Man Shot, Killed in Argument over Tweet

Online flirtation can have violent consequences: over the weekend a Texas man was shot and killed during an argument about a tweet the assailant had left for another man’s girlfriend.

According to police in Tyler, Texas, 23-year-old Chris Mass of Chapel Hill TX, a former star high school athlete and junior at Stephen F. Austin State University, was shot and killed Saturday morning in the parking lot of the J.C. Penney’s at the local Broadway Square Mall. Police arrested 25-year-old Ricky Neal Jr., of Henderson, TX, at the scene; Neal, who shot at another individual but missed, has subsequently been charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

As the investigation unfolded it turned out that the assailant, Neal, had sent a flirtatious tweet to another man’s girlfriend on Twitter. When that man encountered Neal in the mall, an argument ensued and both men agreed to take the dispute outside to the the mall parking lot, accompanied by Mass and one other man. Instead of a fistfight, Neal then produced a gun. Mass was shot for trying to “keep the fight fair,” according to the Tyler Morning Telegraph, which quoted eyewitness Charalan Mosley: “It all happened over a tweet and Twitter, all that stuff.”

Although Neal initially claimed the shooting was in self-defense, police quickly dismissed the claim, as neither Mass nor his friend were carrying weapons. Neal’s bail has been set at $1.25 million. Police also arrested Desmond Javon Black, a relative of the slain man, for interfering with police and marijuana possession; Black had tried to enter the crime scene to see the body.

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2 comments about "Man Shot, Killed in Argument over Tweet ".
  1. Ric Dragon from DragonSearch , February 11, 2013 at 5:32 p.m.
    I may have to quote this in my next book: “It all happened over a tweet and Twitter, all that stuff.”
  2. Hunter Madsen from ChoozOn Corporation , February 11, 2013 at 7:07 p.m.
    I recognize that it's the role of this blog to hunt down titillating stories of this sort, in order to illustrate that social exchanges online can have real-world consequences, consequences sometimes lurid and thrilling. Even so, it's interesting that we consider this news for the Social Graf column. Is this because we find lovers' triangle stories irresistible and are using the pretext that Twitter was involved to retell this one? Or does the role of Twitter add a genuinely new twist to an old tale? I suspect the former motive. Jealous men have gone to weapons since the beginning of time over overtures or slights to their girlfriends, and it makes little practical difference whether the provocation is spoken or written, online or offline, in one medium or another. What matters is that something got said, that someone took offense, and that others heard it too, causing a perceived loss of public face that triggers a confrontation. Same as it ever was. It's us geeks, determined to validate, over and over, the relevance of social media that everyone accepted years ago, who feel that this sad story warrants this showcase.