WICHITA, Kan. — A Twitter handle associated with a man who's in jail on accusations that he made a hoax emergency call that led to the fatal police shooting of an unarmed man in Kansas was used to again threaten to swat someone after authorities say some inmates were able to gain access to the internet.
The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office said in a news release Monday that a software upgrade to an inmate kiosk improperly let inmates get onto the internet for "less than a few hours." The problem apparently also occurred at other jails across the country.
The Sheriff's Office launched its investigation into the breach after The Wichita Eagle noticed a series of tweets posted on Barriss' account Friday.
A tweet from Barris' @GoredTutor36 handle at 9:05 a.m. Friday said: "How am I on the Internet if I'm in jail? Oh, because I'm an eGod, that's how." A follow-up tweet posted 19 minutes later said: "All right, now who was talking (expletive)," and went on to add that the person "is about to get swatted."
Four tweets were posted from Barriss' account during that time, including one saying "Y'all should see how much swag I got in here."
Barriss has a history of making such hoax emergency calls, which are sometimes called "swatting."
His defense attorney, Bradley Sylvester, did not immediately return a phone message left at his office.
The 25-year-old California man is in jail in Wichita awaiting trial on charges of involuntary manslaughter, giving a false alarm and interference with a law enforcement officer. Barriss is accused of calling police from Los Angeles on Dec. 28 with a fake story about a shooting and kidnapping at a home in Wichita.
When police responded to the address, an officer fatally shot 28-year-old Andrew Finch after he opened his door. Police have said Finch moved a hand toward his waistband and an officer, fearing he was reaching for a gun, fired a single shot and killed him.
Inmates can use jail kiosks to check account balances to buy commissary items and to send and receive electronic messages, but those kiosks are not supposed to have internet access.
"As soon as the path was identified it was closed and the affected kiosk was upgraded with the proper digital security features," the Sheriff's Office said.