Patterico's Pontifications

12/30/2017

LAPD Makes an Arrest in That Deadly Wichita SWATting

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:30 am

Sincere congratulations to the Los Angeles Police Department for making this arrest. If you’re new to this story, you can read my post about this deadly SWATting here, as well as my own account of having been a SWATting victim in the past. I published the audio of the SWATting call and the body cam footage of the shooting here. Now a suspect has been arrested in Los Angeles:

A 25-year-old California man was arrested in connection to an online quarrel between two “Call of Duty” gamers that prompted a hoax call and led to a man being killed by police in Kansas.

Los Angeles police on Friday arrested Tyler Barriss, who law enforcement claimed is the “prankster” who called 911 and made up a story about a kidnapping in Wichita, ABC 7 reported.

Barriss reportedly gave police the address he believed the other gamer lived.

In the audio of the 911 call, the caller claimed his father had been shot in the head and that he was holding his mother and a sibling at gunpoint. The caller added that he poured gasoline inside the home and “might just set it on fire.”

. . . .

Dexerto, an online news service focused on gaming, reported that the series of events began with an online argument over a $1 or $2 wager in a “Call of Duty” game on UMG Gaming, which operates online tournaments including one involving “Call of Duty.”

The mother of the SWATting victim says her son was not a gamer. If that’s right, this was not just a SWATting, but also a SWATting in which the SWATter gave the wrong address. The man who opened his front door probably had absolutely no idea why he was being shouted at by police.

It’s reassuring to see law enforcement taking a SWATting seriously for once. It’s a shame that it took someone getting killed to motivate them. As I mentioned in my initial post, the “investigation” of my own SWATting was slipshod and laughable. The FBI waited so many months to gather basic evidence, some of it was purged in the interim. Evidently that lazy and disinterested level of energy was not in play here — for obvious reasons.

If the evidence is there to show the suspect made the call, I hope he is charged with murder. The act of making a SWATting call creates a high risk of death, and the person making the call knows it, and either intends that death or doesn’t care. If someone dies as a result, that’s murder, any way you slice it.

Some online are also calling for the prosecution of the police officer who fired the fatal shot. That may well be called for, but it also may be a heavy lift. The body cam footage (which I published here) does not clearly show the actions of the SWATting victim, which would be relevant to the officer’s mindset, even though the decedent was obviously innocent of any wrongdoing. The witnesses are all likely to be police officers with a possible bias towards justifying the shooting. Again, however, depending on the facts, a prosecution might be appropriate.

Unless you’re a radical salivating cop-hater who believes all cops are looking to shoot people for sport (and there are plenty such people online, I have found), you understand that the mindset of a police officer firing out of (even totally unreasonable) fear is different from the premeditated and malicious intent of the person who made the SWATting call.

I again think back to the two times I have faced police officers pointing guns at me — both resulting from misunderstandings that were quickly resolved — and I thank God that the officers did not have itchy trigger fingers. It’s a very volatile situation — and in this case, that situation was created entirely by the SWATter.

Charging the SWATter with murder in this case, if they can show he made the call, should be a no-brainer. I’ll stay on top of this story for you.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

53 Responses to “LAPD Makes an Arrest in That Deadly Wichita SWATting”

  1. Agree, I do! Swatter should be swatted, and made to be paid the ultimate penalty himself. Murder it is, and murderer should be made to pay.

    yoda jr (310909)

  2. Same to me as if he had hired a contract killer, knowing that the police officers would be in high gear and on edge with the info that the murderer provided. And going to extraordinary lengths to spoof the address and phone so that it would appear on a KC 911 call center while actually coming from Cali.

    yoda jr (310909)

  3. I hope he is charged with murder

    OMG, yes. These sick, horrible punk “pranksters” need to be prosecuted. And in CA, he clearly should be charged with murder.

