In this time of scary clown cameos, it had all the looks of a clown prank gone wrong.
Wearing a snarling mask with red hair, Sadiq Mohammad leaped out of a bush to frighten a man on a Stockton street.
Mohammad, 20, who runs the popular Instagram account Hoodclips and manages video submissions for his 6.8 million followers, then appeared to get pistol-whipped on video.
“You really gonna do that ... in Stockton? That … is dumb. That … is played out,” the prank’s target said on the video before smacking Mohammad on the head with what looked like a handgun.
Mohammad did not report the incident to police, saying that it was his fault. But Stockton Police Officer Joseph Silva said the department decided to investigate because “we take gun violence seriously in our city.”
Police concluded that the pistol-whipping was staged and that Mohammad, who told his tale to reporters, admitted to them on Wednesday that the gun was not real.
Mohammed’s video, police said, was “staged ‘for entertainment purposes only.’” He also told police that the man in the video was part of the prank, Silva said.
“For obvious safety reasons, the Stockton Police Department does not encourage anyone to conduct pranks with simulated weapons, especially videoing the prank and posting it on social media for entertainment purposes,” he said.
Gun violence is a serious problem in Stockton, which was recently rocked by the death of a 3-year-girl, who was struck by a stray bullet while riding in a car with her family. Police said Melanie Martinez and her family were not the intended target in the Sept. 25 shooting.
Police have said Melanie’s death “was a senseless act of violence committed by cowards with guns.”
Mohammed and his cousin insisted Thursday that his run-in with the gunman was real, and that they are well aware of the gun violence in Stockton. For those reasons, his cousin, Salam Khan, said they just want “it all to go away” and don’t want to bring any more attention to the gunman.
“We still have to live in Stockton,” he said.
Mohammad said he carefully planned out the prank. Knowing that clown sightings have become somewhat of a nuisance for communities and law enforcement agencies across the United States, he said he still went for it and picked one of the safer neighborhoods in Stockton.
He slipped on a clown suit and frightening mask before heading out with his friend to film the prank. The plan was simple: Scare as many unsuspecting Stockton residents as possible.
Mohammad’s costume and surprise scare tactics frightened most people, though others were not fazed, he said.
In the last prank, Mohammad decided to hide in a bush and ambush a man who was walking in the Morada Lane neighborhood.
The video shows Mohammad quickly pop out of the bush, prompting the man to stop in his tracks.
That’s when the man reached into his waistband, walked toward Mohammad, and said, “OK. I got something.”
Mohammad began backpedaling, and the man said, “Don’t run, come here,” before appearing to hit him over the head.
Mohammad exclaimed that it was a prank, before falling into the bushes as the man stood over him.
Mohammad said he didn’t report the run-in to local police because he said he should have known better.
“It was my fault, too, because I shouldn’t be out there doing that,” he said.