Los Angeles

LA Man Facing Felony Charge in Swatting Hoax Emergency Call Waives Extradition Hearing

The Los Angeles County district attorney filed a fugitive-from-justice warrant Wednesday against Tyler Barriss

A 25-year-old Los Angeles man suspected of making a hoax emergency call that led to the fatal police shooting of a Kansas man faces a charge of making a false alarm.

The Los Angeles County district attorney filed a fugitive-from-justice warrant Wednesday against Tyler Barriss, saying he was charged with the felony Dec. 29 in Kansas. Later Wednesday in a brief court proceeding, Barriss waived his right to an extradition hearing. He stood behind a glass wall dressed in black with his hands cuffed in front of him and provided brief answers to a judge's questions, acknowledging he was the wanted man and voluntarily signed the waiver.

A public defender has been appointed to represent him.

Another hearing is scheduled for later this month to determine the extradition date. 

Police have said 28-year-old Andrew Finch was shot after a prankster called 911 last week with a fake story about a shooting and kidnapping at Finch's Wichita home. 

Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said Kansas is pursuing extradition of Barriss. That process that can take up to 90 days.

The goal of such "swatting" calls is to get a SWAT team to respond, although Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsey said none of the officers at the scene were SWAT team members. Ramsey said Finch's hands went up and down around his waistband.

The police chief called Finch's death a "terrible tragedy."

Finch's mother, Lisa Finch, wrote a letter Tuesday to Mayor Jeff Longwell, Ramsay and other city officials saying an unannounced visit from the police chief three days after the shooting did not ease her heart and left questions unanswered. The family wants the police officer who killed him criminally charged for his death, their attorney said Tuesday.

But criminologist B. Remy Cross at Webster University in Missouri said criminal charges are highly unlikely.

"It is sort of a fact of the world we live in now that it is very difficult to bring charges against police officers unless there is glaring negligence and misconduct," Cross said. "While I certainly sympathize with the family — and I think there was probably not the necessary due caution exercised in this incident — I don't know that they are going to necessarily be very successful in pushing for charges to be brought against the officer."

Police spokesman Charley Davidson said the department has not received Lisa Finch's letter and cannot comment on it. He said police have provided all the information they can at this point, and that the investigation remains active.

Barriss was previously convicted in Los Angeles for making two false bomb threats that led to the temporary evacuation of ABC Studios in Glendale in 2015. That same year, as part of the same case, Barriss was also convicted of making hoax threats against two schools in the San Fernando Valley.

Glendale Police told NBC News that investigators discovered that during that time period, Barriss made some 20 threat related calls around the nation, including to universities.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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