    After listening to the 911 call, I can understand the cop’s reactions. Even though he was far away from the victim, he still had to deal with the issue of the supposed threatened explosion. So, tragic all the way round.

    I still remember one night years ago I was in my little student apartment and about 9 p.m. I hear pounding on the door. “This is the police, open the door!” I kept saying I was fine, that I didn’t call for help. I was begging, crying. I thought they were just local criminals trying to get in. Finally I called the PD. They went to the wrong address, to the North rather than the South. Lucky for me, they left with no one being hurt. I still say I was right not to open the door.

    Patricia (5fc097)

  4. I agree about the murder charge for whoever made the call, but I can’t decide if it should be 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree murder. The call was presumably premeditated. But it wasn’t an unambiguous order of murder. OTOH it seems a bit more deliberate than a drunk-driving (3rd/manslaughter) case. Any opinions, either generally or state-specific?

    David Pittelli (c51465)

  5. but also a SWATting in which the SWATter gave the wrong address

    i thought i read a comment in the other thread to where the guy being swatted gave out the address that the cops got sent to

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  6. A little background on SWATting:

    http://www.sfgate.com/business/technology/article/Officer-shoots-kills-man-while-investigating-12461509.php

    The FBI estimates that roughly 400 cases of swatting occur annually, with some using caller ID spoofing to disguise their number. An FBI supervisor in Kansas City, Missouri, which covers all of Kansas, said the agency joined in the investigation at the request of local police.

    BfC (5517e8)

  7. I don’t think he can even be extradited to Kansas to stand trial. My understanding is that California has adopted the UCEA which is the same as the Illinois law. It requires that the “fugitive” have fled the requesting State. It mirrors the Constitution, Article IV, Section 2, Clause 2.

    nk (dbc370)

  8. What current convenience will we lose from this. We lost mistletoe because of Weinstein and a goy bearded fatty cost us this: http://www.yahoo.com/news/apos-chilling-reason-disney-hotels-161331541.html

    urbanleftbehind (87ccb0)

  9. RIP Sue Grafton.

    The alphabet stops at “Y”

    Kevin M (752a26)

  10. Assuming that SWATting is felonious, a felony murder indictment seems reasonable.

    Assuming that CA has jurisdiction, malicious intent and “creating the circumstances that resulted in the killing” is 2nd degree murder even if felony 1st-degree murder doesn’t hold up:

    In a murder case, California law requires the prosecutor to prove that the defendant exhibited express or implied malice. Express malice means that the defendant deliberately chose to commit murder. Implied malice refers to conduct that reflects an “abandoned and malignant heart.” This can arise if the defendant meant to create the circumstances that resulted in the killing of another person. When a criminal case lacks malice, the prosecutor will likely need to pursue manslaughter charges instead of murder charges.

    http://statelaws.findlaw.com/california-law/california-second-degree-murder-laws.html

    Kevin M (752a26)

  11. Not that this would be news to Patterico, who no doubt knows the ins-and-outs of CA murder law better than anyone on this board.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  12. nk,

    There might also be violations of internet laws, cybercrime, computer fraud, or other federal crimes. If so, couldn’t he be extradited for those crimes?

    DRJ (15874d)

  13. I think he may be charged with involuntary manslaughter. Kansas law has an explicit list of inherently dangerous felonies that can be used for first degree murder “felony murder rule” charges. Deceptive 911 calls is not one of them. But the 911 call is a felony, thanks to a recent change in Kansas law.

    Kansas also seems to have the killing of an innocent bystander by a cop during the commission of a felony as falling on the criminal in its common law. But I’m not as sure of that.

    Xmas (3a75bb)

  14. They went to the wrong address, to the North

    If you drop the last digit from my address, the resulting address is in Watts. A number of years ago, I received a call from LAPD saying that they had entered my house through an unlocked door, due to a 911 call from a “kidnap victim.” Turned out it was the house in Watts.

    I’m glad I was not home at the time. It’s not just SWATing where these dangerous situations show up.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  15. Hope they got the right guy. If so, hope he’s charged and convicted with as much as is legitimately possible.

    NJRob (b00189)

  16. Yes, DRJ, there could be federal jurisdiction, and he could be tried in LA, and possibly in Kansas if the Court finds that the crime was committed on the receiving end of the phone call, for the federal crimes.

    nk (dbc370)

  17. But you know what? I don’t the Kansas prosecutors will want him. Because his defense attorney will call the cop who did the shooting as a defense witness and put him through the third degree. We’ll see.

    nk (dbc370)

  18. I don’t *think* the Kansas prosecutors will want him.

    nk (dbc370)

  19. The issue isn’t rougue cops looking to ‘bag’ someone. I suppose that could happen, but I doubt it’s common. I doubt it’s even uncommon-to-rare. The issue is the mythology of police work and the metodology, and they way they combine to create dangerous situations out of,very little.

    We are constantly told, by some sources, that police work is very dangerous. More importantly, COPS are constantly told that their work is very dangerous. And the statistics simply do not support the idea. Police work isn’t even in the top TEN dangerous common jobs. But cops are routinely told that it is, and sent out in a hightened state of alarm.

    Combine that with the recent tendency to use SWAT type unite and dynamic entry tactics for non-stand-off situations and minor transgressions (like VFW poker games) and you have a recipe for repeated tragedies.

    Black Lives Matter is just the latest in a long series of scams run by the Black Quislings like Sharpton. Nevertheless, there are several things badly wrong with Law Enforcement in this country.

    C. S. P. Schofield (99bd37)

  20. Xmas,

    Near as I can tell, the difference between “murder” and “manslaughter” hinges on the presence of “malice.” Sometimes an extreme disregard for consequences (e.g. racing through a school zone at 70MPH) is sufficient for a murder charge even if you cannot prove malice.

    Involuntary manslaughter is something like you threw an object out of a 6th story window and it landed on someone. No malice, no intent, but more than an accident.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  21. Because his defense attorney will call the cop who did the shooting as a defense witness and put him through the third degree. We’ll see.

    Pretty sure they’ll do that wherever.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  22. Hope sleepy Sessions has nothing to do with this case.

    mg (8cbc69)

  23. Not that I see what the officer’s judgement has to do with the malicious intent of the 911 caller.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  24. Is this also wire fraud?

    Kevin M (752a26)

  25. Not that I see what the officer’s judgement has to do with the malicious intent of the 911 caller.

    Seriously?

    nk (dbc370)

  26. Absolutely agree on unreasoned cop haters on-line. Was very surprised to read some of the comments on the earlier SWATing thread that sounded like right out of the BLM playbook, and from commenters who usually seem semi-sane.

    harkin (8256c3)

  27. Is the bodycam perspective the same as the cop’s? IOW, does the house look the same distance to the naked eye as it does to the camera?
    Once that is solved, the alleged movement of the dead innocent guy, or the dead innocent guy’s obvious thinking about moving can be judged as visible to the cop, or not. Given the reproduction on my screen, almost nothing can be seen. Indeed, if the distance was what it looked like, that was a heck of a shot if a pistol. Probably a rifle, though.
    Still, this is an honest effort to go to the place reported.
    It’s not as if they got the address wrong or something.

    Richard Aubrey (10ef71)

  28. Yes. Seriously.

    If you put someone into a volatile situation, with the strong likelihood that they come to harm, the exact means by which that harm is achieved is immaterial, so long as it is a predictable part of the volatile situation. Telling the cops there’s a bomb and hostages is INTENDED to create itchy trigger fingers. Any sudden move (as happened) is PREDICTABLY going to result in a shooting.

    Even if they police shot outside policy, that has NOTHING to do with what was in the mind of the caller.

    Try an analogy: You race a Suburban through a school zone at lunchtime at 70MPH. A teacher jaywalks and you hit her. Do you get to blame the teacher for jaywalking?

