YouTuber Alex Choi Arrested on Federal Charges for Shooting Lamborghini with Fireworks from Helicopter

The popular YouTuber could face 10 years in prison for "causing the placement of an explosive or incendiary device on an aircraft."
José Rodríguez Jr Avatar
ABC News via YouTube

A YouTuber known for posting videos that depict reckless stunts was arrested in San Bernardino County on Thursday for allegedly directing a scene in which fireworks were fired at a Lamborghini from a helicopter. Alex Choi, 24, now faces federal charges that could put him behind bars for up to 10 years if convicted.

Suk Min Choi, who goes by Alex Choi on his YouTube channel with 924,000 subscribers, was charged with one count of “causing the placement of an explosive or incendiary device on an aircraft,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The YouTuber was arrested on a criminal complaint but has not yet been found guilty of the alleged crime.

The video in question was titled “Destroying a Lamborghini with Fireworks” and has been taken down from YouTube after going live last year, though footage can be seen in reports by ABC News. It shows what appears to be a Robinson helicopter chasing after a Lamborghini as it races through the desert. Two women in the low-flying helicopter shoot fireworks at the Lamborghini allegedly at the behest of Choi who presses a “fire missiles” button.

The helicopter bears “Police” lettering and “LSPD” initials, which may be a reference to the fictional Los Santos Police Department from the Grand Theft Auto video game series. The DOJ describes the video as a “a live-action version of a fictionalized video game scene.” Investigators with the DOJ go on to say it was filmed in June 2023 on the El Mirage Dry Lakebed, and filming was performed without permits.

Additionally, the fireworks used in the video were purchased in Nevada because they are illegal in California. Choi himself admitted in a text message that he would have to buy the fireworks out of the state, according to ABC. The YouTuber also included a “behind-the-scenes look” of the video, which contains ample evidence of Choi having directed it. The video credits reportedly state “Directed by Alex Choi,” and that would be enough to prove Alex Choi was behind the video, thereby making a conviction possible.

It’s unclear what the consequences could be for others involved in the making of the video. The legal repercussions for the two women who shot the fireworks from the helicopter are still unknown, but the FAA revoked the helicopter pilot’s license over the stunt. Choi seems to be facing the brunt of the legal fallout, and this isn’t the YouTuber’s first time garnering views (and revenue) through dangerous stunts.

His initial appearance in a U.S. District Court was scheduled for Thursday afternoon, and his arraignment is due in the coming weeks. The DOJ emphasizes that “…a complaint is merely an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.” If Choi is convicted, however, he faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison. ABC News says court records do not currently list an attorney for the YouTuber.

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