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Police say ‘disturbed’ fan broke into YouTuber Gavin Free’s home to harm him
The suspect died at the scene.
A man drove 700 miles from New Mexico to Texas late last month to try to harm YouTube star Gavin Free, because he was infatuated with the YouTuber’s girlfriend and because he was resentful of his success, police said.
According to Austin detectives, Christopher Giles had “developed a fondness” for Meg Turney, a YouTuber who’s also Free’s girlfriend. Giles broke into their Austin home with a gun at 3:40am CT on the morning of Jan. 26, and Free and Turney hid in the bedroom closet and dialed 911.
Police said Giles shot inside the house, even though he never found the couple.
As Giles returned to his car, he was confronted by police officers, who arrived only four minutes after the 911 call had been placed. A shot was fired from inside Giles’ car, and one officer returned fire. A few minutes later, Giles was found dead. According to the Albuquerque Journal, an official ruling on his death has not been announced but a medical examiner found that Giles might have shot himself.
Briefing regarding Officer Involved Shooting will take place shortly. Watch here live. pic.twitter.com/71EcxMgabg
— Austin Police Dept (@Austin_Police) January 26, 2018
Free is the co-owner of the Slow Mo Guys YouTube channel (10.2 million subscribers), and he’s worked with Rooster Teeth as an actor and director. Turney, also formerly associated with Rooster Teeth, has nearly 340,000 YouTube subscribers where she cosplays, vlogs about her travels, and occasionally appears with Free.
Neither YouTuber appears to have commented on their social media channels, and Free did not immediately respond Monday morning to a Daily Dot message.
The evidence detailed in a search warrant affidavit for the 2nd Judicial District Court that allowed officers to search Giles’ New Mexico home, via the Albuquerque Journal, is disturbing.
Police described Giles as “single, lonely, and disturbed,” and notes on his phone led officers to believe he wanted to harm Free because he resented Free’s success. “Threatening thoughts were recorded by Giles and directed toward Gavin Free, i.e., ‘I want Gavin Free to die alone, with no children,’” an Austin police detective wrote in the affidavit.
Austin police said security footage showed Giles searching the couple’s home with a gun in his hand, and a detective wrote that “based on the footage seen it was apparent that Giles’ sole intent was to cause harm to someone who resides there.”
According to the detective in the affidavit, “Based upon the known circumstances and investigative findings, your affiant is led to believe that evidence related to the planned burglary and homicides of Megan Turney and Gavin Free will be found.”
The Austin Police Department did not immediately respond to a Daily Dot request for comment, and a police spokeswoman told the Journal that the case is under investigation and declined further comment.
Update 4:13pm CT, Feb. 12: The Austin Police Department told the Daily Dot on Monday afternoon that the case is still under investigation and that it could not comment further on the incident.
Josh Katzowitz is the Weekend Editor for the Daily Dot and covers the world of YouTube. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. He’s also a longtime sports writer, covering the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.