Matthew Thane Flower Mound, Texas man shot dead by un-named Pleasanton, California man who drove 1700 miles to his house before returning to shoot self dead. Online gaming dispute thought to be catalyst.
A 23-year-old man is alleged to have driven 1,700 miles from his Pleasanton, California home to Texas to kill an 18-year-old teen male before driving home and shooting himself dead as cops closed in on him. The purported murder suicide is thought to be as a result of an online gaming dispute between the two men.
Matthew ‘JPN’ Thane, 18, was shot and killed just before 6am outside him home by a man wearing a helmet and jeans, the Flower Mound Police Department in Texas said.
An unnamed Bay Area police official told The Mercury News that the suspect set a propane tank on fire outside Thane’s house to lure him outside to his death.
Detectives were led to an ‘acquaintance’ of Thanes, whom he had met through online gaming.
A search through his cellphone data revealed that the man – who has not yet been named by police – traveled from his home in Pleasanton, California, to Flower Mound, Texas, and then back home, all within 72 hours.
Call of Duty Gamer fondly remembered by gaming community
At around 11pm on Wednesday, police arrived at the 23-year-old suspect’s home on Huntswood Home in Pleasanton to execute a search warrant, leading to a standoff.
As SWAT officers were trying to get the man to come out, he reportedly shot himself dead.
According to police, a subsequent search of his home uncovered evidence connecting him to Thane’s killing.
The suspect’s identity and official cause of death is pending the Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau release, which could take up to several days.
Meanwhile, a GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help Thane’s family with his funeral expenses.
The description of the fundraiser said that ‘Matthew never failed to put a smile on someone’s face and brighten their day. He was such an unique character, one of a kind. Let’s come together and support his family in this time of need.’
As of Friday night, $18,482 of a $20,000 goal had been raised.
According to social media posts from those who knew him, Thane was known in the online gaming community as ‘JPN’ or ‘Japan,’ and played the Call of Duty game.
‘RIP Matthew Thane. nothing but love and thoughts and prayers to this family who were such amazing neighbors and friends to me growing up,’ one tweet read. ‘This is an unbelievable tragedy.’
Posted another, ‘JPN Thane was like a little brother to me and many others in the community.’
Thane is survived by his parents and two sisters.