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California man, two others indicted in fatal Kansas ‘swatting’ case

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A man accused of making a hoax call that led police in Kansas to kill an unarmed man was indicted by a federal grand jury along with two others involved in the “swatting” incident that stemmed from a video game dispute, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Swatting is when a caller falsely reports an emergency requiring a police response.

Using a false name, Tyler Barriss, 25, of California, contacted Wichita authorities and reported that after a fight between his parents, he had shot and killed his father, held his mother and brother at gunpoint and threatened to light the house on fire before committing suicide, according to the indictment unsealed on Wednesday.

 A Wichita police officer fatally shot Andrew Finch, 28, after law enforcement officials rushed to his home following the false reports.
On Dec. 28, Casey Viner, 18, of Ohio, got into a dispute while playing an online game with Shane Gaskill, 19, of Kansas, the indictment said.

Viner, upset at Gaskill, contacted Barriss and asked him to make the false report to police at an address provided by Gaskill. Viner did not know the address Gaskill provided was an address where Gaskill no longer lived, but Gaskill did and Gaskill continued to give the old address to Barriss, prosecutors said.

After media reports of the shooting, Gaskill urged Barriss to delete their communications and Viner wiped his phone, the indictment said.

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Lawyers for Barriss, Viner or Gaskill could not immediately be reached for comment.

U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister told a news conference on Wednesday that falsely causing police to respond to the address of an innocent person or family was not a joke or prank, but a federal crime. “Moreover, such behavior is simply irresponsible and immoral,” McAllister said.

Barriss was charged with conveying false information and hoaxes, cyberstalking, threatening to kill another or damage property by fire, and transmitting interstate threats, the indictment said.

 Barriss and Viner were charged with conspiracy and several counts of wire fraud, the indictment said. Viner and Gaskill were charged with obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice, and Gaskill was also charged with wire fraud and additional counts of obstruction of justice.
The false hoax charge carries a maximum punishment of life in federal prison while other charges carry sentences of up to 20 years, McAllister said.

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Barriss had already been accused of swatting, and was previously charged locally with involuntary manslaughter, giving a false alarm and interference with law enforcement. He is set to be arraigned next month.

Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Virginia Democrats are so fired up that the party chair had to scold them: ‘Sit down — be quit’

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Democrats in Virginia are fired up as they gathered in Richmond for their annual gala dinner.

Political analysts believe the Democratic Party of Virginia has a good chance to win control of the state legislature in 2019's election, before setting their sights on the Commonwealth continuing its recent trend of voting Democratic in presidential elections.

Patrick Wilson, a political reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, attended the event.

He reported that Democrats were so "noisy" that it was hard to hear the speakers, which include presidential candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

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‘Everyone knows what to expect’ at Trump’s Amway Center re-election kickoff

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Donald Trump considers himself a legendary salesman, but can he really sell America on giving him four more drama-filled years at the White House?

Tuesday, he'll make his big pitch.

The 2020 reelection kickoff rally is being held in Orlando, Florida and campaign operations chief Michael Glassner says the "historic" event "has already generated tens of thousands of ticketing requests."

There's little mystery about how the night will go down.

Expect Trump, the self-promoting hero of his ghost-written book "The Art of the Deal," to claim the US economy is richer, the military stronger, and the country more respected than ever in history.

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Florida man’s own family blasts him after he was arrested for racist threats: ‘This isn’t how we were raised’

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After a Florida man was arrested for trying to start a race war, a member of his own family slammed his values.

"A Florida man’s social media posts that threatened violence against African-Americans, Jews and homosexuals and that urged his followers to start a race war netted him a $1 million bond," the Miami Herald reported Saturday. "And then there’s another $100,000 bond he would have to pay to get out of Lee County Jail because of a weapons charge."

Joshua Leff, 40, is being held in the Lee County Jail.

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