(ABC News) — The suspect accused of making the prank call to police in Wichita, Kansas, which led to the death of an unarmed man last week, made about 20 other threat-related calls in the past, police said Tuesday.
The Glendale Police Department confirmed to ABC News that Tyler Barriss made about 20 calls to universities and media outlets throughout the country around the time he was arrested for a bomb threat to Los Angeles ABC station KABC in 2015.
Glendale police reached out to law enforcement around the country for similar cases in the wake of the KABC incident and found the dozens of other cases.
Police say since they are from around the country, the FBI would take the scope of cases, but the FBI sent ABC News a statement Tuesday night saying: “The FBI worked with Glendale PD based on a series of threats allegedly made by Barriss in/around 2015 and deferred to the state to pursue prosecution, as is the case in many swatting-related matters involving local police.”
Barriss pleaded no contest to two felony charges of false report of a bomb and malicious informing of a bomb in May 2016 in relation to the bomb threat made to KABC. He was sentenced to two years and eight months in jail, court records show. Barriss was released early in January 2017, according to The Daily Beast. After being released, he was arrested again for violating a protective order, and despite being sentenced to one year in prison, was released in August 2017, according to The Daily Beast.
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The Glendale Police Department told ABC News it does not have any pending cases against Barriss related to other threatening phone calls.
Barriss allegedly called Wichita police on Dec. 28 and said he shot his father and was holding his mother and brother hostage. When police responded to the address allegedly given by Barriss, an officer shot and killed Andrew Finch. Police said Finch reached toward his waistband after answering the door, and the officer thought he was reaching for a weapon. No weapon was found, and the situation described in the phone call turned out to be entirely made up.
Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey said Barriss was scheduled to appear in court in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
Wichita Police Department Deputy Chief Troy Livingston said last week investigators believe the prank call was a case of “swatting,” in which a 911 caller intends to deceive law enforcement about an alleged serious emergency so a SWAT team shows up unannounced. According to The Associated Press, the FBI has estimated that roughly 400 cases of “swatting” occur nationwide every year.
An attorney for the Finch family told The Associated Press on Tuesday it wants the Wichita police officer charged with the shooting in criminal court and will pursue damages against the city of Wichita.