Teen video gamer sent to jail for prank call that led to police killing a man

'Swatting' involves making false police reports about online opponents in the video gaming community. In this case, the victim had no idea anything was happening.

Chris Riotta
New York
@chrisriotta
Saturday 14 September 2019 21:18
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Casey Viner, 19, pleaded guilty after he asked his teammate to 'swat' someone who killed his in-game character. The incident led to police shooting and killing 28-year-old David Finch, who was not playing the game and had no involvement, officials said.
Casey Viner, 19, pleaded guilty after he asked his teammate to 'swat' someone who killed his in-game character. The incident led to police shooting and killing 28-year-old David Finch, who was not playing the game and had no involvement, officials said.

A teenage video gamer has been jailed for his role in a prank phone call that led to police killing a man on his doorstep.

Casey S Viner admitted that he had conspired with fellow gamer Tyler Raj Barriss after they had argued with another player of Call of Duty: WWII, a police affadavit claimed.

The 19-year-old provided Barris with an address for the third player. Barris then called the police out to that address.

The practice known as swatting, typically involves gamers egging each other on to file false reports against their opponents and having officers sent to their homes.

However; Viner gave an old address for their fellow player and officers were sent to the home of 28-year-old Andrew Finch in Wichita, Kansas. He had no idea what was happening.

Barriss, 25, told the dispatcher he was holding his mother and brother at gunpoint and that he wanted to kill himself and set the house on fire.

As officers surrounded his house, a completely unaware Finch, lowered his hands and was shot. He later died in hospital, officials said.

Police found that he had no part of the online fight before the shooting in December 2017.

After pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of obstructing justice, Viner from Cincinatti, was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment at the Federal Court in Wichita.

Police said he had attempted to erase any history of his communications with the co-defendants.

He was also sentenced to two years of supervised released and ordered to pay restitution fees of $2,500 (£1,999).

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Barris was jailed for 20 years in March after pleading guilty to making the false police report.

It emerged during his case that he had used an app to alter his Los Angeles area code to a Witchita number.

"Swatting is not a prank, and it is no way to resolve disputes among gamers," US Attorney Stephen McAllister said in a statement after the sentencing.

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