YouTuber Shot, Killed After Going After Armed Tennessee Man in Fake Robbery

Timothy Wilks was shot and killed after trying to film a fake robbery. (Photo: Shirley Berry)

Play stupid games… well, you know the rest.

A would-be YouTube star was shot and killed in Nashville on Friday after he approached a man carrying a concealed handgun in what police have described as a “robbery prank” gone wrong.

Carrying butcher knives, Timothy Wilks, 20, and a friend approached a group of people in a parking lot of an Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park around 9:20 p.m. One of the men in the group, 23-year-old David Starnes, Jr., believed he and his friends were in danger, so he took out his concealed handgun and shot Wilks, killing him.

Starnes stayed on the scene and told police he was not aware of the prank. Police said in a statement that no charges have been filed, but they are investigating Starnes’ claims of self-defense.

Wilks’ relatives are not blaming Starnes. Instead, they’re trying to prevent other young people from taking similar risks to get famous.

Shirley Berry, Wilks’ grandmother, told the Tennessean that she’s trying to raise awareness of the consequences of social media and raise money for “positive programs” for children as a “tribute to him.”

SEE ALSO: Phoenix Woman Arrested for Shooting Store Employee While Trying to Stop a Robbery

Children like Wilks, she said, are drawn to the “limelight” and see social media and internet fame as a “way out.”

“The thing I would want them to know is, if you’re trying to make a statement for yourself, do it in a positive way,” she said. “Do something positive. That’s what I would have told him if he would have come to me with this thought.”

“If you’re thinking about doing something, think again, because it’s not worth your life or anybody else’s,” Berry said.

She also wants people to know that Wilks was a “good child.”

“I’m not angry, but I just don’t want anyone thinking that this person that is lying in the morgue was a ‘thug,'” Berry said. “He was not. He was a good child. He would do anything for anyone.”

SEE ALSO: Don’t Mess With Date Night: Armed Couple Stops Robbery in Progress (VIDEO)

Neither Wilks nor Starnes have criminal records, according to the Tennessean.

Videos depicting fake robberies and other criminal acts are a genre to themselves on YouTube. The most popular channel features twin brothers Alan and Alex Stokes, who film themselves performing various “pranks” in public and recording peoples’ responses.

In this video, for example, viewed over 4.5 million times, the twins steal ear buds from strangers in public.

In September, the Stokes found themselves in hot water after they were charged with felony false imprisonment and misdemeanor falsely reporting an emergency following a prank bank robbery that drew police response.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at

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  • Chum Lee March 15, 2021, 9:12 am

    …and now he’s famous.

  • Nick Foster March 7, 2021, 9:32 pm

    nvm I was wrong. i blame the fake news

  • Nick Foster March 7, 2021, 9:29 pm

    funny thing is this isnt even him.. the prankster was white …smh

  • Eric Harbord February 19, 2021, 7:54 am

    YouTube needs to catch a courtroom beat down from stuff like this but they are shielded by the federal government that is controlled by domestic enemies.
    Of course this kid made a final bad decision and paid with his life for it.
    I hope his example prevents others and his family finds peace because they seem like reasonable people.

  • Matt498 February 17, 2021, 10:06 pm

    I can’t blame the CCW holder in the least. Its a sad outcome and I feel as bad for the shooter as I do for the family of the deceased. Its always going to be hard to live with, especially considering the revelation of the deceased foolish intent. For those who might want to defend the prankster or vilify the shooter, think of it this way……………. would the prankster ever have considered pulling this prank on a uniformed police officer?

  • fd February 16, 2021, 4:06 am

    I would’ve shot him too most likely. If you don’t know somebody prank armed robbing them is the same as real armed robbing them. Duh! It’s impossible to prank armed rob a random stranger. This is just ridiculous, nobody with any brains believes this was a “prank”.

  • BG February 15, 2021, 4:58 pm

    It sad to hear all the negative and border-line racist comments people say on hear. I just wonder how those people would be talking if it was one of their relatives playing around and got killed? The ignorance is REAL!!! Have some damn respect you ignorant POS!

    • gary holfstra February 17, 2021, 11:34 am

      Maybe the ‘prankster” should have had some respect? Oh no, that’d be asking too much of him to be a responsible member of society, not a jackass.

