Man shot dead while filming robbery 'prank' for YouTube, police say

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Two men with big knives approach you outside a trampoline park at night. You’ve got a gun on you. What do you do?

A 20-year-old man has died after participating in a YouTube prank gone horribly wrong in Tennessee, where police say he was shot by someone who was not in on the joke.

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David Starnes Jr., 23, told police that he saw two men coming at him with butcher knives outside the trampoline park around 9:20 p.m. last Friday, so he shot one of them “in defence of himself and others.”

Timothy Wilks, 20, died in the shooting, according to the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department.

Wilks’ friend told police that they were trying to stage a robbery “prank” for their YouTube channel. The pair armed themselves with butcher knives and approached a group of people outside the Urban Air trampoline park in Old Hickory, Tenn., where the shooting took place.

Wilks’ friend has not been identified.

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The indoor trampoline park is a hotspot for families with young children, according to reports.

“This is a huge kids area and when we were in there, there were a ton of tiny kids,” park attendee Emily Yeager told WKRN. She added that a knife-related prank “would not be a great idea, especially if anyone was walking out here.”

Robbery-style video pranks are common on some social media channels, although YouTube has explicitly banned such stunts.

TikTok stars Alan and Alex Stokes were charged last year after filming a bank robbery “prank” for YouTube.

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No charges have been filed to date.

The investigation is ongoing.

With files from The Associated Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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