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Some young men seeking YouTube fame were filming “prank” robberies outside a strip mall in Old Hickory, Tennessee on Friday. Unfortunately for Tim Wilks (aged old enough to know better) he and a fellow prankster approached a group of people with butcher knives, apparently seeking YouTube viral fame. One of the group he approached, sensing an armed robbery in progress, drew his pistol and shot Mr. Wilks dead right there.

Cops haven’t made any arrest in the incident and the pranksters should probably count their lucky stars they aren’t looking at long prison sentences for felony murder. At least not so far.

WKRN has the story:

One person was killed in a shooting in Old Hickory near the Hermitage line Friday night, according to a release from Metro police.

It happened around 9:20 p.m. in the 4300 block of Old Hickory Boulevard at a building with several businesses.

Police say 20-year-old Timothy Wilks was shot and killed in the parking lot of Urban Air on Old Hickory Boulevard.

Detectives were told that Wilks and a friend were participating in a “prank” robbery as part of a YouTube video and approached a group of people, including the shooter, with butcher knives.

A 23-year-old man told police he shot Wilks and wasn’t aware the robbery was a “prank.” He says it was self-defense.

It all comes down to what a reasonable and prudent person would think, knowing what he knew at the time…whether the defender perceived a threat of death or grievous bodily harm. Clearly, approaching a group of people you don’t know with a large knife and announcing a robbery is more than enough to cause a reasonable person act accordingly.

That’s a mistake that Timothy Wilks won’t make again.



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      • Never before in the history of the human race has the gene pool needed a barrel of chlorine more than now.

          • “I joked to my son last weekend we are witnessing the de-evolution of the human race.”

            Any system, unless acted upon by an outside force, will evolve into disorder. Remove the sense (societal norms) that order should prevail, disorder will only move toward further disorder. I think this is some sort of established “law” of physics, or something else.

        • It’s the Second Law of Thermodynamics. I refer to this regularly to explain various business imperatives and outcomes.

  1. Jeebus, Marty and Jobus. Is common sense a thing of the past?

    In the US there are a dozen guns for every man, woman and child.

    Do. Not. Fuck. With. Strangers.

    Thus endeth the sermon.

  2. I was wondering when I’d see one of these. With all the Halloween scares from pranksters on YouTube. Of course, most of them do it in gun restricted blue cities… But chasing someone with a mallet should get you killed.

    This is a prime example, all you pranksters. Laugh it up.

  3. I looked everywhere and I cannot find any. I don’t know where I put them. Oh, wait. I ran out of ’em a long time ago.

    You know what they are…..

    One less U Tub prankster. Oh my.

  4. “Prank”, my ass. Had no one been armed? The robbery would have been carried through and the video deleted.

    It’s likely that they were robbing people outright and had a ready excuse as to why it wasn’t robbery, just in case. Had it been seen/stopped by a cop or similar? “Look, we’re even filming it! It was just a prank video!”

    • PK,

      Methinks you may very well be correct.

      Several years ago a burglar in my neighborhood was getting ready to break into a home when a child in the home saw the burglar peering into a back slider-glass door — and yelled to her mom about it. The burglar promptly ran around to the front of the home, knocked on the front door, and provided some lame, harmless explanation for his activity.

      Yes, some criminals try to have a lawful explanation for their behavior as an out if police show up.


      what you won is anyone’s guess….

        • “Damn Straight, two of my favorite authors. I miss Pournelle.”

          Sorta related (but, probably not actually), I attended a graduation ceremony for advanced degrees at TCU. Why? Freeman Dyson was the keynote speaker. (“Dyson’s Sphere”, not “Dyson” vacuum cleaners)

  5. It’s all in the narrative…here’s how Channel5 Nashville reported the incident…”When officers arrived at the scene a 23-year-old admitted to shooting the victim*, 20-year-old Timothy Wilks.”

    Hey, channel5, just who is the “victim” here?

    I can imagine Timmy and his buddies were sitting around and said let’s make ourselves instant fame (15 minutes worth) on YouTube…let’s “pretend” to threaten and rob people with butcher knives.**

    *I added the bolding to make it stand out…not part of the original text attributes.

    **after all, Senile Joe already said that a large knife is not a “deadly” weapon…what could go wrong…absolutely nothing to worry about.

    • The “shooter,” should have said no comment please refer to my lawyer. Christ people don’t know when to keep their mouths shut.

  6. Disparate force ! Disparate force !

    The robbers only had butcher knives. It was an obvious prank; kids with their mother’s kitchen knife. Nobody uses a butcher knife as a weapon. A real weapon would be one of those scary black knives for sale on the internet, with no background check required. Mom Demand Action On Preventing Kids From Being Killed Because Of A Video Prank will be marching on the Capitol in DC to assert their rights. Contact your local chapter for details and instructions.

  7. I am pretty sure that I posted (on this website quite some time ago) about a similar event which I experienced roughly 18 years ago.

