A Michigan man who used social media to attempt to catch pedophiles was fatally shot during a dispute with a person he accused of being a predator over the weekend, police say.
Robert Wayne Lee, 40, boasted a combined following of over 60,000 on Instagram and Facebook, where he was known as “Boopac Shakur.” He’d pose as a 15-year-old girl to lure potential predators and get them arrested — a tactic officials considered dangerous, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office said.
Lee was in a restaurant in Pontiac Friday evening around 10:30 p.m. when he confronted two individuals at a table. The sheriff’s office said Lee had accused one of the individuals, an 18-year-old male, of being a pedophile. No further comment was shared on the veracity of his allegation.
The confrontation “rapidly escalated,” and one of the suspects fired a pistol, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
Lee was taken to a hospital where he died from his injuries, officials said.
Two suspects were arrested Saturday afternoon in connection with Lee’s shooting. The suspected shooter, 17, and second individual, 18, are both believed to be from Pontiac, the sheriff’s office said.
The case remains under investigation. The sheriff’s office said it expected to turn the case over to prosecutors for charges Sunday or Monday.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said in a statement that Lee led a “one-man crusade” that had ” led to the arrest and criminal charges being filed against several men.” However, Lee “has also mistakenly identified someone as a sexual predator who was not.”
“While we certainly understand his desire to hold child predators accountable, many times well-intentioned individuals who engaged in this don’t know the standard of evidence required for convictions and often underestimate the potential for violence confronting a suspected predator,” Bouchard said.
He noted that suspected predators at times “feel trapped and often lash out violently.”
“When we have arrested predators in such circumstances, they have rammed police cars and exhibited other violent behavior in attempts to escape,” Bouchard noted.