Mysterious execution shuts down YouTube’s third biggest channel

FPS Russia is a huge YouTube channel. It has over 3.5 million subscribers and has generated more than 500,000,000 video views. Gawker says it is the site’s third most popular channel.

Sadly, 32-year old Keith Ratliff, a producer on the American show, was found dead at the start of the year. He had been killed by a single bullet to the back of the head. It looks like an execution. Police have ruled out a burglary gone wrong since nothing was taken from the scene.

In addition to being a producer on the show, Ratliff was the man who held the Type 10 Federal Firearms License, he got the weapons. This is the license that allowed Kyle Lamar Myers, in his on screen persona of Dmitri Potapoff, to legally demonstrate the incredibly broad range of guns and weapons that FPS Russia was synonymous with.

Gaming blog Kotaku notes;

In other words, it gave him a license to be an arms dealer.

Gaming blogs paid close attention to the YouTube channel as gamers liked to see the real versions of the weapons used in games. FPS Russia had promoted games like Black Ops 2 and Far Cry 3 in marketing deals in the past. It was a strong site for some branded content efforts.

The murder remains unsolved but conspiracy theories run wild. Vice reports on gun forums suggesting that anti-gun campaigners targeted FPS Russia for their pro-gun stance.

Other theories suggest that Ratliff was buying guns from an “importer” with a Type 11 license. It boggles the mind to imagine that FPS Russia was the front for arms dealing but that’s what this theory suggests.

FPS Russia has not posted a video since the murder.

Andrew Girdwood is a blogger, gamer and Media Innovations Director at LBi.