A delivery driver who shot a YouTube prankster in the chest from close range after a failed stunt was acting in “self-defence”, a United States jury has ruled.
Alan Colie, 31, was acquitted by a Virginia court of aggravated malicious wounding in the shooting of 21-year-old Tanner Cook, who runs the Classified Goons YouTube channel.
Colie pleaded not guilty and said he was acting in self-defence during the incident at the Dulles Town Centre shopping centre earlier this year.
The jury was split on two lesser firearms counts, however, opting last week to convict him on one and acquit him on the other.
Colie opened fire on Cook in the Dulles Town Centre’s food court on April 2, causing panic as shoppers fled what they feared to be a mass shooting.
Jurors were shown a video of the pair’s confrontation, which lasted less than 30 seconds.
In the footage, Cook is seen approaching Colie as he picks up a food order. The prankster then looms over Colie while holding a cellphone about 6in from his face.
The phone broadcasts the phrase: “Hey dips—, quit thinking about my twinkle” several times via a Google Translate app.
In the video, Colie is heard saying “stop” three times while trying to back away from Cook, who continues to advance.
Colie then tries to knock the phone away from his face before pulling out a gun and shooting Cook in the chest.
There is no pause between the moment he draws the weapon and fires the shot.
Colie, who has been jailed since his April arrest, told the court the prank had frightened him while testifying in his own defence.
Adam Pouilliard, his defence attorney, said during closing arguments that his client felt threatened by Mr Cook, who is 6ft 5in.
“He’s not worried that he’s scaring people. He keeps doing this,” Mr Pouilliard said of Cook, whose channel has more than 50,000 subscribers, generating him between $2,000 to $3,000 (£1,650 to £2,475) a month in earnings.
Mr Pouilliard said the conviction on the firearms charge was inconsistent with the law, given Colie’s acquittal on self-defence grounds, and asked the judge to set it aside.
The issue will be considered at a hearing scheduled for next month.
But Eden Homes, prosecuting, said the facts of the case did not support a self-defence argument.
“They were playing a silly phrase on a phone,” she said. “How could the defendant have found that he was reasonably in fear of imminent bodily harm?”
Cook has said he will continue to make videos for his channel, which features footage showing him pretending to vomit on Uber drivers and following people through shops without their knowledge, in the wake of the incident.
Local authorities said during the court proceedings that they were aware of Cook’s behaviour and had received calls about his previous stunts.
The post Delivery driver who shot YouTube prankster after failed stunt acted in ‘self-defence’ appeared first on The Telegraph.