap on the wrist.

He still has his job.

[cold music playing.]

[Haze.]
We did learn in September of 2021
that Justin was actually
involved in two other shootings
before the Andrew Finch shooting.

Hello, sir, are you Tyler Barriss?
Yes.

Mr.
Barriss, I show you're currently
charged with involuntary manslaughter,
giving false alarm, and interference
with law enforcement officers.

Your next court date
is January 25th at 9:00 a.
m.

Do you have any questions, sir?
- No, I don't.

- All right, thank you.

Tyler is facing his
involuntary manslaughter charge
at the state level in Kansas.

In other federal jurisdictions,
he's, uh, charged with crimes
associated to his swatting,
his bomb threats,
of which there are many, many counts,
and he's able to negotiate a global plea
to the federal charges that roll
all of the cases into one,
and then Tyler pleads guilty.

[reporter.]
Tyler Barriss sentenced today
to 20 years behind bars
after pleading guilty
for a swatting prank that turned deadly.

The longest prison sentence in the country
ever imposed for the practice of swatting.

We hope that this will send
a strong message.

[interviewer.]

Tyler Barriss got 20 years in prison.

Yeah.

- What do you think about that?
- I think it's good.

[exhales.]

You know, like my son said,
we have to forgive people.

Because that's what
we're supposed to do,
according to our faith.

And I'm trying to forgive.

[Francis.]

These are just a few of his drawings.

On my birthday,
he would always draw stuff out for me.

This one right here
is one of my favorites.

The Internet, well, all it did is
bring two idiots together
playing a video game.

Technology benefits
people with brains, intelligent people.

But when technology is used by idiots,
it creates chaos and it creates disasters
and that's exactly what happened.

[Francis.]
The gaming community,
I believe, can be very toxic,
can be very, very negative.

Sometimes I'll get messages, like, um,
"If you keep on doing that
I'm gonna trace your IP address"
and fry my router or something like that.

Like, take down my Internet.

They'll say like, "Go fuck yourself,"
you know, "Go kill yourself.
"
"I'm gonna go swat your house.
"
[gunfire.]

But, uh, I like it because
it takes me out of the world.

It takes me into my own mindset.

I have full control
of everything that I do.

I can do whatever I want
within the parameters of that game.

Just go on there
and beat the living shit out of somebody,
over and over and over again.

And then I'm not angry anymore.

[emotional music playing.]

[Francis.]

I feel as if it's a therapy for me.

It's not just something
that I do just for fun.

It keeps me from thinking about
the situation, pretty much.

I cannot make any action
to make all this go away.

You know, I can't just sit here
and go like this,
and now my life's going back to normal.

But if I wanted to,
I could do that in a video game
and I find that pretty cool.
You know?
That's what I like about that.

[emotional music soaring.]

[man 1.]
We are in an informational crisis
that is destroying us.

[woman.]
The Internet just went crazy.

You have to question
your own sense of reality.

[man 2.]
I was called the hit man.

Accused of taking money
in order to explicitly cover up a murder.

[closing theme music playing.]

Next Episode