As the investigation continues into the Dulles Town Center shooting that left a prank YouTuber critically injured, a Herndon woman questions if more could have been done to prevent the incident.
Natalie Lomax said she and her sister experienced one of Tanner Cook’s pranks in Loudoun County about three weeks before the shooting. However, Lomax says she prefers to describe them more as harassment.
Despite his injuries, Cook told WUSA9 he plans to continue making videos because it is his passion.
“It’s incredibly upsetting,” said Lomax. “It makes me angry and makes me worried for my community.”
On March 9, Lomax and her sister were shopping at a Target in Sterling when a man dressed up in a security shirt warned them about a stalker.
“We were approached by a man who was wearing a security shirt and told us there was a known stalker in the Target who he noticed had been following us,” recalled Lomax. “This man said he looked gothic and was wearing dark eyeliner and lipstick. We look over and we see the gothic gentleman standing there and staring at us.”
Lomax said the man in the security shirt walked them out to the check-out line even though the man dressed up in dark clothing kept following them until they left the store. Lomax reported the incident to Target the next day and contacted the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office.
She claims it was Cook who was pretending to be security. Her experience was never posted on the channel. Other videos show Cook wearing a security shirt while inside a Target playing pranks.
While Lomax does not believe a shooting was justified, she believes his pranks are provoking and taunting.
“What’s the intention behind what he’s doing?” asked Lomax. “The intention in my opinion is he’s trying to instill fear. It worked. We were left very fearful and traumatized by his actions.”
An LCSO spokesperson said the department had prior contacts with Cook in the community before the shooting. It is unclear exactly how many complaints have been filed against him.
Cook is behind the YouTube channel Classified Goons, currently with more than 41,000 subscribers. His father Jeramy Cook says it is his way of making a profit.
Videos on the channel show him pretending to be a security guard, attempting to steal beds, swiping groceries, and pretending to vomit on an Uber driver. In some cases, some of the subjects have a strong and visceral reaction to the ongoing prank.
Cook was shot in the stomach while attempting a prank on 31-year-old Alan Colie, according to a Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office detective. Colie’s defense said he was harassed, accosted, and followed despite telling Cook to leave him alone.
The Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office says it is looking into potential charges depending on how the investigation unfolds.
Lomax claims no one ever followed up with her about the initial incident report. It is unclear how long Cook has been in Virginia. His father says he came from Nevada.
“This incident was three weeks prior,” added Lomax. “Had he been approached and held accountable, maybe his lesson would have been learned.”
LCSO said it responded to the incident. No enforcement action was taken because there was no report of criminal activity.
Although there were notes that did not indicate any pending follow-up, there is now a recommendation to respond to Lomax about her individual concerns.
Cook is recovering and has been removed from the ICU. A recent Instagram story from his account said he is doing better.