The more than 1 million people jokingly planning to raid Area 51 may want to heed the warning from another man's harrowing tale. In January, an unnamed man was shot dead after he attempted to enter the top-secret military base located about 125 miles from Las Vegas, the very one that thousands of people are claim they'll overrun in September as part of a viral Facebook joke.
According to Express, a man was fatally shot after he drove through a security checkpoint at Mercury, Nevada on Jan. 28 in an attempt to reach the classified U.S. Air Force base, which has long been believed by conspiracy theorists to be the location where the government hides crashed alien spacecraft and extraterrestrials.
The outlet reports that after passing the checkpoint, a chase ensued, and that at one point the unnamed man exited his vehicle and approached Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) officers with a "cylindrical object." After the man failed to adhere to officers' demands to stop, he was fatally shot.
The incident serves as a stark warning for those planning to raid the military base on Sept. 20. The planned attempt was sparked after someone created the "Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop Us All" Facebook event. Currently, more than 1.2 million people have pledged to take part, making them the fourth largest army in the world (if it were a real militant group), with an additional million stating that they are "interested" in going.
The government has already acknowledged the Facebook event and warned any would-be raiders that the military "stands ready."
"[Area 51] is an open training range for the U.S. Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces," Air Force spokesperson Laura McAndrews recently said. "The U.S. Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets."
Although initially started as a joke, some fear that many will take the raid seriously, potentially leading to disastrous results. In an Instagram post earlier this week, Bob Lazar, a physicist who claims to have worked with alleged alien technology and exposed Area 51 to the world in 1989, warned that the plan "is a misguided idea."
"I do not support this 'movement'. The last time someone tried to get in to Area 51 he was shot," he added. "This is not the way to go about trying to get more information."
Also known as Homey Airport, Area 51 is an extension of Edwards Air Force Base and is located roughly 125 miles from Las Vegas in the Nevada desert near Groom Lake. In 2013, the CIA officially acknowledged the existence of the base when they declassified documents detailing the history of both the U-2 and OXCART projects, though the secrecy shrouding Area 51 has continued to give rise to conspiracy theories.