A Michigan man who used social media to try to catch pedophiles was fatally shot during a dispute with a person he accused of being a predator over the weekend, police say.
Robert Wayne Lee, 40, boasted a combined following of over 60,000 on Instagram and Facebook, where he was known as “Boopac Shakur.” He would pose as a 15-year-old girl to lure potential predators and get them arrested — a tactic officials considered dangerous, the Oakland County Sheriff's Office said.
Lee was in a restaurant in Pontiac around 10:30 p.m. Friday when he confronted two people at a table. The sheriff’s office said Lee had accused one of the people, an 18-year-old man, of being a pedophile. No further comment was shared about the veracity of his allegation.
The confrontation "rapidly escalated," and one of the people fired a pistol, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.
Lee was taken to a hospital, where he died from his injuries, officials said.
Two people were arrested Saturday afternoon in connection with the shooting. The shooting suspect, 17, and a second person, 18, are believed to be from Pontiac, the sheriff’s office said.
The case remains under investigation. The sheriff's office said it expected to turn the case over to prosecutors for charges Sunday or Monday.
Sheriff Michael Bouchard said in a statement that Lee led a "one-man crusade" that had "led to the arrest and criminal charges being filed against several men." However, 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,” Bouchard said.
He said suspected predators at times "feel trapped and often lash out violently."
"When we have arrested predators in such circumstances, they have rammed police cars and exhibited other violent behavior in attempts to escape,” Bouchard said.
An online fundraiser to support Lee's family claims his work led to the exposure of 132 predators.
The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office said it couldn’t confirm that claim and it is “unclear” how many cases he may have had some involvement in.
One case the sheriff’s office said Lee was involved in was the firing of deputy Jared Salisbury last year.
Salisbury worked at the Oakland County Jail and was fired after trying to meet up with a 15-year-old girl for sex, NBC affiliate WDIV of Detroit reported. He was charged with accosting a child for immoral purposes. His pretrial conference is set for Oct. 23.