'Swatting' suspect charged with bomb threats to FCC, FBI
Posted May 24, 2018 1:01 p.m. EDT
WASHINGTON (CNN) — A man previously charged over a police call that precipitated a deadly shooting has been charged with making a bomb threat to the Federal Communications Commission last year as it voted to repeal net neutrality.
The suspect, Tyler Raj Barriss, drew national attention late last year after police shot a man dead at his own home following a call that falsely claimed a hostage situation at the Wichita, Kansas, residence. Calling law enforcement and falsely claiming an ongoing emergency, such as a hostage situation, is known commonly as "swatting."
The Department of Justice announced Thursday that a federal grand jury in Washington had indicted Barriss, a 25-year-old Los Angeles resident, on two counts for bomb threats last year.
The indictment accused Barriss of calling in hoax bomb threats to the FCC on December 14, 2017, the day the agency voted to repeal Obama-era net neutrality regulations. On that day, the meeting was evacuated briefly, and after returning from the evacuation, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said they "were acting on the advice of the federal protection service."
Thursday's announcement from the US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia said the threats named in this indictment were the cause of that interruption at the FCC.
Barriss faces a second charge in Thursday's indictment for allegedly making a bomb threat to the FBI headquarters in Washington on December 22, 2017.
The announcement from Washington noted Barriss was currently detained in Kansas for alleged involvement in the "swatting" incident that led to Andrew Finch's inadvertent death at the hands of the police late last year.
Barriss was arrested in connection with the Kansas call shortly after the deadly incident. The local district attorney announced in April that the officer who killed Finch would not be charged.
Barriss was previously charged in connection with the call, and a grand jury indictment unsealed this week in Kansas named him and two others in a series of charges tied to the December "swatting" incident, which apparently stemmed from a video game argument.
Barriss was also arrested in 2015 for calling in fake bomb threats to CNN affiliate KABC, said Victor Jackson, a police sergeant in Glendale, California. Barriss received a two-year sentence.