    Another: You put a timebomb in a building. A particularly stupid officer, first on the scene, decides to defuse it himself rather than waiting for the bomb squad. He cuts the blue wire because it always works for MacGyver, and BOOM, killing 12 people. What do you think your chances are blaming the cop at trial?

    Kevin M (752a26)

  29. Kevin, I’m just going by the wording of Kansas law. They have an explicit list of crimes where the felony murder rule applies. Outside of those, a death during a felony falls under Involuntary Manslaugher.

    https://law.justia.com/codes/kansas/2011/Chapter21/Article34/21-3404.html

    That all assumes the guy will be extradited to Kansas.

    Xmas (3a75bb)

  30. No, Kevin. A cop with a gun is not a boulder you roll down a hill.

    And what was on the mind of the accused is only half the crime. The other half is the act. The SWATter’s act was a phone call. The cop’s act was putting a bullet through the victim, and it was his decision, and his alone, to pull that trigger.

    nk (dbc370)

  31. Anyway, how do you say Benghazi in Blue Wallesian? They’ll get this guy on some piddly charge, such making a false police report, and the rest will be “What difference at this point does it make?”

    nk (dbc370)

  32. Let’s wait and see. It’s one thing to arrest a person, it’s another to hold him. For that, they’ll need an initial appearance before a judge and a complaint or warrant. It should be soon (I expect less than 72 hours) and we’ll see what the LAPD or the DA present.

    nk (dbc370)

  33. Los Angeles? What if the SWATer is an illegal alien?

    Richard Aubrey (10ef71)

  34. I don’t think the SWATTer should be charged with murder. I’m pretty sure there’s plenty of other charges that can be used to throw the book at him. But charging him with murder takes the focus off the responsibility of the police officer who shot the victim.

    Kishnevi (704a68)

  35. It’s not felony murder in either state. (Texas is different, because Texas.) Felony murder is when Patterico and I go to rob the liquor store tonight, and he surprises me by pulling out a gun and shooting the clerk dead – I’m on the hook. If instead, I pull out a gun and the clerk shoots me, it is *not* felony murder for Patterico because the clerk is not my accomplice.

    Each state has jurisdiction. Kansas and California have similar jurisdictional rules that if part of a crime is done or attempted in either state, the crime is prosecutable in either state. I know California law very well; I do not know Kansas law as well.

    But you don’t have to get to felony murder, either. (I wrote a long explainer-style comment that got eaten that talked about target and non-target crimes, but that also doesn’t apply and it’s probably for the best that you get this short version.)

    In California, the jury instructions explain implied malice:

    The defendant acted with implied malice if:
    1. (He/She) intentionally committed an act;
    2. The natural and probable consequences of the act were dangerous to human life;
    3. At the time (he/she) acted, (he/she) knew (his/her) act wasdangerous to human life;
    AND4. (He/She) deliberately acted with conscious disregard for (human/[or] fetal) life

    Kansas does not make its jury instructions publicly available, because Kansas hates me. However, it also has a similar-sounding extreme indifference murder.

    Practically, Kansas may want him and will likely get him. Since it appears this guy is prosecutable in either place, convenience for victim’s family ought to control, but technical legal issues ought to be discussed on both sides. While not constitutionally mandated, extradition is available. (See footnote 12 here.

    I am a prosecutor. I don’t speak for the elected district attorney. Which is kinda obvious at this point…

    JRM (c80289)

  36. “But charging him with murder takes the focus off the responsibility of the police officer who shot the victim.”

    He should be charged with whatever is applicable. The charges/disciplinary action against the cop should have nothing to do with it and vice versa. Judge by the facts and nothing else.

