Online feud costs the life of 6-year-old Miami boy
On February 20th, in a parking lot in Miami-Dade County, FL, Irwin Pressley, 17, and Leonard Adams, 18, and Tamar Teems, 16, waited to confront a man called ‘Ju Ju’ after engaging in aggressive online threats. After spotting him in a stairwell, the two young men opened fire, catching 6-year-old King Carter in the crossfire. The incident follows a string of violent firearm violence following threats via social media, namely platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Carter’s untimely death has resulted in mass protests and outcry nationwide, as individuals try to grapple with escalating gun violence and the increasingly complex intersection of online life and youth violence.
Dr. Desmond Patton, PhD of S.A.F.E. Lab speculates that teenagers have increasing difficulty distinguishing between virtual and real lives and conflicts. As we at S.A.F.E. Lab continue to observe the patterns that online conflicts and threats (or ‘internetbanging’) take, the need for substantive interventions continues to grow. Pressley and Adams both confessed to involvement and have both been detained and charged with second-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. Teems was picked up by police Thursday afternoon.
For more information on the nature of online threats, you can view a PDF of S.A.F.E. Lab’s recent paper here.