A 16-year-old suspect in the killing of a paedophile hunter in Michigan has been charged for a separate shooting that occurred around 10 days before.
Robert Wayne Lee, 40, the vigilante child predator hunter, better known as “Boopac Shakur,” was shot and killed at around 10.30pm on 29 September at the Universal Coney Island restaurant in Pontiac, Michigan.
A 16-year-old suspect is believed to be the shooter and was with another person, an 18-year-old, when the incident occurred.
It was widely reported that Mr Lee was killed during one of his predator hunts, but the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office has since released a statement saying that there is no evidence that the confrontation between Mr Lee and the suspected shooter had anything to do with “a planned meeting” or a “sting operation.”
Mr Lee would often pose as a 15-year-old girl on social media to expose alleged predators and would sometimes bring the collected information to law enforcement.
The same 16-year-old allegedly involved in the attack of the paedophile hunter has now been charged with a different shooting on 20 September, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement on Tuesday.
The teenager has been charged with assault with intent to murder after he was allegedly involved in a shooting outside a grocery store in Pontiac.
“Public safety is my top priority. These are very serious charges, and we continue to work with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office as part of their ongoing investigation” stated Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald.
Surveillance footage from the store captured a fight between two men in the parking lot of the store.
The situation escalated when a third person, thought to be the 16-year-old, got out of a vehicle and proceeded to shoot at one of the two men caught up in the brawl.
It is unclear if the person who was shot at sustained any injuries.
The parking lot shooting was not reported straight away, but information about the incident was eventually relayed to the police by the mother of the individual who was shot.
She reported “suspicious activity” she thought could be related to the earlier shooting and “potential gang activity,” the statement said.
There is currently no motive for the 20 September incident and it is too early in the investigation to say if this shooting and the other that killed Mr Lee are related in any way, the prosecutor’s office explained.
The restaurant where Mr Lee was shot and killed is located near the same intersection – Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard and Perry Street – where the 20 September took place.
It is also thought by authorities that the 18-year-old present at the shooting of Mr Lee was also at the 20 September shooting.
The investigation into Mr Lee’s death is still in progress.
After Mr Lee was shot, he was rushed to hospital where he died from his injuries.
The suspects fled the scene but were later tracked down and arrested.
“There were 2 people at the table, 1 he was mostly focused on and talking to and became heated with was not the individual who shot him - it was the other person on the opposite side of the table,” said Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard in a statement.
Police acknowledged that while the information he gathered on suspected paedophiles led to arrests, sometimes his methods would restrict the law enforcement’s ability to conduct a proper investigation, resulting in some suspects not being charged.
His attempt to expose child predators has also led to him mistakenly identifying someone as a paedophile who was not, according to Mr Bouchard.
“Mr Lee’s conduct has never been sanctioned or encouraged by law enforcement or the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office. While identifying potential sex offenders is commendable, we were concerned that such confrontations would result in violence or injury,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
The 16-year-old will be tried as an adult, but if convicted the judge will decide whether to sentence him as a juvenile or not.
An option of a “blended sentence” can also be chosen to incorporate both “juvenile rehabilitation and adult punishment.”