Prentis Robinson was broadcasting as usual Monday as he walked around the town. He talked about how his cell phone had been stolen and stopped by the police station to talk to Wingate Police Chief Donnie Gay.
“Bring his phone back so he can get on with his way today,” Gay said in front of Robinson’s camera, according to video, part of which was posted by the Charlotte Observer. Robinson left the police department and continued recording.
Soon after that, he was confronted by a man holding a long, black object. Robinson told the man he was on Facebook Live. Then gunshots rang out. Robinson’s camera fell to the ground, showing treetops and the sky as the shooter fled.
Robinson, 55, was found laying down with several gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene.
A car could be seen in his video pulling over at the edge of the screen after someone in the car had apparently spotted Robinson on the ground.
According to WSOC-TV, police said the suspect they were searching for had turned himself in, and they identified him as Douglas Cleveland Colson. He has been charged with first-degree murder.
Colson was on the run all day Monday, but police said he turned himself in Tuesday morning.
Gay was shaken by the shooting, noting that it happened moments after Robinson left the police station.
“I’d just spoke to him, it was, I just … it’s hard to say anything about that. I just got through talking to him,” Gay told WSOC-TV.
Gay said he always worried that Robinson would be beat up, or worse, because of his penchant for recording suspected drug dealers, according to a tweet from Fox 46 Charlotte reporter David Sentendrey.
WSOC-TV spoke to Charles Baker, a man who knew Robinson for more than 30 years. He couldn’t believe that someone could just shoot and kill his friend.
“That just unreal. For somebody to have that kind of heart to just walk out in the open like that and kill a man, that’s just, it’s nonsense,” Baker said.
The fatal shooting caused a lockdown at Wingate University, which is less than a mile from the scene, and also at Wingate Elementary School.
Wingate University tweeted that police said the suspect was armed with a long gun.
The exact motive for the shooting remains unknown.