Gunman Tried to Kill YouTube Stars While They Hid in Closet

‘I want Gavin Free to die alone,’ a lonely 23-year-old wrote before driving 11 hours to shoot the internet celebrity and his famous partner.

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

Before driving 11 hours to break into a famous YouTube couple’s home, Christopher Giles made notes about one of the YouTubers, police say.

“I want Gavin Free to die alone, with no children,” he allegedly wrote.

Giles, 23, is accused of breaking into the Austin, Texas, house of Free and Megan Turney on Jan. 26. Armed with a gun, Giles allegedly searched the house for the couple, who hid in a closet and called 911. Investigators claim Giles was there to kill, but Giles was the only one to wind up dead.

Giles was “an avid player of video games and was known for watching YouTube videos that were centered on his hobby,” according to an affidavit obtained by Giles’ hometown newspaper, the Albuquerque Journal.

The hobby led him to Turney, a popular YouTuber who posts about video games and anime, where she has more than 300,000 followers. One of the few Facebook pages he liked was that of Rooster Teeth, a video game-centric production company where Turney is a former on-screen personality.

Giles “developed a fondness of Turney,” according to the affidavit, which references notes investigators found on Giles’ phone. He had no such fondness for Turney’s boyfriend, Free, who is best known for his YouTube channel the Slow Mo Guys, where he and a friend have amassed more than 10 million followers for the slow-motion videos.

Giles “resented Free for his lifestyle and success,” the affidavit claims. In one note on his phone, Giles allegedly spelled out his death wish for the famous YouTuber. “I want Gavin Free to die alone, with no children,” Giles reportedly wrote.

In the days before the home invasion, Giles was “single, lonely and disturbed,” a detective said in a search warrant for his home. He also had a history of brushes with the law, beginning with a vehicle citation in 2014, court records show. In October 2015, he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. The next year, he pleaded no contest to marijuana and drug paraphernalia charges.

But in January 2018, Giles plotted a serious crime, investigators allege.

“Based upon the known circumstances and investigative findings, your affiant is led to believe that evidence related to the planned burglary and homicides of Megan Turney and Gavin Free will be found,” a detective wrote in the affidavit.

Single, lonely and disturbed.
Detective on Giles

Turney and Free live in Austin, Texas, approximately 11 hours from the Rio Rancho, New Mexico, home where Giles lived alone. After driving the entire way, Giles arrived at the home around 3:40 a.m. on Jan. 26.

That’s when Turney and Free heard gunshots and shattering glass. Then they heard someone enter the house through the back door. They heard gunfire inside the home and hid in a closet while they called 911.

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Gun in hand, Giles allegedly roamed the house the house looking for the couple. Based on surveillance footage, “it was apparent that Giles’ sole intent was to cause harm to someone who resides there,” a search warrant said.

He eventually gave up and left, climbing back into his car. But as Giles was pulling from Turney and Free’s driveway, police arrived. They ordered him out of the car. Instead, police say, they heard him fire a single shot inside the vehicle. One officer fired on the car. When they opened approached the car again, Giles was dead.

Medical examiners are still working to determine whether the police officer delivered the fatal shot or if it was self-inflicted.

On social media, Giles’ would-be victims downplayed the incident.

“I just wanted to say thanks for all the support and concern regarding the recent incident,” Free tweeted on Monday. “It’s been a rough time for Meg and myself the last few weeks but we are doing ok.”