    It was Halloween night and I was particularly keyed up for “pranks” (and outright vandalism). I kept a large handheld spotlight by my front door — one of those “6 million candlepower” things that really was insanely bright. Our neighborhood officially starts trick-or-treating at 6:00 p.m. and ends at 8:00 p.m. Our porch light was off and we had already passed out all of our candy. About 8:30 p.m. six teenage boys walk up to our door, ring our doorbell, and yell “trick-or-treat”! I opened my door with my spotlight in hand but not visible to the boys. They were goofy as you would expect teenage boys to be on Halloween night. I was 95% confident that I recognized one of them as a neighbor from a few doors down the street and I graciously explained to them that it was past trick-or-treating time, our porch light was off, and we were all out of candy anyway. After a collective groan from the boys, one of them asks if I am sure. “Yes.” Another boy asks if I have any toys to give them (and they giggle). “No.” Yet another boy asks if I have any food (more laughter). “No.” Then one of the boys up front — who is wearing a gangster costume — raises up what is most likely a toy gun (although it is very realistic) and asks if I have any money. My response, “No, but I have this,” as I raised up my spotlight and flashed him in the face with 6 million candlepower. It instantly caused him temporary blindness as his buddies laughed at him for being stupid and deserving it. I promptly shut my door and they promptly left without further incident.

    A couple days later I shared the details of that event with a good friend who was a police officer. Without any hesitation whatsoever, he said that I would have been fully justified to respond with deadly force and no prosecutor in our state would even dream of prosecuting me for it.

    Sometimes, young men do stupid stuff. Parents would be wise to remind their young men about the potentially fatal consequences of the most intensely stupid stuff that they do.

  8. Umm….. don’t bring a knife and a camera to a “hoax robbery” and defensive gunfight – would love to see toxicology (and
    IQ) report on the perp…. the dumbing down of a once great country marches on.

  9. Well there’s a reason why film-makers try to close off an area when they’re filming something.

  10. Anyone know if that moron actually had a YouTube channel?

    I’d just like to see if he looked as stupid as he acted…

  11. Well duh…I’ve heard some carjacking in Chiraqland are “pranks”. They jus chillen bro!!!

    • true. a gal on a local pool league (plays for other team) was jacked by teens a few days ago in the st. mary or ‘lizbeth hosp. parking lot. she surrendered up keys to her plastic rover and heard them exclaim, “we did it!” from within.

  12. Not their first rodeo. Just dumb and dumber…
    In August, the Stokes twins were charged with a felony and misdemeanor in connection with two bank robbery pranks they filmed for their six million subscribers.

  13. I haven’t found his youtube channel yet – I suspect its blocked already – but a little more digging around tells me this guy was a real douchebag. The scene of his demise was in a black neighborhood and he apparently made his prank videos with black people as the prankees. From the couple of pictures of him on google, he looks like the kind of guy who have trolled black neighborhoods for laughs. Idiot had it coming. Also attached a picture of him; he’s the white guy.

  14. This story deserves national. attention. Perhaps, just perhaps, the low-IQ crowd might get the hint.

  15. Hrmmm… Felony “Pranking”…

    Some people really are too stupid to keep breathing. Not really a big loss.

  16. This reminds me of the incident in NYC several years ago when some 15 yr old kid was going to tase a guy at a bus stop, he messed with the wrong guy and was shot, the kid lived and one of his statements while in the hospital was he was never going to mess with other people again, hopefully he did learn his lessen, the kid was trying to be inducted into a gang.

    • “Some people are sooooo stupid that their very existence is a waste of oxygen.”

      Now, hold on ! I say, now hold on there, son. I am still in the room while yer talkin’.

  17. I’m pretty sure saying “it’s just a prank bro” is not a legitimate legal defense to armed robbery after it goes wrong.

    They should all be charged. If not with felony murder then with a crime like menacing. They put a bunch of people in fear for their life and I don’t really care if they did it for youtube fame or not.

  18. How can this fool’s friends not be charged with murder? A knife was pulled on a group of strangers, that’s assault with a deadly weapon – felony. The knife wielder died during the commission of the felony. The law is clear. The other “friends” should be charged with the felony assault AND felony murder.

  19. What an idiot. I’m sorry for his family, and the people who cared for the deceased, but 20 is more than old enough to know this stunt was an incredibly bad idea. Not to mention a criminal act as well.

  20. perhaps he was actually robbing people, and calling robbery a “prank” was his excuse if he got caught.

    in any case, prank or not does not matter one bit. if you put people in fear of you killing them, they might just kill you first.

  21. This same type of stupidity occurred in my town. This happened before cell phones. A kid thought it would be funny walking around with a black painted squirt gun, pointing at people and cars and squirting them. This was after dark, An elderly man was walking down the street and the Youth pulled the squirt gun and pointed it at him. The older man pulled his 1911 and held the teenager at gunpoint until police arrived. Could have ended very differently.

  22. You thought you was privileged! That’s what I like to see! That’s what I like to see!

  23. I’ve read about half the comments, but haven’t seen this mentioned, but didn’t TTAG readers predict this a few times several years ago?

    There was someone else pulling some fake robbery or abduction stunt for a YT prank. They weren’t shot, but commenters here were saying it’s just a mattet of time before some subscriptions-hungry wannabe goes too far with such a prank and ends up getting wasted.

  24. YouTube must be banned! One death is one too many! We need legislation! YouTube is killing the stupidest among us! These are the people who need the most help!

    In case you’re confused….its sarcasm.

  25. “Some of us have enough guns for 7 or 8 Americans; so my question is: Why aren’t those other 7 or 8 more heavily armed?!”

    Your question might be more insightful than you thought.

Comments are closed.