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Crime News

Gamers Plead Not Guilty In Kansas 'Swatting' Death

Casey Viner and Shane Gaskill were playing an online game of "Call of Duty: WWII" and got into a fight. Their beef ended up leading to the death of a stranger, officials say.

By Eric Shorey

The rivalry between two video gamers ended in the death of a complete stranger when a bizarre prank suddenly turned deadly. Now, the gamers have pleaded not guilty in the death.

Casey Viner, 18, of North College Hill, Ohio, and Shane Gaskill, 19, of Wichita, Kansas argued over a bet of less than $2 during an online game of "Call of Duty: WWII" in December of 2017, officials say.

The disagreement escalated to a "swatting" prank, a frighteningly common online phenomenon in which police are falsely alerted of a potential crime or emergency situation at an "enemy's" location. 

Viner recruited 25-year-old Tyler Barriss of Los Angeles to help execute the prank, police told The New York Times. Gaskill noticed Bariss started following him on Twitter and grew suspicious. 

Please try some sh*t ,” Gaskill allegedly messaged Barriss on December 28, according to the indictment. “You’re gonna try and swat me its hilarious … I’m waiting buddy.”

Viner and Bariss did allegedly attempt to swat Gaskill by reporting a hostage situation in Wichita, Kansas only forty minutes later. The address they gave didn't belong to Gaskill, however, but to a completely unrelated guy named Andrew Finch. During the raid on the reported house, an officer fatally shot Finch.

Viner, Gaskill, and Barriss are all facing charges related to the death.

Viner and Gaskill have pleaded not guilty to a handful of charges, including conspiracy to obstruct justice and wire fraud, according to The Associated Press. Their attorneys have not commented on the case. They are currently free on $10,000 bonds and have been ordered to obtain employment. They have also been forbidden from playing video games.

Bariss is in custody on state charges of involuntary manslaughter, interference with a law enforcement officer and giving a false alarm.He has expressed remorse over the incident.

I never intended for anyone to get shot and killed,” he told KWCH, a Wichita, Kansas-based news station. “As far as serving any amount of time. I’ll just take responsibility and serve whatever time, or whatever it is that they throw at me. … I’m willing to do it. That’s just how I feel about it.”

Bariss has also been accused of causing several other high profile swatting situations, according to the Los Angeles Times

[Photo: Getty Images]