Last week, someone climbed on top of an occupied New York City bus and started firing a powerful flamethrower into the air.
No one was hurt during the stunt, which NBC reports is currently under police investigation. Investigations began after drone footage of the event surfaced online — and now it seems like the bizarre pyrotechnics are illustrating the convergence point of robotic surveillance, advanced weapons, and aggressive social media stunts.
NYC OUT OF CONTROL: Man with a FLAMETHROWER stands on top of a Bus and fires away at the public. @NYCMayor @NYPDnews
(Video via @whatisny)
— NYC Scanner (@NYScanner) November 17, 2020
Everything’s A Stunt
Officials say that the flamethrower guy was part of a staged stunt, perhaps for a music video. A crowd can be seen gathering around and watching — rather than fleeing for their lives — from the gentleman waving a flamethrower in front of them.
Spectators were invited in advance, NBC reports, and free ice cream and t-shirts were being distributed. But city officials say they never authorized the event, and it seems the bus passengers weren’t in on the joke.
The social media videos are connected to the artist Dupree G.O.D., who’s now wanted by police over the stunt. Flamethrowers are still technically legal in New York, but presumably jumping on a bus while firing one isn’t.
“We don’t even need to say how absurd, dangerous and just plain stupid this was,” Metropolitan Transportation Authority Communications Director Tim Minton told NBC. “The reckless individual who torched over the top of an occupied city bus put New Yorkers, including the bus operator, in life-threatening peril.”
READ MORE: NYPD Investigating After Man Seen Shooting Flamethrower Into the Air on Roof of MTA Bus [NBC]
More on flamethrowers: Get Ready: “Flamethrower Drones” Are About To Go on Sale