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Rebecca Jo

Gun Enthusiast With Popular Online Videos Is Shot to Death in Georgia

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http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/11/us/keith-ratliff-gun-enthusiast-of-fpsrussia-is-shot-to-death.html

Gun Enthusiast With Popular Online Videos Is Shot to Death in Georgia

By ROBBIE BROWN

Published: January 10, 2013

CARNESVILLE, Ga. — Keith Ratliff loved guns. He built his own rifles. He kept bullets in his car’s cup holder. And on the rear window he slapped a sticker of the Starbucks Coffee mermaid firing two pistols.

“I ♥ Guns and Coffee,” it read.

Mr. Ratliff’s passion for firearms made him something of a celebrity on the Internet, where he helped make scores of videos about high-powered and exotic guns and explosives. His YouTube channel, called FPSRussia, became the site’s ninth largest, with nearly 3.5 million subscribers and more than 500 million views.

But last week, the authorities said, Mr. Ratliff, 32, ended up on the wrong end of a gun. The police in northeast Georgia found him dead at his office on Jan. 3, shot once in the head. He was surrounded by several guns, but not the one that killed him. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is treating it as a homicide.

“We are interviewing people of interest, but we have not named a suspect,” said the Franklin County sheriff, Stevie Thomas. “We are not ruling out any options.”

The news, coming amid a national debate about gun control, rippled across the blogs and social networking sites where his videos were popular. Tributes on Facebook and Twitter came from fans stunned that such a well-armed expert had not been able to defend himself.

“For him not to pull out that gun and try to defend himself, he had to feel comfortable around somebody,” his wife, Amanda, told a television channel in Lexington, Ky., where he used to live. "Either that or he was ambushed."

Mr. Ratliff’s videos, which starred a friend, Kyle Myers, are popular for their homegrown brand of zaniness — three minutes of Mr. Myers’s casual banter as he rakes targets or blows things up with extreme displays of firepower. Most are made outdoors, where Mr. Myers fires at targets like hay bales or photographs of Justin Bieber, while explaining the merits of various weapons. The videos always end the same way: with a boom.

“We couldn’t make a video about such a high-powered rifle without blowing up a truck,” Mr. Myers says in one video before opening fire on an empty pickup truck. “So let’s get a nice, big explosion and maybe a little shrapnel.”

F.P.S. is slang among video game players for “first-person shooter.” “Russia” refers to the thick accent used by Mr. Myers’s online persona.

Mr. Ratliff recently moved from Kentucky to Carnesville, a city of 540 people that is 80 miles from Atlanta. He opened a business that made and repaired firearms, and was licensed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the authorities said.

He was last seen alive at 7 p.m. on Jan. 2, the police said. The next night, the police found him dead inside the business, FPS Industries.

Neighbors in this small community said Mr. Ratliff kept to himself. His wife and 2-year-old son lived in Kentucky. Until last week, Sheriff Thomas said he was called to the property only once, after neighbors heard gunfire.

“As many of you already know I lost a close friend this week,” Mr. Myers wrote to his 1.1 million Facebook followers. “I ask only that you show respect to the situation for the family’s sake.”

Dan Barry contributed reporting from New York.


Our journey together on this earth has come to an end.

I will see you one day again, my love.

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Ms. Jo -Oh No ! This is terrible news !


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fans stunned that such a well-armed expert had not been able to defend himself.

He was last seen alive at 7 p.m. on Jan. 2, the police said. The next night, the police found him dead inside the business. Neighbors in this small community said Mr. Ratliff kept to himself. His wife and 2-year-old son lived in Kentucky.

Are you trying to convince me karma really exists?! The Bible does say something like "He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword." The guy sounds like an anti-social loser! May God have mercy on his soul!

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If only he had a gun. He could have protected himself and saved his life. Oh, wait....

Maybe he didn't have enough guns to defend himself. Oh, wait....


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Maybe he didn't have enough guns to defend himself. Oh, wait....

Maybe he was too much of a p*ssy to use one.

Edited by scotinmass

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Standing around giggling among yourselves about this story is more disgusting than the crime itself

Who's giggling? I'm certainly not, its tragic but it looks like his love of guns is what has cost him his life.....ironic since he got killed by a gun that wasn't his.

Edited by JimandChristy

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His love of guns cost him his life but it wasn't his gun?

I love liberal logic.

I suspect the lot of you wouldnt jeer and make sarcastic comments if a police officer or a soldier got shot would you?

We all know what kind of people enjoy seeing people who don't agree with them politically get killed

Edited by himher

 

i don't get it.

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Well you know for a razor sharp fact that a gun didnt leap out of his cabinet and fire at him so a person must have killed him huh? Since you seem to have made that magic leap of logic that people kill people I guess we can close the case huh

At least we know he wasn't killed by a gun since we now know guns don't kill people.

Edited by himher

 

i don't get it.

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His love of guns cost him his life but it wasn't his gun?

I love liberal logic.

I suspect the lot of you wouldnt jeer and make sarcastic comments if a police officer or a soldier got shot would you?

We all know what kind of people enjoy seeing people who don't agree with them politically get killed

The jeering and sarcasm is not really directed at him. It is at the type of person that is always defending guns and gun ownership, the more the better type of 'mentality'! You would not be that type I am sure! :rolleyes:

And no, none of us enjoy seeing people get killed! If we did maybe we would be more fascinated with GUNS!

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I know this and stated it earlier - perhaps you missed it.

It is at the murder of the type of person that doesn't agree with your political views.

Thanks for admitting the jeering and sarcasm. It might have just been my imagination but there you go to confirm it.

The jeering and sarcasm is not really directed at him. It is at the type of person that is always defending guns and gun ownership, the more the better type of 'mentality'! You would not be that type I am sure! :rolleyes:

And no, none of us enjoy seeing people get killed! If we did maybe we would be more fascinated with GUNS!

Edited by himher

 

i don't get it.

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