A North Carolina native known for calling out local criminals on his Facebook livestreams was murdered on his own broadcast this week.
Prentis Robinson, 55, was heading home from the Union County Sheriff’s Office when the shooting happened Monday (Feb. 26). Robinson went to report a stolen cell phone to Wingate police chief Donnie Gay, who he knew well. The Wingate resident was known to the neighborhood as a watchman of sorts, who would routinely livestream neighborhood crimes and suspects on Facebook Live. While heading home, Robinson crossed paths with 65-year-old Douglas Cleveland Colson. “You on live,” Robinson said before shots rang out. Colson could be seen fleeing the scene.
Those who watched Robinson’s live streams told The Washington Post the victim wanted to clean up the neighborhood. “They’re afraid of some of the activities going on,” Robinson could be heard saying in one of his videos. “I’m trying to keep the neighborhood quiet like this — peaceful.”
Chester Sanders said his friend’s videos had good intentions, but drew criticism. “If people don’t like it and they get angry, at some point in time it will start and something will happen,” he said. “I don’t know if this was the reason for … this tragedy to happen but it happened.”
Colson, surrendered to police Tuesday (Feb. 27) to the Union County Sheriff’s Office. Wingate police chief Donnie Gay called the incident brash. “Only being a block or so away from the police department — if that’s not brazen I don’t know what is,” Gay said. “It’s heart breaking. I can’t believe it.”
Facebook removed the video from Robinson’s page, claiming the victim wouldn’t want “this horrific act to be live streamed on social media.” Robinson and Colson weren’t friends, but shared a long history. During a live stream last week, Robinson accused Colson of selling drugs and planting crimes on young residents. “[He’s] always [snitching] on the little young boys and get them [jail] time and stuff,” Robinson said. He also explained how a love triangle began their beef. “Doug, all I say to you is, ‘Die and go to hell,’” Robinson said in the video. “You gonna burn in hell. You burning so bad, inside your skin is turning darker every year.”
Colson has been charged with first-degree murder and was seen in court Wednsday (Feb. 28).
Jordan shared with reporters that many people tried to warn Robinson of his streams, on and offline. “People on the posts would comment and say, ‘Somebody is going to kill you,’” Jordan said. “He had good intentions. But we kept trying to tell him that there was a flip side. He saw himself as trying to clean up the neighborhood.”
The community has rallied for Robinson, creating a memorial for him where he was murdered. A candlelight vigil will also take place in Wingate Saturday (March 3) at Creft Park.