Teenage TikTok Influencer Confronted by Armed Stalker at Family’s Florida Home
If you’re a parent to a teenager, you’ve probably heard your fair share about the likes of TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram. These social media platforms are particularly popular among teens, who use them to share photos and videos with friends or the public.
Connecting with school friends through video clips or heavily filtered photos seems innocent enough to most parents. For teens who have been quarantined or attending school remotely amidst the pandemic, it might even be the only social outlet they have.
Because of this, many parents have granted more access to these platforms than they would have otherwise. Unfortunately, however, teens on these platforms often share content publicly, so details of their lives are made available to everyone on the internet.
In July of 2021, one family came face-to-face with the consequences of their child’s social media popularity.
Ava Majury’s Sudden Rise to Fame
TikTok is a popular platform where contributors post lip-syncing videos and tackle trendy dance challenges. The platform requires users to be at least 13 years of age to create an account.
A young girl in Naples, Florida, downloaded the TikTok app during the lockdown phase of the pandemic in 2020. Ava Majury was 13 years old, and her parents gave her permission to use the app and produce video content of her own.
Ava delved into the TikTok community and began posting videos of herself dancing and lip-syncing. At first, it seemed like a great way to remain connected with real-life friends, while COVID-19 made it difficult for people to gather in person.
Ava’s videos began to attract a large base of followers from across the country, with more than half of them being male admirers. Shocked and excited by her social media popularity, Ava made an effort to connect with her fans and would frequently speak to them through the comments feature on video clips.
The family reports that TikTok soon became a massive part of her life, and she began to monetize her internet fame. As her videos continued to garner new viewers, Ava Majury noticed that one fan, in particular, was adamant about capturing her attention.
One Fan Became Desperate for Ava’s Attention
TikTok user EricJustin111 reached out to the budding teenage influencer through several means, including TikTok comments, Snapchat, and Instagram. The 18-year-old from Maryland even went as far as joining games that the teenager played online with her brothers.
Initially, Ava was friendly and spoke to the fan, later identified as Eric Rohan Justin. Over time, the 18-year-old’s obsession with Ava Majury’s videos and photos escalated. He offered to pay the rising starlet for selfies, which she accepted, thinking it would deescalate the situation.
Ultimately, however, Justin requested explicit content, and Ava and her parents blocked him from viewing future content. Ava’s father also directly responded to Justin’s requests for explicit photographs, informing him that she was an underage child and he should refrain from contacting her in the future.
While it seemed as if this would be the end of the situation, Justin continued to stalk Ava Majury. He went as far as offering her fellow classmates money in exchange for information regarding the TikTok personality.
Through these methods, he was able to gain access to Ava’s cell phone number, the location of her school, and her home address. After being made aware of the situation by classmates, Ava informed her parents.
Ava’s parents did not feel the threat was valid because the 18-year-old was located more than a thousand miles away. They also believed that he was an “internet troll” who would never act on threats made while hiding behind a keyboard.
Despite the threats, the Majury family embraced all of the new opportunities that Ava’s TikTok account opened up for her. With dreams of becoming a Hollywood actress, the chance to promote products and make a name for herself seemed to be exactly what Ava dreamed of.
However, one fateful day in July of 2021, Ava Majury came face to face with her stalker.
Threats Perceived as Internet Trolling Become Real
Eric Rohan Justin made his way from Maryland to Ava’s home in Naples, Florida. After a long journey, he stood in front of the Majury home and shot his gun at the door.
Directly behind the door was Ava’s bedroom, where she was sitting. Amidst the chaos of the gunshot and the hole formed in her door, she ran through a conjoined bathroom to seek safety in her sibling’s room. Her mother, Kim Majury, dialed 911 while her father, Rob Majury, retrieved his handgun.
A former police lieutenant, Rob Majury wasted no time confronting Justin. The 18-year-old teen stood adorned in a blue vest, protective goggles, and earplugs as he struggled to remedy his gun. Noting that it was jammed, Justin ran off, and Rob Majury stood guard at the door while waiting for the police to arrive.
Before the police could make it to the scene, Justin again appeared in the Majurys’ front yard with a loaded gun. Rob Majury directed the shooter to drop his weapon, but instead, Justin pointed it directly at Majury.
Instinctively, Rob Majury fired his weapon first. Justin was later pronounced dead. Police officers found two cell phones in Justin’s possession. These phones contained thousands of pictures and videos of the teenage TikTok influencer.
After the incident, the Majurys relocated and withdrew Ava from her public high school. While Ava’s siblings have struggled and blamed her involvement with social media for the attack, her parents remain supportive of her decision to continue posting content on TikTok and other social media platforms.
