At the Dulles Town Center mall in Sterling, Virginia, a YouTube prankster’s stunt took a dangerous turn. Tanner Cook, a 21-year-old YouTuber known for his controversial pranks, found himself on the receiving end of a gunshot wound after a prank went awry.
Cook, who runs the ‘Classified Goons’ YouTube channel with over 50,000 subscribers, is notorious for his provocative stunts. His antics range from pretending to vomit on Uber drivers to following unsuspecting customers through department stores.
However, his attempt to provoke a reaction from Alan Colie, a delivery driver, ended in a life-threatening situation.
YOUTUBE PRANK FAFO—A jury found a food delivery driver not guilty in the shooting of a YouTube prankster who followed and harassed him at a mall in Leesburg, Virginia.
Alan Colie was acquitted of aggravated malicious wounding in the shooting of Tanner Cook, who owns the… pic.twitter.com/Xa3kGE41Ui
— Amiri King (@AmiriKing) September 30, 2023
On April 2nd, Cook targeted Colie while he was picking up a food order at the mall. Despite Colie’s repeated requests for Cook to stop, the YouTuber continued to harass him, leading to an escalation of events.
In a moment of self-defense, Colie, who holds a license for a concealed weapon, shot Cook in the lower left chest.
The incident sparked widespread panic among shoppers, who feared a mass shooting was underway. Police officers quickly apprehended Colie, charging him with aggravated malicious wounding, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and discharging a firearm inside a building.
However, Colie was later acquitted of the most serious charges, with his attorney successfully arguing he acted in self-defense.
Despite the severity of the incident, Cook remained unrepentant. From his hospital bed, where he spent several days in intensive care, Cook insisted he was merely playing a joke on Colie. He also testified during the trial that he did not intend to elicit fear or anger, despite acknowledging his targets often react in such a manner.
This Tanner Cook guy is not a “prankster” there is nothing clever about his videos, most of it is criminal trespassing and simply harassment. He tries to say he is working security with police, files false reports with police and TSA… yet @YouTube allows his channel to be up and… https://t.co/rW32WO90gz pic.twitter.com/onHUPxBUu8
— 🇺🇸Conservative Rebel🇺🇸 𝕏 (@JesseASweeney) September 30, 2023
This incident serves as a stark reminder of the potential dangers of pranks that cross the line into harassment. Cook’s actions, while intended to entertain his online audience, resulted in serious harm and widespread panic.
In the aftermath of the shooting, Cook has continued to produce videos for his channel, earning between $2,000 to $3,000 a month. His persistence in pursuing this line of entertainment, despite the severe consequences of his actions, is a testament to some real problems.
While the internet provides a platform for creativity and entertainment, it is crucial to remember the real-world implications of online actions. Pranks that infringe upon the rights and safety of others should not be tolerated.