Tyler Barriss stands accused of making a fake emergency call, a crime known as “swatting,” that led to the death of a Kansas man. He has been held in a Sedgewick County Jail since January. He is not supposed to have Internet access there, but on Friday the noticed Barriss tweeting.
“How am I on the Internet if I’m in jail?” Barriss wrote. “Oh, because I’m an eGod, that’s how.”
“All right, now who was talking shit?” he added in a tweet 19 minutes later. “Your ass is about to get swatted.”
The tragic incident that landed Barriss in jail occurred last December. Two players got into a heated argument, and one of them recruited Barriss, an Internet troll with a history of making malicious prank phone calls, to “swat” the other player. Barriss called Wichita authorities pretending to be a deranged gunman holding his family hostage in an effort to have a swat team raid the target’s home.
But the target lied to Barriss about his home address. So police surrounded the home of Andrew Finch, a 28-year-old man who had no connection to the online dispute. Finch opened the door with his hands up, but an officer shot him after—according to police—he appeared to reach for his waistband. Finch was unarmed.
Barriss, who lived in the Los Angeles area, was arrested and extradited to Kansas. According to the , he has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, giving false alarm, and interfering with law enforcement.
The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office told the on Monday that Barriss had taken advantage of a flawed software update on the jail’s Internet kiosks. These kiosks are supposed to allow prisoners to perform a limited set of functions, like purchasing items from the prison commissary or sending or receiving electronic messages. But they aren’t supposed to allow general Internet access.
But a software patch applied last week temporarily allowed users to visit unauthorized websites. Barriss used this brief window of unfettered Internet access to post to Twitter. We can be sure that prosecutors are making copies of these tweets for use during the sentencing phase of the case.
“Y’all should see how much swag I got in here,” Barriss wrote in another tweet before his Internet access was cut off.