A 20-year-old YouTuber was reportedly shot dead in a Tennessee parking lot after a “prank” he was filming for the video site went terribly wrong. Timothy Wilks and a friend were said to have approached a group of people outside the Urban Air Trampoline Park in the Nashville suburb of Hermitage brandishing large butchers’ knives. One of the men in the group, 23-year-old David Starnes Jr., admittedly shot and killed Wilks to protect the people in his group, BBC News reports.
- Starnes Jr. had no idea it was a prank. Apparently, prank robberies are a big thing on YouTube, and this situation proves just how dangerous the trend can be. Starnes Jr. told police he had no idea that Wilks didn’t intend to harm him or other members of his group with the knife and that he shot Wilks in self-defense at around 9:20 p.m. on Friday, February 5.
- Several families were at the trampoline park at the time of the incident. While it doesn’t seem any small children witnessed what happened and no one else was hurt, the “kid-friendly” and “family fun” trampoline park was indeed open and occupied when Wilks was shot, making it even scarier as children or other innocent bystanders could have been caught in the crossfire.
- No arrests have been made thus far. While the investigation continues into Starnes Jr.’s self-defense claims, police have not arrested him and he’s facing no charges at this time. Assuming that things did indeed go down the way it seems – and this version of events has been corroborated by Wilks’ friend who was with him but has not been publicly named, then this just seems a very tragic accident.
- Perhaps this will make YouTubers think twice. While Wilks’ death isn’t the first one that resulted from a bad prank gone wrong, it is perhaps a reminder that resorting to such extremes for the sake of going viral or racking up hits isn’t worth it. Your life should mean more than that.