Yet another YouTube prank has ended in tragedy.
Twenty-year-old Timothy Wilks was allegedly filming a robbery prank for his YouTube channel on Saturday, in which he and a friend approached a group of people outside of a trampoline park in Nashville holding butcher knives, reports local outlet WKRN.
However, a 23-year-old man in that group — who had no idea that a prank was being conducted — brandished a gun and shot Wilks, killing him. The shooter later told investigators that he was acting in self-defense, per WKRN. No charges have been filed, and the investigation is still ongoing.
The BBC notes that prank videos involving dangerous weapons and themes of criminal activity have become all too familiar on YouTube — so much so that the platform introduced new rules two years ago banning pranks that “lead victims to fear imminent serious physical danger or that create serious emotional distress in minors.”
In 2017, for instance, then-19-year-old Monalisa Perez killed her boyfriend, Pedro Ruiz, after he’d apparently instructed her to shoot him while he held up an encyclopedia, believing the book would block the bullet. Perez subsequently pled guilty to manslaughter charges and accepted a 180-day jail sentence. More recently, Alan and Alex Stokes, the identical twin creator duo, were charged last August in Orange County with felonies for an Oct. 2019 bank robber prank. Each of the twins faces a maximum sentence of four years in state prison if convicted.
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