  • bobs your uncle February 15, 2021, 11:56 am

    Say anything about election fraud and yer banned from media, eh seems fair[sarc]

  • PhoenixRizez February 15, 2021, 7:45 am

    Does anyone else find it twistedly ironic that a story highlighting the dangers of these CRIMINAL “pranks” has a YouTube video of similar criminals inserted directly into the story, thereby highlighting them and increasing their “views,” which is the GOAL of these criminal idiots?

    Wow, serious FAIL GunsAmerica!

    If we really wanted to be a part OF the problem, we could’ve gone to YouTube and looked up videos like this on our own; it shouldn’t have been implanted in the story. What’s next, a story about the dangers of drug use with a link to a couple dealers in our neighborhood?

    • X Man February 15, 2021, 5:01 pm

      Shhhh. Go drink your soy milk and be quiet. The adults are talking.

  • PB- dave February 14, 2021, 11:47 am

    This guy didn’t know the robbers intent, take money and run, or take money and leave no witness, or yell trick or treat……. IF it was a gag, another sad accident on his part, a person shouldn’t die for being ignorant, but at some point a person needs to be responsible. I have my doubts on a prank, but then again kids have been turning video into reality for a quarter century……. guess what, no reset button here. Feel bad for the shooter, a lot of stuff to carry for the rest of ones life.

  • Russ February 13, 2021, 12:55 pm

    Stupid frigging idiots. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. He won some lead. People really are imbeciles.

  • KENNETH ELLSWORTH February 13, 2021, 9:11 am


  • Matt February 12, 2021, 5:31 pm

    Another idiot who brought a knife to a gun fight!

  • Kevin February 12, 2021, 3:56 pm

    About as much common sense as the gorilla glue girl.

  • Abigail Van Buren February 12, 2021, 1:35 pm

    Dear Timmy Boy

    Just in case you come back in your next life as a dumbass, I have some advice.

    Try the prank with a banana next time instead of a knife.

    You might get away with only having that shoved up your ***, and live on to humor us another day.

  • Nova February 12, 2021, 12:04 pm

    Thank God another moron is dead! Lol

    • Dan February 12, 2021, 2:59 pm

      What kind of POS wishes an innocent human dead?

      • Winston February 12, 2021, 7:05 pm

        The PoS is the one who committed the ‘fake robbery’ with a real knife. What kind of ghetto PoS pulls a real knife on an unsuspecting person? Answer that one.

      • andy February 13, 2021, 1:24 pm


  • Michael J February 12, 2021, 11:43 am

    Why doesn’t YouTube censor this crap?

  • Paul Hillar February 12, 2021, 11:29 am

    Wow! Apparently reading and comprehension have long been forgotten. Nowhere does it say ” bank” robbery or that Wilks stayed at the scene. Where are tha parents of thg his 20 year old “child”? Why do we only ever hear from the grandmother? Why wasn’t Dad around to smack some sense into this boy when he was younger and give him guidance to make intelligent decisions? Once again, FAILED parenting! Apparently the village failed him too! I would love to see these idiots that dress as clowns and chase people, get some of the same treatment!

    • Winston February 12, 2021, 7:08 pm

      Dan commenting above seems as a virtue-signalling dim bulb. Perhaps he might answer.

  • Ed February 12, 2021, 10:48 am

    Not a prank. That’s just what the cohorts said to cover they’re behinds.

  • Nokes February 12, 2021, 10:43 am

    Guns America Digest? The twitter/facebook/wapo version of editing and censorship. One more time GAD, Let the riots begin, with the antifa, BLM, veterans of the Portland, Seattle, Kenosha, Minneapolis, and elsewhere. And remember, everything is on sale, regardless of ownership.

    • Winston February 12, 2021, 7:16 pm

      They do censor comments that hit too close to the truth about the open bigotry of many US corporations.

  • Nunya Beezwax February 12, 2021, 10:24 am

    Ummm, Prank bank robbery in an “Trampoline and Adventure Park” parking lot at 9:30pm?
    What’s wrong with picture?

