A man known for entrapping alleged sexual predators by posing online as a 15-year-old girl was killed over the weekend in a confrontation with a man he accused of being a predator.
Robert Wayne Lee, 40, known as “Boopac Shakur” on social media, was shot and killed by one of two teenagers he confronted at about 10:30 p.m. on Friday, police said.
Lee confronted two teenagers, ages 17 and 18, at a restaurant in Pontiac, Michigan, just north of Detroit. He accused one of the teens of being a pedophile and punched him, according to a news release from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.
The teen who was punched pulled out a knife, and the other teen, suspected to be the younger one, pulled out a pistol and shot Lee multiple times, police said.
Lee was transported to the hospital where he died of his injuries.
The teens fled but were arrested on Saturday, police said.
The case has been turned over to the prosecutor’s office, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office told USA Today.
A GoFundMe says Lee’s daughter, Ah’vyana, survives him and calls him a “true hometown hero” who “successfully exposed” 132 predators. The fundraiser has already raised more than $10,000 as of Tuesday, and the money will be used for his funeral expenses and Ah’vyana, “providing her with the opportunities and education that Robert dreamt of for her,” according to the fundraiser.
“Robert dedicated his life to protecting the innocence of our children from those with malicious intentions,” the GoFundMe says.
Police said that Lee’s “one-man crusade has led to the arrest and criminal charges being filed against several men” but that “he 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,” Sheriff Michael Bouchard said.
The sheriff added that confronting a suspected sexual predator has “the potential for violence.”
“They feel trapped and often lash out violently,” he said.
Lee’s videos have led to at least four arrests, sheriff’s officials told The Oakland Press earlier this year.
One of those arrests was of a 33-year-old sheriff’s deputy working in the county jail who was charged with one felony count of accosting a child for immoral purposes. He was fired after allegedly trying to solicit who he thought was a 15-year-old girl but was actually Lee posing as a child.
Other social media personalities have followed a similar method as Lee’s for catching alleged child predators, often posting videos of the harrowing confrontations on YouTube.
Police have frequently discouraged the “vigilante” groups.
Meanwhile, reports of online child predators are on the rise.
In 2020, there were 37,872 reports of online enticement made to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s CyberTipline, according to an analysis of the data. That’s up nearly 98% from 19,174 reports in 2019.