If nothing else, we now know they got the right guy. A TV reporter has scored a televised interview with Tyler Burriss, the man who placed the hoax SWATting call that resulted in the death of Andrew Finch in Wichita. Burriss admits having done SWATtings in the past and being paid for them, but baaaarely stops short of admitting that he’s the guy who did this one (and that he got paid for it). No matter. It’s him. If you compare Burriss’s voice to the voice of the SWATter from the audio of the SWATting call (which you can hear in this post of mine), you can hear it’s the same person.
The reporter asked Burriss if he has anything to pass along to Finch’s family or the world in general, and Burriss says: “Of course, I feel a little of remorse for what happened. I never intended for, you know, anyone to get shot and killed.” The reporter asks him what his reason was in this case, and Burriss replies: “People were sending money to have this done.” But when the reporter specifically asks him if he received money for this particular SWATting, or if he was the SWATter in Finch’s case, Burriss says he doesn’t want to answer.
Burriss says that he and his grandmother were SWATting victims before, and that that had something to do with his decision to start doing it himself. Funny: I’ve been a SWATting victim, and my reaction to it was not to do it to other people. My reaction was to take whatever steps I could to get the word out that this is a dangerous activity, so that police departments and 911 operators would be aware of the phenomenon and get better training, so that potential victims would know what to do, so that legislators would take the problem more seriously and pass tougher laws, and especially so that law enforcement would take the issue more seriously and devote more resources to solving these cases. But for Burriss, the reaction was: “Hey, I think I’ll do this to other people!” Although I think he is seeking sympathy, this does not cause me to feel sorry for him.
At 6:40 in the interview, Burriss tries to make the case that he never really thought of SWATting as that serious before. But in his answer, he lets slip that he was aware of the danger to human life in his actions:
I just think that, well because this is the first time that that’s happened, so, obviously, you know, it’s, it’s, I look at it a lot differently. People have said before, you know, people could die, somebody could get shot and killed, why do you do that? You know, I guess it could have happened to me, being a victim, it could have happened to my grandmother. So all that stuff goes through my head, of course.
In California, a defendant is guilty of murder if they intentionally do an act that is dangerous to human life, knowing that the act is dangerous to human life, but acting with conscious disregard for human life, if someone dies as a result. I believe Burriss is guilty of murder under California law. I don’t know the law of murder in Kansas, but this is a pretty standard instruction. It’s not impossible that Burriss has talked himself into a murder charge here, by admitting that the possibility that “somebody could get shot and killed” is something that “goes through my head” when he makes these calls.
I don’t know who Burriss’s lawyer is, but if they authorized this interview, they should lose their bar card. It’s incredibly damning and certain to be played at his trial, if a trial occurs.
The station does not provide a way to embed their video, so click the image to access it.
If you’re new to this story, you can read my post about this deadly SWATting here, as well as my own account of having been a SWATting victim in the past.