The Los Angeles suspect in a fatal "swatting" incident in the United States has been charged by Calgary police for a similar, but non-fatal, hoax.
Swatting is when a call is made to police claiming that a major incident, often involving hostages, is unfolding at a residence and usually results in a tactical team being deployed.
The incident in Calgary took place Dec. 22. A man called 911 and claimed that he had shot his father and was holding his mother and younger brother hostage, according to a police news release.
"While officers were on scene trying to confirm the reported information, Calgary 911 received another call from a female who lived at the address, who believed she was the victim of a swatting call," reads the release.
"The female exited her residence and officers confirmed that the initial report of a shooting and hostage scenario was false."
Police say the woman may have been targeted because of her online persona. Investigators identified a suspect who had made contact with her earlier that day.
Tyler Raj Barriss, 25, has been charged with public mischief, fraud and mischief.
Acting Duty Insp. Peter Siegenthaler said swatting calls can put the public and officers at risk and tie up police resources.
"We have to take these calls seriously and we have to take them at face value based on the information that we receive."
Siegenthaler said the Dec. 22 call concerned police because it was very specific and sounded very real.
He said it's not difficult for someone to figure out how to make a 911 call to a different city.
Barriss is currently in custody in Los Angeles awaiting a handover to Kansas to stand trial for a fatal incident on Dec. 28.
In that case, Wichita police responded to a home after a man called 911 and said he had shot his father, was holding a gun to his mother and sister and had doused the home in gasoline and was considering setting it alight.
Once police arrived, a man, later identified as 28-year-old Andrew Finch, emerged from the house and an officer shot him dead. Finch was unarmed.
Wichita Deputy Police Chief Troy Livingston said Finch was shot after he raised his hands quickly and appeared to point a weapon at officers.
It seems unlikely Barriss will ever see the inside of a Calgary courtroom. Siegenthaler said Barriss likely won't be extradited to Canada to face charges. But Barriss would be arrested if he entered the country.
He said Barriss wasn't on the Calgary Police Service's radar until after the incident in Wichita.
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