STERLING, Va. — A grand jury will hear arguments after a 31-year-old man reportedly shot a YouTube creator who was pranking him while recording a video at Dulles Town Center.
Alan Colie appeared in court Wednesday. He is accused of shooting Tanner Cook while Cook was recording a prank video for the YouTube channel Classified Goons, which has more than 51,000 subscribers.
Cook testified in court Wednesday, saying he was playing a Google Translate prank on Colie where he would play "goofy woods." Colie's defense lawyer later said Cook was playing the phrase "hey dipsh**, stop thinking about my sparkle."
Aside from himself, Cook had another man accompanying him for the prank and two men recording the interaction.
Detective Katie Mitchell of the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office previously said Colie, who was at the mall to pick up food for DoorDash, told Cook to stop several times and tried to walk away. Despite swatting the phone away from his face, she said Cook persisted.
Cook could not remember a lot of details when asked in court but did acknowledge holding the phone about six inches away from Colie's face.
Colie's lawyer argues that Cook was "towering over" the suspect, threatening, harassing and targeting him.
"He's making money by causing fear in individuals," the defense lawyer said.
However, Cook said his channel is meant for people who enjoy watching others get frustrated.
"It's to bring people who are watching some type of relief from what they're going through in their life," Cook said. "A lot of people have different types of humor."
Prosecutors argued Cook presented no threat as he had no weapons and did not made physical contact with Colie. They said while Colie backed away from Cook, he ultimately responded unreasonably.
Cook and the judge watched the recorded video that shows the moment he was shot. Reporters in the courtroom were not able to see the video but could hear Colie saying "no" several times and "stop" before the sound of a gunshot.
Ultimately, the judge ruled there is probable cause to move the case to a grand jury, saying while Cook's action was in an "obnoxious manner," the use of deadly force wasn't justified.
Colie faces several charges including aggravated malicious wounding, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and discharging a firearm within a building.
Cook's father, Jeramy Cook, compared his son to celebrity Ashton Kutcher who had the MTV prank show "Punk'd."
"I don't think it should be a double standard," Jeramy Cook, said in a statement to WUSA9. "If you're rich and have a TV show about pranking people, it's funny, but if you're just a kid out there doing it, it's okay to shoot and kill."
Cook acknowledged mall security has instructed him not to record videos in the past. A deputy testified how the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office was aware of him and his pranks prior to the shooting.
Deputy Commonwealth Attorney Anthony Needham has previously said the Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office is looking into also possibly charging Cook.
Despite his injuries, Cook told WUSA9 he plans to continue making videos because it is his passion. Another prank video was posted about three weeks ago.
Natalie Lomax said she and her sister experienced one of Cook’s pranks in Loudoun County about three weeks before the shooting. However, Lomax said she prefers to describe them more as harassment.
“It’s incredibly upsetting,” Lomax said. “It makes me angry and makes me worried for my community.”
Jeramy Cook told WUSA9 that their family has dealt with the national spotlight and major backlash since the shooting. While many agree, this level of violence is wrong, they also disagree with Tanner Cook's content.
"It's unfortunate," Jeramy Cook said. "I'm getting all kinds of messages from people around the country saying that my son got what he deserved and, matter of fact, they feel like he should have died."
Tanner Cook, of the prank YouTube channel 'Classified Goons,' was shot at Dulles Town Center in Virginia. His story has gone viral.
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