A jury on Thursday found a food delivery driver not guilty of aggravated malicious wounding of a YouTuber in a DC suburban mall’s food court.
On April 2, 2023, while Alan Colie was picking up food in Dulles Town Center in Sterling, Virginia, for his DoorDash job, a group of twenty-somethings, led by YouTube “prankster” Tanner Cook of the “Classified Goons” YouTube Channel, approached him.
Mr. Cook, 21, took out his phone and stuck it inches from Mr. Colie’s, 31, face, and the phone started broadcasting the phrase “Hey dips—, quit thinking about my twinkle.” Colie asked Cook to stop, but Colie refused. Mr. Colie tried to retreat, but the group followed him and continued getting into the man’s face. Colie once again told the group to stop and tried to flee the scene, but the group stepped in front of him and stuffed the phone into his face.
Colie claims he was becoming fearful and once again tried to leave, but the group prevented him from leaving. Cook stuck the phone back into Colie’s face. Mr. Colie pushed Cook’s phone away and, for a third time, told the group to stop and leave him alone.
The group again followed Colie and cut off his retreat. According to the delivery driver, he was in fear of mortal harm. Instead of Colie trying to retreat this time, the licensed concealed carrier pulled his firearm and fired one shot, hitting Cook in the abdomen. The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Department (LCSO) found Cook outside the mall and treated his injuries. Loudoun County Fire Rescue (LCFR) transported Cook to the hospital, where surgeons rushed him into surgery to remove the bullet.
The County Sheriff’s Office found Colie in the food court and placed him in custody. The man had placed the gun on the floor and laid face first. The man didn’t attempt to flee the scene or resist arrest. The LCSO spent the rest of the day searching the mall. This reporter, who lives in the area, was the first to report the happenings on X, formerly Twitter, after receiving the play-by-play from someone at the mall.
Shooting at Dulles Town Center. One shooter down. Second one still in the mall. Cops following trail of blood
— John Crump (@crumpyss) April 2, 2023
Colie was charged with aggravated malicious wounding, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and, discharging a firearm within a building. Colie would plead not guilty to all the charges because he claimed that he feared for his life. He would be held without bond until his trial.
Cook is known to police and the surrounding community for his “pranks” that many consider harassment. He has told women that someone was following them and then had a friend stalk them through a parking lot late at night. In another incident, Cook pretended to throw up on an Uber driver.
In her bid to convince the jury that Colie wasn’t attacking in self-defense, Prosecutor Eden Holmes tried to downplay the seriousness of Cook’s actions. A person can only be found guilty of aggravated malicious wounding if there was no provocation by the wounded that reasonably arouses fear or anger.
“They were playing a silly phrase on a phone,” Holmes said in her closing statement. “How could the defendant have found that he was reasonably in fear of imminent bodily harm?”
The jury got to view the video of the incident and then deliberated for three hours before sending a note to the judge saying they were divided on whether Colie acted in self-defense. The judge urged the jurors to keep deliberating.
After two more hours, the jury returned a not-guilty verdict on the counts of aggravated malicious wounding and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. The jury would find Colie guilty of discharging a gun inside a building, a class six felony.
His attorney, Adam Pouilliard, said the conviction of discharging a gun inside a building is inconsistent with the law because of the acquittal on self-defense grounds. He asked the judge to set aside the guilty verdict. The judge said she would hear arguments on the motion next month and then decide. Until then, Colie will remain in custody.
For his part, Cook is still making YouTube “prank” videos and has no plans to stop.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist; he has written about firearms and interviewed people of all walks of life. Mr. Crump lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.