    It is possible to focus on both.

    harkin (8256c3)

  37. Wow, Kevin M., you had the same experience. One would think the dispatchers would be a little more careful…

    Patricia (5fc097)

  38. Try an analogy: You race a Suburban through a school zone at lunchtime at 70MPH. A teacher jaywalks and you hit her. Do you get to blame the teacher for jaywalking?

    Simple–Both are at fault… Assign percentage of blame. Done all the time.

    Here is an example (anyone can sue for anything in US):

    http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/courts/sd-me-protester-lawsuit-20171129-story.html

    A Compton woman who was struck by a car on Interstate 5 last year during a political protest that spilled onto the freeway is suing University of California San Diego, among others, alleging failure to contain the demonstration and prevent a dangerous situation.

    Maria Ana Carrola Flores, 19, filed the lawsuit this month in San Diego County Superior Court against defendants including the university, the driver of the car that struck her, the state and the City of San Diego. The lawsuit’s allegations include negligence and a dangerous condition on public property.

    “Jaywalking” at 1am on an Interstate Freeway–Still can find “reasons” it is somebody else’s fault.

    Some of these college students do not appear to be very smart.

    BfC (5517e8)

  39. But you don’t have to get to felony murder, either. (I wrote a long explainer-style comment that got eaten that talked about target and non-target crimes, but that also doesn’t apply and it’s probably for the best that you get this short version.)

    Awww, JRM, that’s too bad. I would have liked to have read that. I looked for it in all the filters and it’s not there.

    Patterico (522dfb)

  40. It’s not felony murder in either state. (Texas is different, because Texas.) Felony murder is when Patterico and I go to rob the liquor store tonight, and he surprises me by pulling out a gun and shooting the clerk dead – I’m on the hook. If instead, I pull out a gun and the clerk shoots me, it is *not* felony murder for Patterico because the clerk is not my accomplice.

    I’ll add one lesser-known theory here. As you say, if you pull a gun and the clerk shoots you, it’s not felony murder. But if you pull a gun and the clerk shoots me, it could be murder for you — not on a felony murder theory but on a “provocative act” theory. It’s a complicated theory with many nuances but I do want readers to know that when a good guy kills a bad guy, another bad guy can sometimes be on the hook. I offer no opinion as to whether that theory could apply here.

    Patterico (522dfb)

  41. If instead, I pull out a gun and the clerk shoots me, it is *not* felony murder for Patterico because the clerk is not my accomplice

    That may vary by state. I am fairly sure that in Florida, an accomplice of the would be robber can be charged with felony murder no matter who shoots whom, and even if the shooting itself is justifiable.

    Kishnevi (704a68)

  42. Near as I can tell, the difference between “murder” and “manslaughter” hinges on the presence of “malice.” Sometimes an extreme disregard for consequences (e.g. racing through a school zone at 70MPH) is sufficient for a murder charge even if you cannot prove malice.

    It’s not malice in the traditional sense of the word, but in the sense that JRM described.

    Patterico (522dfb)

  43. 41

    That may vary by state. …

    According to Wikipedia:

    There are two schools of thought concerning whose actions can cause the defendant to be guilty of felony murder. Jurisdictions that hold to the agency theory admit only deaths caused by the agents of the crime. Jurisdictions that use the proximate cause theory include any death, even if caused by a bystander or the police, provided that it meets one of several proximate cause tests to determine if the chain of events between the offence and the death was short enough to have legally caused the death.[3]

    James B. Shearer (951d11)

  44. “Unless you’re a radical salivating cop-hater who believes all cops are looking to shoot people for sport (and there are plenty such people online, I have found), . . .” That’s fairly categorical. As you say elsewhere, you could be wrong. What if the “‘salivating’ radicals” are closer to right? I frankly don’t relate to anyone who becomes a “gun for hire”, no matter who the paymaster is. Maybe it’s just me, but I suspect that there is a whole lot of _bully_ in each of them. The two people I’ve known personally who later became police officers certainly were.

