An Uber driver was livestreaming Pokémon Go this weekend when he said that he saw someone push a dead body out of car. Now the driver has reportedly been fired from Uber and a member of the local police believes it’s a hoax. And it only gets weirder from there.
AlexRamiGaming, a small-time Youtuber, was streaming the game in Beaumont, Texas on July 9th when he suddenly starts yelling: “Oh my god I just witnessed a fuckin’ murder.” He then apparently calls 911 all while still streaming live to Youtube and says he’s being followed by the same black Chevy Silverado that apparently dumped the body in front of the Trinity United Methodist Church, also in Beaumont.
Granted, a dead body in Beaumont is not unlikely—the city of 117,000 has one of the highest murder rates in all of Texas. But in a phone call with Gizmodo, Sargent Cody Guedry of the Beaumont Police Department said no body was found at that location and he believes Ramirez’s call was a hoax. Guedry said while he appreciates that the game is getting people to be more active, Pokémon Go is, “something we’re going to have issues with.”
Since witnessing the alleged crime, Ramirez’s subscriber count has skyrocketed from around 4,000 to over 92,000. He claims to have been fired by Uber after the company learned he had been streaming between picking up passengers. In an update video, Ramirez says that people sent “emails and messages” that caused him to lose his job. His phone screen shows the message Your partner account has not been activated when he tries to log into the Uber app. He says, “This is the only way I support my family and you guys fucked with that.”
As a result, YouTube gossip channel DramaAlert reported his firing and set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for Ramirez (DramaAlert’s audience of 1.4 million subscribers almost certainly has played a pivotal role in Ramirez’s newfound popularity). The GoFundMe is over halfway to its $10,000 goal in a mere 19 hours.
With Pokémon Go becoming the current hot topic, and reports of game-related crimes becoming instantly newsworthy, is it possible Ramirez tried to fake a murder in order to kickstart his career as a streamer? Maybe. Ramirez sounds sincere in both the video of the alleged crime and his update explaining his firing, so it’s equally likely that perhaps Ramirez saw something strange and believed it was a dead body, but it simply isn’t backed up by evidence.
We’ve reached out to Ramirez for clarification on this story and have not heard back.
Update July 11, 4:58pm: Uber confirmed that someone by the name Alex Ramirez did drive for them, but has not been terminated. However, his account was suspended over the weekend after complaints that he had been driving while playing Pokémon Go. Uber were unable to reach Ramirez until late last night. Whether or not he will be permanently suspended has yet to be determined.
YouTube news channel Scarce (which recently surpassed DramaAlert in audience numbers) also reported the story as true to its 2.2 million subscribers.
Another channel, BiblicalReaper, also thought to call the Beaumont Police Department. His call yielded similar results to Gizmodo’s, with the officer telling him, “that was fake, it wasn’t real.”
Alex Ramirez’s channel has now surpassed 110,000 subscribers, enough to get one of YouTube’s prestigious silver play button awards.
Update July 11, 10:03pm: Both Scarce and DramaAlert have posted videos reflecting that Ramirez’s story is potentially a hoax. The GoFundMe page set up for Ramirez has since been shut down, though its unclear why or what happened to the $5,000+ that had been raised. We’ve reached out to GoFundMe for details and will update if we hear back.
Ramirez appears to have taken down the original video of the alleged 911 call, but a rip of the relevant portion is available here.
Update July 11, 10:31pm: Bobby Whithorn, on behalf of GoFundMe, released the following statement: “The funds were not withdrawn from the campaign. We are in communication with the donors and all refunds will be granted upon request.”