A ‘prank’ robbery filmed in the United States for a YouTube video, reportedly results in a 20-year old man being shot dead
A prank video for Google’s YouTube streaming platform has resulted in a young man being shot to death.
The BBC reported that 20-year-old Timothy Wilks and a friend had approached a group of people outside a family trampoline park in Nashville, America.
According to witnesses, the two men were allegedly holding large knives as part of a “prank” robbery.
But it seems that no-one opted to tell the group of people that it was a ‘prank’, and Wilks was shot by a 23-year-old, who told police he had had no idea it had been a “prank” and had been acting in self-defence.
The friend of Wilks’s told police officers the “prank” had been for a YouTube video.
No-one has been arrested over the death.
Robbery “prank videos” are relatively common on YouTube it is reported, sometimes involving fake firearms, balaclavas or getaway vehicles.
Whilst these ‘prank’ videos can gain millions of views, the BBC reported that many of them are faked, with all participants being “in” on the video and acting their part.
But not in this case it seems.
YouTube itself banned dangerous or threatening pranks two years ago.
Threats with weapons and fake robberies are specifically listed as offences that would result in the video being taken down.
That YouTube ban came after a number of high-profile incidents, including a fatal stunt in 2017 involving two YouTubers.
Monalisa Perez, then aged 19, shot at her boyfriend, Pedro Ruiz, through a thick book, which he believed would stop a bullet.
It didn’t and Ruiz was killed, while Perez sent to prison for six months for the shooting.
Other less harmful pranks are of course allowed on YouTube.
In 2018 a former NASA engineer created an elaborate glitter-spray bomb to play a prank on package thieves.
Mark Rober, who worked for seven years on NASA’s Mars rover, Curiosity, decided to create the glitter bomb after his home security cameras captured thieves making off with a package from his doorstep in California.
He worked with co-builder Sean Hodgkins for six months to build the device, which is placed inside an Apple HomePod box that is wrapped in plastic so that it looks like an ordinary delivery package.
When the box is opened by the thief, a spinning tub built into the top of the device distributes fine coloured glitter across the surrounding area.
The box is also rigged to blast ‘fart spray’ every 30 seconds, in order to encourage the thieves to abandon it.