By Chance Swaim
The Wichita Eagle
WICHITA, Kan. — Wichita police will begin
placing alerts on addresses where potential swatting targets could be
living, the department announced Friday.
The program is voluntary
and open to any person who thinks they could fall victim to swatting, a
false report to law enforcement meant to draw a large police presence to
a particular address. The practice has been growing in popularity on
the fringes of the online gaming community, including a case in Wichita
that ended in tragedy.
In Wichita’s swatting case, police shot an unwitting and unarmed man
on his front porch after Tyler Barriss, 26, called from California and
reported a murder and hostage situation at 1033 W. McCormick, the former
address of a gamer involved an online dispute.
swarmed the home and when 28-year-old Andrew Finch stepped out onto his
front porch, he was shot and killed by Officer Justin Rapp.
was not involved in the online game, and his family has filed a lawsuit
against the city. Rapp, who is still employed by the Wichita Police
Department, was not charged in Finch’s death. Barriss was sentenced to
20 years in federal prison for a host of swattings and bomb hoaxes he
made to schools, government buildings and businesses across the country.
can be the target of swatting, but victims are typically associated
with the tech industry, video game industry, or the online broadcasting
community,” Wichita police Officer Paul Cruz said in a news release.
swatting alert system would place an alert on addresses provided by
potential victims. Those alerts would be available to first responders,
including Sedgwick County 911 and the officers responding to a call.
alert would not minimize or slow emergency services but rather would
create awareness for officers responding to potential swatting
incidents,” Cruz said.
Request forms to put an alert on an address is available at wichitapolice.com and local police stations.
©2019 The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kan.)