YouTuber Boogie2988, whose popular channel focused on video games, says that he “did the best he could” in a tough situation when he fired a warning shot at a banned YouTuber named Frank Hassle who showed up to his house and threatened him Monday. “If I had to do it over,” he told Motherboard, “I would do things differently.”
“I don’t think I would have opened the door,” Boogie said in a phone call. “I think, in retrospect, it was a mistake to open the door. You know, I certainly do not want to shoot anybody. I certainly absolutely do not want to kill anybody. I hate that I was put into that situation.”
Motherboard has obtained video of and a police “incident report” describing the shooting, which went viral on Twitter and YouTube Monday. Together, the interview, video, and police report shed further light on a bizarre incident that largely played out online in real time.
Hassle, a former YouTuber who was banned from the platform and now posts videos in which he harasses people while wearing some sort of camera strapped to his head on the right-wing tube site BitChute, had spent weeks tweeting at Boogie that he was going to come to his house. At one point, the two got on a podcast, where Boogie said “This is not fucking funny to me. I am not participating willingly in this. I told you to fucking leave you alone, and I will fucking end you if you step foot on my fucking property, Frank.” On Monday afternoon, Frank tweeted photos of himself on Boogie’s lawn, and eventually knocked on the door and threatened him, according to SimpliSafe surveillance footage and a cell phone video shared with Motherboard of the incident.
“Come on you fuckin’ pussy, what’s the deal?” Frank yells in the video. “Where’s the gun at, you fat faggot? Open fire! Open fire!”
Boogie eventually opens the door, and a verbal altercation ensues. A dog barks, and an air conditioning repair person asks what’s going on. Boogie’s roommate also wonders what’s going on.
“I’m asking you to leave. This is my home, you are not welcome here. You have threatened my life. I’m asking you to leave. In about 30 seconds, I’m going to fire a warning shot,” Boogie says. His phone, still recording, is in his pocket, so there’s no video.
Hassle laughs, and says “Fire it now. Fire the warning shot now.”
Boogie then fires the weapon. “Is this what we have to do? I’m asking you to leave man, please don’t make me do this.”
Eventually, Hassle shouts a series of slurs at Boogie and leaves. Boogie’s roommate can be heard saying they are going to call the police. “I’m an eyewitness at this point,” they said.
The police report obtained by Motherboard indicates that Boogie filed a “harassment report” the night before the shooting, and that a neighbor also called the police. The police narrative says that the neighbor “saw a male wearing a dog or animal costume and a white male approximately 20-years-old described as having sandy blond ‘bushy’ hair.”
Hassle is listed on the police report as being a man named “Cameron.” Motherboard has been unable to independently verify Hassle’s identity.
“SUSP HAS BEEN HARASSING HIM FOR THE PAST 3 MONTHS, SAYS THIS IS OVER A YOUTUBE DISPUTE,” the police narrative states. “ANOTHER CALLER HEARD HER NEIGHBOR YELLING THEN HEARD A SHOT FIRED AND THE NEIGHBOR WALKED TO THE SIDEWALK CARRYING A PISTOL.”
Fayetteville police declined to comment further on the incident, citing an active investigation.
Boogie told Motherboard that he’s not sure if he will be charged with a crime for firing the weapon. “There’s certainly a fine for that, and I’m glad to pay it. I hope there’ll be no jail time with everything else going on though.” He also said that Hassle continued to harass him after the incident: “He’s telling people he’s coming back … the cops made it clear what we’re supposed to do this time. Do not answer the door, do not engage, pretend you’re not at home, call us. If he attempts to break and enter, defend yourself.”
Soon after news of the shooting was broken by YouTuber Keemstar, many people online speculated that it was a publicity stunt. Boogie said that sort of speculation—and the targeted online harassment campaigns he faced in the lead-up to the shooting from Hassle and others—have been a “dehumanizing” and eye-opening experience.
“I had to tell about 20 people yesterday that it wasn't a stunt. I don't know what the hell I've done to my reputation, to make people think that I'm such a low piece of garbage, that I would willingly participate in something like this that could damage our entire community,” Boogie said.
He added that he believes he was singled out for harassment because he talks publicly about his mental health on his channel.
“I think it's symptomatic of what social media does to us. Because we treat sexism and racism and ableism as a joke. And when social media treats it as a joke when we're supposed to as a YouTuber to just turn a blind eye to it. That's a form of consenting to it,” he added. “And I've spoken out about ableism throughout my entire career. I know I'm morbidly obese. I know being morbidly obese was a choice that I made. I understand that. But I do not deserve to be mocked for that. I do not deserve to be dehumanized. For that no one does. No one should be dehumanized, we're human. And that's what this culture does. And I genuinely think we, as creators, need to do a better job of condemning it. But everybody instead turns a blind eye to it, because they don't want to be harassed. They don't want this guy showing up at their front door. One of the reasons this happened to me is because I do engage, because I do speak out against this type of behavior. I do allow people to see how it impacts me and my mental health, how it impacts my life.”
Boogie said he was not sure if Hassle would be charged with a crime, and that he would likely seek out a restraining order.
“I just want to create fun YouTube videos and be left alone,” he said. “That's all I want in the whole world. I just want to talk about stupid video game stuff. And I just want to live the next five or 10 years that I have left with this enlarged heart in this dying body. In my home with my friend and my dog. It's all I want to do this the entirety of my life. That's all I care about. It's just to be left alone.”
Reached for comment by Motherboard, Hassle emailed a photo of a giant piece of shit in a dry toilet.