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Swatter indicted in Kansas gamer’s death also accused of net neutrality vote bomb threat

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Prosecutors have indicted a California man they say phoned in a bomb threat during the FCC’s net neutrality vote in December. What’s more, they say, the suspect was involved in another high-profile crime the same month: a “swatting” incident that led to the death of a man in Kansas.

Tyler Barriss, 25, allegedly threatened the FCC ahead of its controversial vote to dismantle net neutrality rules. According to prosecutors, Barriss called the FCC with false claims that the building was rigged with explosives.

In a dramatic moment before the vote, Chairman Ajit Pai announced to a crowd that proceedings would have to halt as the room was evacuated. The group returned a few minutes later after law enforcement had scanned the area. Barriss allegedly made similar threats to the FBI about a week later.

The swatting incident that Barriss stands accused of happened later in December. In that case, police were called to a Kansas man’s home on a false pretense, apparently following a dispute over a Call of Duty game, and the man was shot after answering the door. Barriss is being held in Wichita, Kansas on charges related to that incident.

Barriss was accused of phoning in bomb threats years before the most recent incidents, but there was no apparent link before now between the two high-profile hoaxes. He faces up to 10 years in prison for each bomb threat, as well as several years for charges related to the swatting incident.