A North Carolina man was fatally shot while streaming on Facebook Live. Prentis Robinson, 55, was gunned down roughly one block from police headquarters where he had just stopped to report a stolen cell phone, according to Wingate Police Chief Donnie Gay.
According to NBC News, the suspect, 65-year-old Douglas Cleveland Colson, surrendered Tuesday to the Union County Sheriff’s Office, according to Gay. Colson, a lifelong Wingate resident, has been arrested before. Gay said that Robinson was one of nine kids. Aside from a brief move to Atlanta, Robinson had lived in North Carolina his entire life and had become well known for Facebook videos in which he took “it upon himself to clean up this area.”
Facebook has removed the footage of the live shooting.
In the fateful video posted on his way to the police station on Monday morning, Robinson can be seen walking through the neighborhood with his selfie stick. He waves to passing cars, contemplates singing birds, complains about his stolen cell phone, and shows concerns for the area’s elderly residents. “They’re afraid of some of the activities going on,” he said, adding: “I’m trying to keep the neighborhood quiet like this — peaceful.”
Then Robinson is approached. “You on Live,” Robinson says repeatedly to someone off-camera who appears to be moving toward him, according to NBC News, which alleges some at the media outlet have seen the Facebook Live footage. The person, whose face isn’t visible, then appears to fire four gunshots. Robinson tumbles to the ground.
In a statement, Facebook said it removed the post because the company couldn’t have known if Robinson wanted “this horrific act to be live streamed on social media.” It wasn’t clear why Robinson was targeted, Gay said, though his killer didn’t seem to care about appearing on camera or shooting someone so close to the police department.
“Only being a block or so away from the police department — if that’s not brazen I don’t know what is,” Gay said, adding: “It’s heartbreaking. I can’t believe it.”
A friend of Robinson’s, Chester Sanders, theorized that some of the videos, which included Robinson highlighting illicit neighborhood activities, like drug dealing, likely made people uncomfortable or upset.
“If people don’t like it and they get angry, at some point in time it will start and something will happen,” he said. “I don’t know if this was the reason for … this tragedy to happen but it happened.”
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