A Frankfort man who was a business partner of the popular YouTube video channel personality known as FPSRussia was found shot to death last week at their firearms business in Carnesville, Ga., a sheriff there said Tuesday.
Franklin County, Ga., Sheriff Steve Thomas said he was investigating the death of Keith Ratliff, 32, as a homicide. Ratliff, who his family said commuted between Frankfort and Georgia, was found Thursday with a single gunshot wound to the head.
Thomas said Tuesday that no arrests had been made. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation also is investigating, he said.
Thomas released few other details. However, he denied reports from a TV station and blogs that Ratliff was found tied up.
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Ratliff provided props for FPSRussia, a popular YouTube video channel that features Kyle Myers.
Myers, also known as FPSRussia, adopts a Russian persona — including a thick accent — when he hosts the show and uses a wide variety of weapons on targets including fruit, bottles and mannequins. Myers recently appeared alongside actor Robert Downey Jr. in an advertisement for the popular video game Call of Duty: Black Ops II.
Myers' channel has more than 3 million subscribers; it is the 10th most-subscribed-to channel on YouTube, according to Vidstatsx.com and Statsheep.com, Internet sites that track YouTube statistics.
Many of the videos on the channel have more than 5 million views.
In a telephone interview Tuesday, Myers said Ratliff "was my friend and partner in the firearms business," a venture that was separate from the YouTube channel.
In the firearms business, "we were working on branding our own ... hunting-style rifle," Myers said.
In relation to the YouTube channel, Ratliff "helped with the firearms side of things ... I would say props ... He helped us acquire things that would help make videos," said Myers.
He said Ratliff had no official title for his work with the FPSRussia channel. "He would say, 'I'm just hanging out ... ,'" Myers said. "He just enjoyed working with me."
Ratliff had his own YouTube channel, Kydivemaster, which had far fewer views than the FPSRussia channel. Most of the videos on Ratliff's channel are about modifying and shooting guns. He also made videos that promoted the benefits of carrying a concealed weapon. The tagline for his channel is "Guns Guns and More Guns."
Ratliff's estranged wife, Amanda Ratliff, said they have a 2-year-old son, Jayden.
"He was a businessman from the time he got up until the time he went to bed," she said Tuesday. "He had so much in life to look forward to."
Ratliff's brother Kelly Ratliff said the family planned a memorial service later in the week.