Authorities in Union County have issued an arrest warrant for Internet celebrity “Kai the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker” in the murder of Joseph Galfy, Jr. in Clark, New Jersey.
The suspect is identified as Caleb Lawrence McGillvary, a 34-year-old Internet celebrity and is well known on Facebook and YouTube.
According to the story he is also “considered to be armed and dangerous,” which is no doubt disconcerting to those in Fresno who have offered up their couches to him in the past. It’s also more than a bit ironic, considering the way in which he became famous.
Obviously, we’ll be hearing more on this and soon. In the meantime, there’s this photo, which is already getting a deluge of snarky comments.
So after “Kai as Hero” went viral, it turns out there’s another side to the story: Kai’s hatchet didn’t stop the attacker in the case. The Bee’s Marc Benjamin reports:
The driver struck down by Caleb “Kai” McGillivary’s hatchet was able to stand up and move toward the utility worker he had hit with his car, another Pacific Gas & Electric employee testified Friday … Worker Kenneth Simon testified Friday that he and his fellow workers did not know what Kai, the hatchet-wielding attacker of Jett McBride, was doing so they ordered him to leave. Simon said Kai took off running.
No wonder Rayshawn Neely, the injured PG&E worker, hasn’t been so impressed with the media circus surrounding Kai.
It will be interesting to see how KMPH handles this latest development. Sure, it’s still nice that Kai tried to stop the attacker. But Jessob Reisbeck, the KMPH reporter who so breathlessly introduced Kai to the world as a hero, is no longer sitting on such a tidy “laidback surfer dude saves the day” franchise. Drat, that added nuance doesn’t lend itself quite so nicely to over-the-top TV correspondent swagger.
And let’s at least acknowledge that the reason this story went viral is the few precious seconds of Kai miming his hatchet blow while saying “suh-mash, suh-mash, suh-mash.” That’s what gets hits on YouTube and bookings on national late-night talk shows. Kai, you’re a born performer. (But just imagine what a headache for a director.)
UPDATE: Bee photographer Eric Paul Zamora has posted a hil-lar-i-ous photo gallery of Kai in court. You kind of have to see it to believe it.
ORIGINAL POST: Yes, another Kai update. I promise I’m not going to be snide in any way, shape or form because I seem to have hurt KMPH’s Jessob Reisbeck’s feelings a little. (Sample tweets to me from Mr. Reisbeck: “hahaha jealousy is a brutally jagged pill, Mr. Munro. Keep up the good work. Whatever work that is that you do.” And this: ” I’ve asked people who you are… no one knows. You have 96 followers. Find out what makes a good news story & that may change.” (Obviously, folks, I need more Twitter followers to establish my presence in this town. After three weeks I still have shy of 100. Help! Follow me at @donaldbeearts!)
That settled, let’s get down to business. The Bee’s John Ellis (@johnellis24) has been in the courtroom this morning chronicling “Kai’s Excellent Adventure with the Criminal Justice System.”
Looks like prelim for Jett Simmons McBride is a go. And the now-famous #Kai the homeless guy just entered the courtroom.
I know, I know. I’d hoped to lose my Kai correspondent badge under the piles of stuff on my messy desk, but I had to dig it out this morning. Remember the whole brouhaha over the subpoena served to “Kai the Hero Hatcheter” while he was down in L.A. filming the Jimmy Kimmel show? The Bee’s Marc Benjamin tweets:
No courtrooms available for Jett McBride, Kai the hatchet guy and PGE worker case today.
Poor Kai. He’s ordered to be in Fresno on Feb. 20 by a skittish Fresno D.A.’s office worried he won’t show, and then he gets bumped.
Meanwhile, KMPH reporter Jessob Reisbeck is riding the Kai wave as far as he can, this time in a report on a Fresno woman who chased away a burglar with a pair of hefty gardening shears. (He called her on Twitter “Kai’s crime fighting competition.”) What’s next: A fitness trainer foiling a mugging with his jump rope? A buffet worker pouring hot soup on a customer sneaking out cold cuts? A couple more citizens-fight-back-with-odd-implements stories and Reisbeck could host his own local show titled “Who Wants to be Bludgeoned with a Weedwacker?” (KMPH clip after the jump.)
OK, those of you already up to your ears in coverage of Kai might want to skip over this post.
(If you’ve been in a coma the past week, you probably don’t know about this hero homeless hitchhiker — he prefers the term “homefree,” thank you very much, which makes me suspect an agent has already latched onto him — who is singlehandedly responsible for a huge spike this past week in KMPH’s online clicks. Heck, Kai’s probably already gotten KMPH reporter Jessob Reisbeck a job in a Top 10 market, or maybe even a guest-hosting gig on “Fox and Friends.”)
But for Kai fans, here’s some big-deal news, indeed. None other than the venerable Gregory Brothers have turned Kai’s memorable “Smash, smash, smash” moment on KMPH into one of those perky auto-tuned creations that can go viral.( Warning: NSFW.) As the Brothers write on their website:
Kai the Hitchhiker sings an uplifting anthem about the human soul, while warning he also might smash you.
Couldn’t have said it better myself. In other news, KMPH is milking this story for all it’s worth. Check out this banner on the station’s home page:
Reisbeck — “the only person to speak with Kai on camera about his newfound fame,” the site breathlessly announces — caught up with the new Internet celebrity for a follow-up report last night.
And in other pop-culture sightings, the original “Smash” video made the Clip of the Week on Joel McHale’s “The Soup.” Which means Kai beat out the inevitable clip from one of the “Real Housewives” franchises. Could a Kai reality show be far behind? For more media mentions, KMPH has a roundup.