Andrew Finch
KWCH
Andrew Finch
Now playing
03:12
Suspect arrested in deadly online gaming prank (2017)
Multiple agencies are on the scene of a shooting at Austin-East Magnet High School. Multiple gunshot victims reported, including a KPD officer. The investigation remains active at this time. Please avoid the area.
From Knoxville Police TN/Twitter
Multiple agencies are on the scene of a shooting at Austin-East Magnet High School. Multiple gunshot victims reported, including a KPD officer. The investigation remains active at this time. Please avoid the area.
Now playing
02:43
One person dead, officer injured after shooting at Knoxville high school
CNN
Now playing
04:48
Fauci talks about what he is comfortable doing now that he's fully vaccinated
CNN
Now playing
05:30
Unprecedented footage shows front line of Ukrainian conflict with Russia
Family Photo/WCCO
Now playing
01:41
Police killing of Daunte Wright in Minnesota sparks protests
CNN/Getty Images
Now playing
05:29
Anti-Defamation League CEO calls for Fox News to fire Tucker Carlson
This satellite photo from Planet Labs Inc. shows Iran's Natanz nuclear facility on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. Iran's Natanz nuclear site suffered a problem Sunday, April 11, involving its electrical distribution grid just hours after starting up new advanced centrifuges that more quickly enrich uranium, state TV reported. It was the latest incident to strike one of Tehran's most-secured sites amid negotiations over the tattered atomic accord with world powers. (Planet Labs Inc. via AP)
Planet Labs Inc./AP
This satellite photo from Planet Labs Inc. shows Iran's Natanz nuclear facility on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. Iran's Natanz nuclear site suffered a problem Sunday, April 11, involving its electrical distribution grid just hours after starting up new advanced centrifuges that more quickly enrich uranium, state TV reported. It was the latest incident to strike one of Tehran's most-secured sites amid negotiations over the tattered atomic accord with world powers. (Planet Labs Inc. via AP)
Now playing
02:21
Iran claims 'terrorist action' caused blackout at nuclear site
jason carroll vaccine hesitancy maine pkg ac360 vpx_00000000.png
jason carroll vaccine hesitancy maine pkg ac360 vpx_00000000.png
Now playing
03:28
Health advocates go door-to-door to fight vaccine hesitancy
Now playing
02:48
GOP governor calls Trump's RNC remarks 'divisive'
CNN
Now playing
02:42
Michigan sees alarming uptick in Covid-19 cases
WASHINGTON, D.C. - APRIL 19, 2018:  The U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C., is the seat of the Supreme Court of the United States and the Judicial Branch of government. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)
Robert Alexander/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, D.C. - APRIL 19, 2018: The U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C., is the seat of the Supreme Court of the United States and the Judicial Branch of government. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:39
SCOTUS blocks California Covid restriction on religious activities
Chris Hollins
CNN
Chris Hollins
Now playing
03:09
'Troubling': Ex-Harris County clerk reacts to leaked recording of Texas GOP official
ITN
Now playing
01:15
Prince Charles speaks following Prince Philip's death
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 10:  U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) (L) and Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) (R) listen to remarks during a Congressional Gold Medal presentation ceremony at the Emancipation Hall of the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center September 10, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The Congressional Gold Medal was awarded in honor to the men and women who were killed during the September 11th attacks for their heroic sacrifices.  One of the three medals will be provided to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania, the second will go to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York, and the third one will be directed to the Pentagon Memorial at the Pentagon.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 10: U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) (L) and Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) (R) listen to remarks during a Congressional Gold Medal presentation ceremony at the Emancipation Hall of the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center September 10, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The Congressional Gold Medal was awarded in honor to the men and women who were killed during the September 11th attacks for their heroic sacrifices. One of the three medals will be provided to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania, the second will go to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York, and the third one will be directed to the Pentagon Memorial at the Pentagon. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:22
Harry Reid reacts to colorful anecdote in Boehner's book
CNN
Now playing
05:15
This event in Florida is requiring proof of vaccination
Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the NRA, arrives prior to a speech by US President Donald Trump at the National Rifle Association (NRA) Annual Meeting at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, April 26, 2019.
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the NRA, arrives prior to a speech by US President Donald Trump at the National Rifle Association (NRA) Annual Meeting at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, April 26, 2019.
Now playing
02:30
NRA CEO says he needed to take shelter on a yacht
A second eruption of the La Soufriere volcano occurred at approximately 2:45pm local time, according to the UWI Seismic Research Centre.
UWI Seismic Research Centre
A second eruption of the La Soufriere volcano occurred at approximately 2:45pm local time, according to the UWI Seismic Research Centre.
Now playing
01:44
St. Vincent volcano erupts in Southern Caribbean
(CNN) —  