  • Bob February 12, 2021, 10:14 am

    Why doesn’t Youtube ban these videos? They are not safe and now we can all understand why. Why are we Incentivizing/Glorifying this type of behavior on YouTube.

  • wells February 12, 2021, 10:09 am

    These “pranks” may be funny to some, but to others it’s considered bullying. Not funny.

  • DavidInCO February 12, 2021, 8:41 am

    The one positive, if you can even say that, is that the family isn’t freaking out and going all “woke” on the man that defended himself/the group. It is tragic (possibly tragically stupid) that this happened, but it certainly is not the fault of the prank-ee.

  • graceythecat February 12, 2021, 8:36 am

    Stupid is as Stupid does.

  • SnipeHunter February 12, 2021, 8:13 am

    Many of the prank YouTube channels are staged with “victim actors”. The Stokes channel is a prime example. Apparently they broke Stokes SOP with the bank robbery prank.

  • Jesse Scott February 12, 2021, 7:49 am

    Sounds like it was best to clean the gene pool a bit.

  • Daniel February 12, 2021, 7:00 am

    I don’t get it. He shot the camera man but not the guy with the knife?

  • Lurker February 12, 2021, 5:16 am

    What young folks are calling “pranks” these days, are idiotic, cruel, and without humor. This one is a perfect example of the worst of outcomes. The senseless loss of a young life. It started when my kids were younger, and that actor from “That 70’s Show” Kutcher, was trying to be relevant because he lacks talent, and had a “Prank” TV show that was horrible. I told the kids not to watch it, and the reason. Same for so much of the so-called “comedy”, then and now. I let my grandsons know the same opinions. Just because it’s idiotic, stupid, or cruel doesn’t make it humorous. To anyone. No matter what friends or “celebrities” think or tell you to think!

    • Laughs at boomer February 12, 2021, 7:47 am

      Actually, it started in the 70’s with a show called “Candid Camera”

      • michael February 12, 2021, 3:55 pm

        I remember watching as a kid. And do not remember them destroying anyones property or attacking them. They were tricked & fooled in a harmless way. Not something that may possibly get you killed.

      • CountryLogic February 15, 2021, 7:40 am

        Actually Candid Camera started in the late 40s.

  • Tim Toroian February 11, 2021, 9:18 pm

    Trevally, anybody committing robbery “pranks” with a knife has the MIND of a child.

  • Dr Motown February 11, 2021, 3:01 pm

    The internet and social media were supposed to make us a smarter society….how’s that working out?🤔

  • Trevally February 11, 2021, 12:09 pm

    His grandmother called him a child. Since when is a twenty year-old man considered a child?

    • Ransom February 12, 2021, 5:20 am

      Unfortunately in todays weak times most 20 year olds are still infants.

  • Ralph Solli February 11, 2021, 11:05 am

    Once again, we witness how Social Media has warped our behavior.

  • Deplorable Sam February 11, 2021, 9:07 am

    Can fix stupid. BUT… there does seem to be a cure.
    All worthy nominations for the Darwin Award.

  • JPerry February 11, 2021, 8:44 am

    It’s sad this guy lost his life over a prank. However, a “fake robbery” is not fake if you’re the one being robbed.

  • Jimm February 11, 2021, 8:29 am

    “Wilks stayed on the scene and told police he was not aware of the prank.” ? Wilks was the one doing the prank and getting shot…Starnes was the one who took action.

    • Jeremiah Rivera February 12, 2021, 6:16 am

      I think you read that wrong, it says Starnes.

  • J.Q. Public February 10, 2021, 9:31 pm

    Today’s kids needs less time on social media and more time working. Stupid!

  • Rick Withers February 10, 2021, 6:52 pm

    2nd paragraph: “David Starnes, Jr., believed he and his friends were in danger, so he took out his concealed handgun and shot Wilks, killing him.”

    3rd paragraph: “Wills stayed at the scene…”

    Well damn, he should have gotten up and left? Smdh 🤦🏻‍♂️

    • don serra February 12, 2021, 9:29 am

      Both men stayed at the scene.

      • a11four1 February 12, 2021, 1:53 pm

        “Both men stayed at the scene”
        But only one had an exit plan……

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