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ABQ man targeted YouTube celebrities

Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal

A YouTube celebrity couple hid in the closet late last month, calling 911 while police say a man searched through their home in Austin, armed with a gun and firing at least one round inside the house.

Less than 10 minutes later, that man was dead in the driveway. The couple had not been harmed.

Internet personalities Gavin Free and Megan Turney post video blogs on their YouTube channels about their lives. Police say those videos led an Albuquerque man to resent Free and drive to their Austin home last month, apparently to hurt them. (Source: YouTube)

Christopher Giles, who police described as “single, lonely and disturbed,” had made the 11-hour drive from Albuquerque, according to documents filed in the 2nd Judicial District Court. And his phone was full of notes suggesting he had “developed a fondness” for the woman, Megan Turney, and a dislike of her boyfriend, Gavin Free.

Turney, 30, was made famous through her video blogs on anime, relationship advice and her life. Free, 29, is the co-host of a YouTube video series of slow-motion videos.

Christopher Giles

“A search of Giles’ cellular phone identified various notations identifying Megan Turney and Gavin Free by name,” a detective wrote in the documents. “Furthermore, threatening thoughts were recorded by Giles and directed toward Gavin Free, i.e., ‘I want Gavin Free to die alone, with no children.’ ”

A spokeswoman for the Austin Police Department said the case is under investigation and she could not answer any additional questions about it.

But part of that investigation includes assistance from homicide detectives with the Albuquerque Police Department who served a search warrant on Giles’ Northwest Albuquerque apartment a couple of days after the shooting.

According to that search warrant affidavit, around 3:40 a.m. on Jan. 26, Turney and Free awoke to the sound of breaking glass and a gunshot. They hid in their bedroom closet and called 911 while Giles searched their home for them.

When he couldn’t find the couple, Giles left, encountering Austin Police Department officers on his way out.

The officers found Giles backing out of the driveway in his Lincoln sedan with a New Mexico license plate and ordered him to stop.

Instead, they heard a single gunshot coming from the car. An officer returned fire.

Giles was pronounced dead on the scene, a .45 caliber handgun near his hand, according to the affidavit. Turney and Free were not harmed.

In a press briefing the day of the shooting, Austin Police Department Assistant Chief Troy Gay said that two officers were there but that only one fired.

A preliminary postmortem examination by the Travis County Medical Examiner found that Giles may have shot himself, according to the affidavit, but an official ruling on his manner of death is underway.

Giles’ family members could not be reached by the Journal last week. Neither Turney nor Free responded to phone calls.

Chilling evidence

Throughout the investigation, Austin Police Department detectives found chilling evidence about what Giles might have been up to. They said security footage shows him searching the home for the residents, a gun in his hand.

“Based on the footage seen it was apparent that Giles’ sole intent was to cause harm to someone who resides there,” the detective wrote in the complaint.

On Giles’ cellphone, they found even more clues – various comments about Free and Turney, according to the affidavit, and more than a thousand other notes, including about his dislike of Free.

The detective said it was apparent that Giles had “developed a fondness of Turney yet resented Free for his lifestyle and success.”

Albuquerque Police Department detectives who executed a search warrant on his home in Albuquerque said Giles lived alone and was “an avid player of video games and was known for watching YouTube videos that were centered on his hobby.”

Detectives took two cellphones, a laptop, two tablets and an XBox gaming system from his home.

“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,” the detective wrote in the affidavit.

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