Where is Tyler Barriss now and what happened to Shane Gaskill and Casey Vaner? The swatting crime in Web of Make Believe explained

An argument between three online gamers led to the death of an innocent man in 2017.

a close up of Tyler Barriss now appearing in court for his swatting charges
(Image credit: Future/Getty)

Web of Make Believe documentary viewers want to know where is Tyler Barriss now and what happened to the other gamers involved in the swatting incident.

It's the latest Netflix true crime series to create a stir, alongside Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey - the tale of FLDS leader Warren Jeffs (opens in new tab). The six-part Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies and the Internet looks into a number of criminal cases linked to the cyber world, essentially sharing how the internet has the capacity for both good and bad. Alongside the Ryan Vallee (opens in new tab) sexploitation story and the murder of Seth Rich (opens in new tab), is the tragic 2017 Wichita swatting case explored in episode one. Events led to the death of innocent man Andrew Finch, after Tyler Barriss called police and falsely claimed that a shooting had taken place at his address.

But this wasn’t Tyler’s only crime. It turned out he was connected to swatting incidents in over 17 states over the space of three years. So where is Tyler Barriss now? Here is everything you need to know.

Where is Tyler Barriss now?

Tyler Barriss - now aged 28 - is currently serving a 20-year sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Phoenix, Arizona. He was sentenced in April 2019 after pleading guilty to 51 charges related to swatting and making hoax calls. 

These charges included cyberstalking resulting in death, conspiracy to make false reports, wire fraud, making threats or death or damage to property by fire, false information and hoaxes and involuntary manslaughter.

He was also sentenced to five years of supervised release to run concurrently to the other sentences after making bomb threats to the FBI and Federal Communications Commission in 2017.

a still from Netflix's Web of Make Believe

(Image credit: Netflix)

During his trial, Barriss confessed to swatting people for years. He is expected to be released on 14th January 2035, after which he will be on supervision for five years.

Tyler told the court in 2019: “If I could take it back, I would, but there is nothing I can do. I am so sorry for that.”

U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said of the lengthy sentence, “We hope that this will send a strong message about swatting, which is a juvenile and senseless practice.”

Tyler was also ordered to pay $5,000 of restitution to the Kansas Crime Victims Compensation Board, which paid the same amount to the Finch family to cover funeral costs.

What is swatting?

Swatting is a practice where someone makes a fake call to the police, giving false impression that someone is in immediate danger. This typically results in a SWAT (special weapons and tactics) unit swarming the location they're sent to, prepped to arrest or shoot the alleged perpetrator.

Swatting is big in the gaming world, which is explored in episode 1 of Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies and the Internet. “Swatting started as a way to disrupt gaming competitions," investigative reporter Brian Krebs says in the series. "Or if they lose an important match to get back at somebody else. It goes back more than 20 years."

He adds: "It's about being feared. It's about being known. Making the world acknowledge your presence. For a lot of these individuals any attention is good attention."

a scene of police in a SWAT operation from the Netflix documentary Web of Make Believe

(Image credit: Netflix)

Andrew Finch death:

On 28 December 2017, Ohio-based 18-year-old Casey 'Baperizer' Viner and 19-year-old Shane 'Miruhcle' Gaskill in Wichita got into an argument on Twitter after Shane caused them to lose a game of friendly fire in Call of Duty: WWII. Following the fallout, Casey threatened to "swat" Shane and ended up seeking out Tyler Barriss on Twitter to help him with his revenge plan.

After realising that Tyler had followed him on Twitter, Shane suspected he was going to try and “swat” him and gave him his old address in Wichita, Kansas, which was at the time occupied by 28-year-old father of two Andrew Finch. 

Tyler called the Wichita City Hall before being transferred to the police, when he claimed to be someone called Ryan at the address who'd "shot [his] dad in the head" and was holding his mother and brother hostage.

Wichita police officers arrived at the address at 6:24pm. Finch stepped outside of the house but was shot by police officer Justin Rapp and died at a local hospital. The Wichita Police Department said that the shooting was caused by seeing Finch reach into his waistband, which “startled” officers, according to the Department of Justice.

US police officer Justin Rapp sitting in court

US police officer Justin Rapp giving evidence in the May 2018 trial of Tyler Barriss.

(Image credit: Getty)

What happened to Shane Gaskill?

Shane Gaskill has not yet been sentenced for his role in the swatting crime. He had initially struck an 18-month pre-trial agreement with prosecutors back in December 2019. This meant that eventually charges against him could be dropped. 

This pre-trial diversion was extended in December 2020 for another year, giving Gaskill the time to obtain his GED (General Education Diploma).

However, Shane Gaskill violated the diversion deal, leading to a new prosecution case being made against him. In May 2022, Shane Gaskill pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in federal court. In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors dismissed several charges, including multiple counts of obstruction of justice, conspiracy to obstruct justice and making a false statement during an investigation.

He now faces a maximum of 20 years in prison when he’s sentenced, which is due to be in July 2022.

What happened to Casey Viner?

Casey Vaner was released from United States Penitentiary Big Sandy (USP Big Sandy) on 14 November 2020. Although technically the mastermind behind the tragic swatting incident, he received a short prison sentence of just 15 months. 

Casey received his sentence after pleading guilty to the conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges. He is currently on probation for two years, in which he is barred from playing video games.

In a courtroom statement, Casey insisted that he “never intended anything to happen." However, the judge responded that Casey could have easily predicted the consequences of his actions.

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Robyn is a freelance celebrity journalist with ten years experience in the industry. While studying for a degree in Media and Cultural Studies at London College of Communication, she did internships at Now and Heat magazines. After graduating, she landed a job at Star magazine, where she worked her way up to features editor. She then worked at Future as Deputy Celebrity Content Director across Woman, Woman’s Own, Woman’s Weekly and Woman & Home magazines.