Killed over Concords: The Internet Murder of Tyreek Amir Jacobs

The release of Nike's new Air Jordan basketball shoes caused a frenzy at stores across the nation. Police pepper sprayed some rowdy customers near Seattle and officers arrested some shoppers near Atlanta after a crowd broke down a store's door. (Dec.


The man who says his photo was used as part of the hoax lives in London,


The disbelief over unruly


turned to mourning when it was reported on social media and blogs that a young man, 18-year-old Tyreek Amir Jacobs, had been killed for the coveted shoes.

As the rumors put it, Jacobs was a teen from Washington DC and killed in Maryland, possibly at the Wheaton Mall. A photo of him was passed around, inscribed with his date of birth and date of death. But calls to police revealed there had been no killings under such circumstances in the DC, Maryland and Virginia area.

"Nothing like that has happened here, and I hope we would know," said one

Montgomery County

police official. While

reported on disturbances around the area, none ended fatally. Still, as of this writing, some 12,000 people were participating in no less than eight


groups about Jacobs' killing. Darren Rovell, a sports business reporter for




, albeit with the caveat that it was not confirmed.

The photo appears to have been lifted from the

, posted in October 2010. Lee Daniels, communications director for the legal defense fund, says his web site administrators started noticing a bump in traffic this morning and learned of the killed-for-his-Jordans rumors. Though he knew it was a stock photo, he initially wondered if the boy in the image had indeed been killed.

"The blog post exploded this morning, and we were immediately suspicious about the story," Daniels said. "It appears to be just another Internet phenomenon."

A little web sleuthing by The Sun's Steve Earley revealed you, too,

, which according to its description is not a DC high schooler but actually a "college student working in a labratory." It's not clear how long it's been available online, and the phone number for the Idaho-based photographer listed as having taken it was disconnected, indicating it could be quite old. (UPDATE: I misinterpreted the phone number, which appears to in fact be UK-based, according to

the Washington Post's


So who started the Facebook page? The first person to post on the "

RIP Tyreek AMIR Jacobs Got Killed For Jordan Concords", 

at 1:04 a.m., a teen from Potomac Falls High School, sent me a message saying it wasn't him. "I saw it on my timeline," he said. "We'll see if its real," he said, offering a link to a blog that just regurgitated the rumor.

Whoever the creator of the page is, they're sticking to their guns:

"I don't care if yall think this fake or not, STOP disrespecting my step brother by commenting with unnecessary wall post if you got nothing nice to say please dont say nothing at all RIP TEEK TEEK IMA MISS U BRO LOVE U 4 LIFE!"