    “. . . you understand that the mindset of a police officer firing out of (even totally unreasonable) fear is different from the premeditated and malicious intent of the person who made the SWATting call.” You acknowledge that the SWATter is culpable for creating a situation where serious harm, even death, is highly possible. Would not a similar level of culpability apply to someone who, say, joins a SWAT team without knowing in his heart, vowing, beforehand that he would never lash out in unreasonable fear and do something unforgivable; preferring death? I mean, don’t they take an oath, or something? [I see every indication, incidentally, that they hold non-cops (don’t say “civilians”) to a much stricter standard, particularly in encounters with police.]

    “I again think back to the two times I have faced police officers pointing guns at me . . . and I thank God that the officers did not have itchy trigger fingers.” Don’t you wish for – can’t we demand – something better than “luck of the draw”? [No joke intended.]

    Chas C-Q (dcc69e)

  45. With these exotic theories, what you want to look for is 1) convictions which 2) were upheld on appeal. Otherwise, it’s philosophical musing at best and prosecutorial overreach at worst.

    nk (dbc370)

  46. i have an exotic theory to share with the group

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  47. Add the police department and its dispatch to the list of the culpable. If what I’m reading is true,nthis call had numerous red-flags of swatting, and there is no police department in the nation so podunk as to be unaware of what they are. They simply failed to heed them and move with appropriate caution.

    Giving a fake address to someone online is not a crime as far as I know. Is urging a criminal swatter to spoof that address a crime?

    SarahW (3164f0)

  48. merry christmas SarahW! did you see Mr. Brown is back?

    memories light the corner of my mind i’m so not even kidding

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  49. And the same to you, Happyfeet! No, that development is a surprise to me.
    I think I need to catch up.

    SarahW (3164f0)

  50. I think we are letting cops off too easily in this sort of situation. It makes sense that the perception of danger should be enough to allow a civilian to fire in self defense. I think the bar should be higher for police officers. They need to have a clear understanding that they are in danger, not just the sort of innocent activity that got this guy killed – the failure (no doubt out of confusion) to keep his hands up, even though he was unarmed.

    As a homeowner and a gun owner, I have thought through the situations I might encounter. I do not want to be killed by a nervous cop. If I am not clearly a threat (and I won’t be), then I shouldn’t be killed. And if the cop is in my house, then it is even worse. Mistakes happen, and when they do, it should not be the innocent civilian who gives his life for them.

    Yes, it’s “unfair” to cops – it increases the danger they are in. But, we pay them to be in danger, and they know that when the choose the profession. We hold our military to high (even too high) standards to avoid killing civilians who are often our enemy. We should hold out cops to a higher standard when confronting our own civilians.

    That said… I have a lot of respect for most police. Their job is hard and subjects them to a lot of experiences most of us would really not want to have. But, that doesn’t mean they should be allowed to get away with killing people this easily.

    John (08e2df)

  51. SWATting highlights a major, and completely unnecessary failure of our telephone systems – their susceptibility to easy spoofing of caller information. The situation is so bad that users of Voice Over IP (VOIP – Internet Calling) are on an honor system. With many vendors, and the right legal software, the caller can pick, in real time, his caller information. We experience this when we get spam calls from India that have area codes and prefixes of our neighborhood. SWATters use this vulnerability.

    That this exists is a result of a failure of technologists to design the standards right, and a failure of regulatory agencies to force them standards to be correct. The VOIP industry is working to fix this – but it will take 5 or more years.

    As a technologist, I say: make them do it faster, and don’t listen when they say it isn’t possible. Set very large penalties and make them come into force in one year, and then watch as they fix it in time. And those that don’t fix it – let those businesses go under. They have been profiting from their irresponsible behavior.

    John (08e2df)

  52. Yes, bring the full force of Teh State against those mean old technologists.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  53. I was sloppy and the other commenters are right – every murder rule other than express malice murder varies by state. (And even then, there are some variances in nomenclature and type.)

    JRM (c80289)


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