The family expressed that they believe it would be unfair to ask Ava to give up her budding career because of the attack. As for her father’s involvement, the case is ongoing, but Florida is a “stand-your-ground” state that permits the use of firearms to protect one’s home and family.
Although Ava Majury continues to act as a content producer on TikTok, the family is currently using the horrifying situation to spread awareness about the potential risks associated with internet fame.
Facts About Social Media’s Effects on Teens
Surveys show that as many as ninety percent of all teens between 13 and 17 have used social media platforms. Around 51% of these users report logging in and viewing content daily.
Even more shocking, teens are averaging around nine hours online each day — and this doesn’t include studying or homework-related activities. With social media making up such a large part of teens’ lives in today’s world, it is crucial to consider how it affects all aspects of their lives.
While not all cases will end up in extreme confrontations like Ava Majury’s story, there is no denying the damaging effects of social media on young, impressionable teens.
- Approximately 88% of teens report witnessing cyberbullying on social media platforms
- 55% of teens on social media have revealed personal information or photos to an unknown person online
- Around 50% of all sex crimes against minors consist of relationships that begin through social media platforms
- A staggering 67% of teens say that they know how to hide their online activities from their parents
- Of those who have active social media profiles, 29% of teens report that they have felt stalked or have been contacted by a stranger
- 43% of teens state that they would change their online activities if they knew their parents would see all of their activities
Victims of cyberbullying are also twice as likely to commit suicide as their non-bullied teen counterparts.
How to Keep Your Teen Safe Online
With most teenagers owning smartphones, parents need to monitor what their teens are doing online. Before they are given access to any device with internet access, parents should have a serious conversation with their teens about the potential dangers of the internet.
The most prominent topic of focus should be on keeping personal information private. Stress that details like their full name, address, phone number, or Social Security number should never be shared with anyone online.
Additionally, parents should address the fact that predators and scammers often pretend to be fellow teens quite convincingly. This is a common blind spot for many teens, and it can put them at serious risk.
When it comes to specific social media platforms, confirm that your teen’s accounts are set to private. This will ensure that their posts can only be viewed by those they have approved as “friends.” Let them know that they should never accept friend requests from strangers.
Even with their photos or posts set to private, information on social media is not safe from the eyes of others. Ensure that they do not post images that reveal their location, such as photos of them outside of their school or in sports uniforms.
A simple online search for a school or sports team can reveal a wide array of information about the teen’s specific location and can allow a predator to stalk or approach your teen at this location.
Although your teen may crave privacy or resist, parents should be free to look through their teen’s phones.
If this approach feels too invasive, consider installing a child safeguard on the phone that will alert you if certain trigger words are detected. This can warn you if your child is being cyberbullied, searching for inappropriate content, or chatting with someone outside their usual circle of friends. These apps can also set time limits for internet usage.
What to Do If Your Child Is Threatened
In the case of Ava Majury, threats were made long before the gunman arrived at the family’s home.
It is essential to take any threats or cyberbullying as seriously as possible when they are discovered. While the person making the threats may not intend to carry them out, it is better to err on the side of caution in these circumstances.
Report any concerning behaviors or threats to your local police department. Additionally, remind your teen not to give in to any demands that the person threatening them may make.
Oftentimes, predators will use tactics like demanding inappropriate photos, phone numbers, or addresses. For a teen, it can be tempting to give in to such requests because they believe it will end any harassment or stalking. This is rarely the case, and the situation will continue to escalate.
By educating your child about these scenarios, you can empower them to make the right choices and hand these situations over to adults.
Discuss the Realities of Internet Fame
Today, many teens report that they want to be social media influencers or YouTube stars when they grow up. The prevalence of children, teens, and adults on these platforms may make it seem like it is an easy feat.
Unfortunately, becoming an influencer or YouTube star is often not as luxurious as it seems. These roles require a lot of behind-the-scenes work, and most who set out to become popular fail to do so. Despite this, many overshare details of their lives in hopes of being one of the lucky few to strike internet fame and earn millions of dollars.
This dream of fame and fortune is one of the biggest reasons that teens like Ava Majury turn to creating content on platforms like TikTok. Addressing the realities of these situations and the potential dangers can help teach your teen about oversharing online while seeking internet fame.
Explore Resources for Help
If you are struggling with how to cope with matters like social media addiction or cyberbullying, it is important to understand that you are not alone. There are many resources to help and ensure that your teen and your family remain safe while enjoying the benefits of internet usage.