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Crime and Courts

Two Swatting Defendants Make First Appearance In Federal Court

Hugo Phan
U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister announced federal charges against Shane Gaskill, Casey Viner and Tyler Barriss in May.

Two defendants allegedly involved in the swatting incident that led to the death of a Wichita man in December made their first appearance Wednesday in federal court.

Casey Viner, 18 and Shane Gaskill, 19, were each released on a $10,000 bond. The restrictions on the bond include not playing any online video games.

The incident started with a dispute over an online match of the video game "Call of Duty," according to the indictment. Viner allegedly contacted a third defendant, 25-year-old Tyler Barriss, and asked for him to swat — the act of placing a fake emergency call in order to get a police response at a target’s home — Gaskill.

Gaskill gave Barriss the wrong address, which led to Barriss placing the fake emergency call that led to the death of Andrew Finch, authorities said. Finch, who wasn’t involved in the incident, was killed by a Wichita police officer responding to the call.

Gaskill and Viner are being charged with obstruction of justice and wire fraud. Barriss could face up to life in prison for the fake emergency call. He also has been charged in state court in Finch’s death.

Stephan Bisaha reports on education for KMUW in Wichita and the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KMUW, Kansas Public Radio, KCUR and High Plains Public Radio covering health, education and politics. Follow him on @SteveBisaha. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to the original post.