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Suspect held after first court appearance in fatal Kansas 'swatting' case

(Reuters) - A California man accused of making a hoax call that led police in Kansas to kill an unarmed man was in a Wichita jail on Saturday after his first court appearance in the “swatting” case, local media reported.

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Tyler Barriss, 25, who made a video appearance on Friday from Sedgwick County jail, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, giving a false alarm and interference with law enforcement.

Barriss was accused of “swatting,” in which a caller falsely reports an emergency requiring a police response, usually by special weapons and tactics, or SWAT, teams, authorities said. He made the call from Los Angeles on Dec. 28, prosecutors said.

A Wichita police officer fatally shot Andrew Finch, 28, after law enforcement officials rushed to his home following a phone call falsely reporting that hostages were being held there.

In his first on-camera interview since his arrest, Barriss told CBS television affiliate KWCH12 from jail late on Friday: “I feel remorse for what happened. I never intended for anyone to get shot and killed.”

He said he had been paid for making “numerous” swatting calls in the past.

“People were sending money to have that done,” he told KWCH when asked what inspired him to make the Dec. 28 call, although he would not confirm that he was paid for it.

Barriss also said he started swatting after he and his grandmother were targets of a similar hoax call in 2014.

“People have said before: ‘People could die; someone could get shot and killed. Why do you do that?’” he told KWCH. “I guess it could have happened to me, to my grandmother.”

Barriss’ prior criminal record includes a jail sentence of two years and eight months after he pleaded no contest in 2016 to charges of making a false report of a bomb and malicious informing of a false bomb, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn