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Last week, in Nashville, Tennessee, a prank by a YouTuber went tragically wrong when the man was shot by the person he was pretending to rob at knifepoint.
On February 5th, 20-year-old Timothy Wilks was accompanied by his friend, planning to record themselves pranking passers-by by waving butcher's knives at them and telling the people they were being robbed. Wilks reportedly invaded strangers' personal space in order to film their reactions to the perceived threat. At around 9.30pm, the two of them approached a group who were loitering in the car park of the Urban Air on Old Hickory Boulevard in Hermitage. David Starnes Jr., a member of the group, pulled out a gun and shot Wilks as he believed their lives to be in jeopardy.
Starnes remained on the scene until the emergency services arrived. He has admitted to opening fire on the YouTuber, and told the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department that he didn't know it was a prank and therefore acted in self-defence. Presently, the police are investigating the shooting and no charges have been filed against Starnes nor Wilks' associate. The tragedy has caused a considerable commotion in online spaces, and some are calling for "prank" videos to come to an end due to the danger they pose to everyone involved.
"I will claim with some confidence that if you are 20 years old and believe you can ironically brandish a weapon, you probably grew up comfortably enough to afford the luxury of disassociating horror from violence and turn it into entertainment," said Reddit user Triple_Cream. "I feel bad for the shooter," added Iviirror87. "Unsuspecting, just living and being rushed by a random person with knives? How terrified they must have been and now to be burdened with the guilt of killing a young man."
Speaking to Fox affiliate WZTV, a lawyer said that it is possible that Wilks' friend will face charges for their role in the event. "I'm sure the people involved would like to characterise this as a prank," they explained. "But it certainly seems to be a prank that went seriously awry."
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