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Kansas House Approves Swatting Bill

Stephen Koranda
KPR/File photo

The Kansas House has voted to toughen penalties for so-called swatting pranks that use false police reports to draw law enforcement to an address.

A call about a non-existent hostage situation, stemming from an online video game dispute, led to police shooting and killing Wichita resident Andrew Finch last year.

Democratic Rep. Tom Sawyer lives near the scene of the shooting and said swatting deserves harsh penalties when it results in injuries or death.

Sawyer pushed successfully to have the bill named in honor of Finch.

“This was a senseless act that didn't have to happen," he said. "We have a mother without a son, a 2-year-old and a 7-year-old without their father."

The bill still needs Senate approval.

Police in Los Angeles have arrested a man for making the false report that led to Finch’s death.

Tyler Barriss is currently in the Sedgwick County Jail, and is charged with involuntary manslaughter, making a false alarm and interfering with law enforcement officers.


Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio, a partner in the Kansas News Service. Follow him on Twitter @KPRKoranda.