Man Allegedly Murders Victim for Laughing at His Facebook Picture, Officials Say. "What's Funny?"
Emoji triggers online violence.
A 20-year-old Missouri man has been accused of murdering a man who posted a laughing emoji on his Facebook profile picture. Tanner Watkins and Kaleb Ramsey, 18, were charged with first-degree murder, assault, and unlawful use of a weapon after the online conversation turned violent.
Watkins and the victim got into a heated back-and-forth after Watkins posted a new Facebook profile photos showing him with his girlfriend, local police said. The victim posted a laughing image under the photo, prompting Watkins to ask him, "What's funny?" Read on to find out how the interaction escalated.
Conversation Takes Violent Turn
"What's funny?" Watkins wrote, screenshots show. "Tryna get some bread, huh?" "I'm ready though," Watkins concluded his comment with a target emoji and a thumbs-up. "I seen [redacted] on it, why would I not?" the victim replied. "You feel some type of way? That's my shorty, and it's all smoke behind her, too. You got me confused for the wrong, watch and see," Watkins allegedly wrote.
Shots Fired From Two Vehicles
Fox 2 reports that Watkins met with the victim at Rotary Park in Sikeston to fight on April 25. Gunfire was exchanged, leaving an 18-year-old man dead and an 18-year-old woman injured. "They were communicating through social media, and it looked like they were trying to meet up at a location to have a fight," said Police Chief Jim McMillen.
One vehicle with four people inside was waiting while two other vehicles arrived with about five other people inside, McMillen said. Shots were fired from both cars.
AK-47-Style Rifle Used
Police responded to sounds of gunfire at the park, which is near a popular golf course. "Vehicles leaving, they got those vehicles stopped, addressed the people inside, there were some that were injured and struck by gunfire," McMillen said. "It's unusual to have a type of incident like this in this location, so obviously people were very concerned."
Police say guns have been taken for evidence. "We had a couple different rifles that were used in this, a few pistols as well," McMillen said. According to court documents obtained by KVFS, an AK-47-style rifle was used to fire multiple rounds at a Chevy Malibu.
One Victim Reportedly Died At Scene
According to reports, 18-year-old Isaiah Craig Fitzgerald was shot in the face and died at the scene. "Of the two kids shot yesterday, one was from Chaffee [Missouri]. Isiah and his brother Malachi would spend a lot of time with my son when they were younger. My son was like a dad to them," one Facebook user wrote.
"All of this over a laughing emoji on Facebook. Heidi Best Chase Best and myself have always had an open door to kids who need someone and this just hurts so bad. He was a good boy. "The girl is in critical condition and set to have surgery today."
Several Charges Filed
Watkins and Ramsey have been charged with murder in the first degree, three counts of assault in the first degree, four counts of "unlawful use of a weapon and armed criminal action." They are being held without bond.