Behind the investigation. Tracking down the Twitter beef between Geno Hall and his alleged shooter.
FOX 11 INVESTIGATES' news team had been working for months digging into a burglary and robbery rings around the University of Southern California. These so-called "flocking crews" had been devastating the USC community.
Halloween night, news broke that four men had been gunned down outside an on-campus party at USC. At first, we assumed it was a flocking robbery gone bad -- like the murder of the two Chinese graduate students months earlier.
But we were wrong.
Sources at the scene said this was personal. They said Geno Hall, the primary shooting victim, knew this guy. It was personal, they said.
Hall is a high school football star, L.A. City Player of the Year in 2009. He is almost legendary at Crenshaw High. It isn't hard finding people who know him.
So we checked his social media for contacts. The Twitter chatter was still online – no longer.
Police sources and documents confirmed much of what we found. Hall admitted to police he had a Twitter beef with Brandon Spencer, known as FreeBleep2.
Now, Brandon Spencer may be completely innocent of criminal wrongdoing. He's pleaded not guilty. His war of words with Hall might be nothing more than that. The courts will make that call.
But judging by the huge volume of videos posted online, several of which we confirmed as true, Twitter wars are a growing and dangerous trend.
When you talk trash on Twitter, you have no idea what might push the other person over the edge.
And this wasn't our first story about a Twitter beef blowing up. Early last year we reported a story called Cyber Gangs. One man videotaped himself tracking down his Twitter rival, beating him silly and posting the whole thing on YouTube.
One of the men later ended up dead.
So take this as a cautionary tale. All some people have is their reputation. Their "name," as Christopher Dorner put it.
As one expert told us: Tweet an insult to the wrong person and you risk all that you are … and everything you might become.