Picture this.

You’re sitting at home, enjoying a quiet afternoon, when you hear a knock at your door. Strange. You’re not expecting anyone, but maybe it’s a neighbor or that package you’ve been waiting for from Amazon.

But when you open the door, a troop of SWAT officers outfitted in specialized gear swarm your home and order you to get on the ground. They go room to room, shouting commands and training their rifles on anyone they come across.

You’ve just been swatted.

It’s a dangerous prank that’s found it’s way into the public eye in recent years because of some high-profile, celebrity victims such as Ashton Kutcher, Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian.

But it reached a new level of notoriety when 28-year-old Andrew Finch was inadvertently killed by police in his Kansas home, a victim of a swatting prank in December 2017.

Friday, Tyler Barriss, the man who made the hoax call to police that precipitated the shooting, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty.

Here’s what you should know about swatting.

Police made to think a crime has occurred

Swatting is not new – it was on the FBI’s radar as early as 2008 – but its origins are murky.

At the most basic level, swatting is similar to the prank calls you and your friends might have made growing up.

The difference is, swatting is a prank call made to authorities with the express purpose of luring them to a location – usually a home – where they are led to believe a horrific crime has been committed or is in progress.

This results in a forceful response from local police or SWAT teams, who have no way to know the call is a hoax.

Perpetrators sometimes use technology to mask their true location

It’s often carried out by the internet-savvy, such as members of online message boards, or, in Finch’s case, gamers who are competing and interacting with each other in online games such as “Call of Duty.”

The perpetrator might be swatting their target as part of what they believe to be a harmless prank, according to the FBI, or as an act of revenge.

Callers sometimes use “spoofing” technology to make it look as though the call is coming from inside the victim’s home, or at least nearby.

Finch did not play video games, his family has said. He was an innocent bystander in the swatting, and had no contact with the other individuals involved.

Barriss, who was in California, made the call that led to Finch’s death after being contacted by another gamer who asked him to swat a player he’d been arguing with while playing “Call of Duty.”

The gamer gave Barriss an address where the target player had once lived, but was then Finch’s home.

Barriss called Wichita authorities, pretending to be inside the Wichita home. According to the 911 tape, Barriss told the operator he had just shot his father and was holding his family hostage at gunpoint, adding, “I already poured gasoline all over the house. I might just set it on fire.”

Police arrived, and when Finch opened the door, an officer discharged his weapon, killing him.

Swatting cases are hard to prosecute

There aren’t any national statistics about how many swatting incidents occur reach year, the FBI says, but as of 2013 an FBI special agent guessed there were hundreds.

There aren’t any federal anti-swatting laws. A bill aimed at combating swatting was introduced in Congress last summer, but it has remained in committee review.

Defendants have faced federal charges before, CNN legal analyst Paul Callan said at the time of Finch’s death.

Earlier this year, the Department of Justice said three defendants linked to Barriss were arrested and indicted on charges of conspiracy and conveying false information concerning the use of an explosive device.

Callan said the cases are often difficult to prosecute because many of the perpetrators are juveniles who thought of it as a prank or joke, and it’s difficult to prove intent to cause harm.

While some pranksters might think of swatting as harmless, the FBI insisted in 2013 that it has “real consequences.”

Not only is it potentially life-threatening, as evidenced by Finch’s killing, but it’s also expensive.

“It can cost thousands of dollars every time a SWAT team is called out,” the FBI said.

CNN’s Ralph Ellis, Steve Almasy and Melissa Alonso contributed to this report.