Warrant: Man in fatal shooting might have targeted YouTube stars


Highlights

A man accused of breaking into an Austin home, who was later shot dead, might have targeted its residents.

The two people who live there are YouTube celebrities.

An Albuquerque man who died in an officer-involved shooting after breaking into a Hyde Park home last month might have died from a self-inflicted gunshot and appears to have been trying to harm a couple who are internet celebrities, according to an Albuquerque police search warrant.

Christopher Giles, 23, was familiar with the Austin couple — Gavin Free and Megan Turney — because of their YouTube fame, according to the warrant, which was obtained by the Albuquerque Journal and based on information from the Albuquerque and Austin police departments. Authorities wanted to search Giles’ Albuquerque apartment because they thought “evidence related to the planned burglary and homicides of Megan Turney and Gavin Free will be found,” the search warrant says.

MORE FROM NEW MEXICO: Albuquerque man targeted YouTube celebrities

Giles is accused of breaking into Turney’s and Free’s house in the 4500 block of Avenue G on Jan. 26. He fired a gun both inside and outside the home while the couple hid in a closet, but Free and Turney were not injured, Austin police have said.

Austin police reported that officers responding to a 911 call coming from the house saw Giles leaving the home and told him to stop. Giles fired at police, and an officer fired back, interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said. The warrant says his fatal gunshot wound might have been self-inflicted, based on preliminary findings from the Travis County medical examiner’s office.

Turney and Free both gained fame making videos for YouTube — many of them video game-related — and both have worked at the Austin-based media company Rooster Teeth Productions. Free created and co-hosts the YouTube-based series “The Slow Mo Guys.”

Police searched Giles’ phone, where they found multiple notes in which he talks about Turney and Free by name. Giles recorded threatening thoughts about Free, including “I want Gavin Free to die alone, with no children,” the warrant says.

“Based upon these notations, it was apparent that Giles developed a fondness of Turney yet resented Free for his lifestyle and success,” the warrant says. People whom police interviewed — who were not named in the warrant — described Giles as single, lonely and disturbed, the document says.

Turney called 911 about 3:40 a.m. Jan. 26. She told the dispatcher that she and Free were awakened by the sound of a gunshot followed by breaking glass, and they heard an intruder walking around their home, the warrant says.

Austin officers encountered Giles as he was backing out of the couple’s driveway in a Lincoln sedan, the warrant says. The officers announced their presence, heard a single gunshot come from the car and returned fire. After his death, officers found a .45-caliber handgun near Giles’ right hand, the warrant says.

Nothing was stolen from the couple’s house, the warrant says.

Armed with the warrant, police searched Giles’ house on Jan. 29 and seized two cellphones, a laptop, two tablets and an Xbox gaming system, Albuquerque court documents show. No available records say what they found on those electronics, and Albuquerque and Austin police declined to comment on the case.

Free and Turney did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but both tweeted about the incident this week.

“Thanks for all the support and concern regarding the recent incident,” Free wrote Monday on Twitter. “It’s been a rough time for Meg and myself the last few weeks but we are doing OK. I want to give a huge thanks to Austin police for the amazing response time.”

Turney wrote: “Thank y’all so, so much for each and every kind message today and a special thank you to the Austin police for their quick response that night and their ongoing support during this difficult time.”

Correction: This article has been updated to correct a detail regarding “The Slow Mo Guys.” Gavin Free is the creator.



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