Suspect arrested in killing of North Carolina man on Facebook Live

(Reuters) - Police in North Carolina on Tuesday arrested a man suspected of fatally shooting a 55-year-old man who had just informed him that they were on Facebook Live video, according to officials and media reports.

Prentis Robinson, 55, was shot on Monday just blocks from the Wingate police headquarters, where he had reported a stolen cell phone minutes before, Charlotte’s WSOC TV reported, citing officials with Union County Emergency Medical Services.

“The Wingate Police Department in conjunction with the State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) and the Union County Sheriff’s Office worked a death investigation until they had a suspect, this morning they made an arrest and he is in custody,” police said in a statement on Facebook.

Citing police, Charlotte’s WBTV reported that the suspect, Douglas Colson, 65, surrendered on Tuesday after a warrant for first-degree murder was issued. He had been questioned on Monday but not arrested, the station said.

Representatives from the Wingate Police Department and the Union County Emergency Medical Services did not respond to requests for comment. Wingate is about 30 miles (48 km) southeast of Charlotte.

Facebook has since removed the Live footage. In a portion of the post on the Charlotte Observer website, Robinson is seen walking down a street in a neighborhood with a cell phone attached to a selfie stick, or a monopod device used to take photos or videos.

He talks to viewers and then says “you on Live” four times to someone off-camera who comes into view briefly. The person then appears to shoot four times at Robinson until he falls to the ground. The downed camera shows a figure dashing over it.

Robinson and Colson had apparently known each other for decades. In a profanity-laced post on Robinson’s Facebook page, he said that as a teenager he had dated the woman who Colson later married and accused him of selling drugs.

“You gonna burn in hell. You burn so bad, inside your skin is turning darker every year,” Robinson said.

Reporter David Sentendrey with Charlotte’s Fox 46 television said Robinson had long identified suspected drug dealers in Facebook Live streams.

Facebook said in a statement that it removed the video of Monday’s shooting because it had no way of knowing whether the victim would have wanted it to be broadcast on social media.

The shooting caused a lockdown at nearby Wingate University.

Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York and Ian Simpson in Washingon; Editing by David Gregorio and Susan Thomas