McKenna on KIRO: Should hoax 911 caller be charged with murder?

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KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about a case of “swatting” that led to a Kansas man’s death. Tyler Barriss, a 25-year-old Californian, is charged with making a false 911 report in which he pretended to be someone taking his family hostage. Police responded to the Wichita address provided by Barriss, who has a history of making false reports, and shot 28-year-old Andrew Finch. The address did not actually belong to the video game opponent Barriss was angry with, and the two men had no connection.

Dave Ross: “So if you were the prosecutor in this case, would you go for a homicide charge against this 25-year-old who phoned in the fake call?”

Rob McKenna: “Absolutely. And I would do that because there needs to be an example set here for all these idiots – many of whom are apparently video gamers, who started this practice of swatting in order to be able to watch other people online be interrupted in their video gaming by a police raid.

“These guys need to get the message that this will not be tolerated. Now I say that even though, in my research, it appears that being charged with the federal crime of false information and hoax can result in life imprisonment already, if a death results.

“But nevertheless, I think because this moron was the proximate cause of this poor guy’s death, that a homicide charge would be justified.”

  • ssemans

    I’m assuming this discussion is about who, other than the cop, will be charged? That will be an interesting argument for the prosecution: “The defendant should have known that sending a police officer to the home of a random innocent person posed a serious risk of death to that person. We will introduce expert testimony to show that most police are both credulous and homicidal.”

  • Eldon

    I thought when someone called 911 their address automatically showed up at the 911 dispatch center. So why didn’t the 911 dispatch center see the caller as being located far away?

  • Larry

    He had no reason to believe that the police would shoot the man. Charge the man with what he actually did.