An armed New Mexico man broke into the house of YouTubers Megan Turney and Gavin Free last month, forcing the couple to hide in their closet and await police. Christopher Giles drove 11 hours from Albuquerque to the couple’s home in Austin, Texas, and his “sole intent was to cause harm to someone who resides there,” according to a search warrant obtained by KXAN. Giles allegedly shot at police, who returned fire, killing Giles.
Both Turney and Free are popular social media stars; Turney is a former Rooster Teeth host and cosplayer, while Free is the creator of science and tech series The Slow Mo Guys. The incident took place on January 26th, after police received a call from a woman who said she and her boyfriend awoke to the sound of a gunshot and breaking glass. The Albuquerque Journal reports that not only did Giles’ phone include notes demonstrating a “fondness” for Turney specifically, but showed hostility toward her boyfriend, Free. “A search of Giles’ cellular phone identified various notations identifying Megan Turney and Gavin Free by name,” the documents read. “Furthermore, threatening thoughts were recorded by Giles and directed toward Gavin Free, i.e., ‘I want Gavin Free to die alone, with no children.’ ”
Both Turney and Free have taken to social media since the news broke to reassure fans. “I just wanted to say thanks for all the support and concern regarding the recent incident,” tweeted Free. “It’s been a rough time for Meg and myself the last few weeks but we are doing ok.” Turney echoed his sentiments, tweeting, “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.”
The disturbing incident marks a growing trend in which YouTubers and online personalities face serious safety concerns from fans. Earlier this month, infamous YouTuber Logan Paul called the police on a fan who broke into his Los Angeles home. Over the years, Twitch streamers have also faced this problem in varying degrees, whether fans showed up at their homes or swatted streamers live on air.