Fake News: Texas Church Shooter
In November of 2017 a deadly shooting happened at a Baptist church located in Sutherland Springs, Texas leaving 26 people dead and 20 injured. The day after the shooting took place many conspiracy theories were created and false information found its way into the media. One of the first sites to start spreading these theories was Freedom Daily who claimed the shooter, Devin Patrick Kelley, was a Muslim converted US Marine named Samir Al-Hajeed. It was also pushed by many alt-right journalists that Kelley was an extreme alt-left supporter that carried an antifa flag and supported communism. When looking further into the story with the information that has been provided the lies are very clear to see.
This isn’t the first national case where the name Samir Al-Hajeed had been used to name a suspect; this is the same exact fake name that was used for the Las Vegas shooter a month before this tragedy happened. When you look up this name you’ll find images of a man named Sam Hyde.
Sam Hyde is a comedian and actor who has been involved in many hoaxes. Unknowingly, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez went onto CNN and said the only information that was known about the shooter is that his name is Sam Hyde which was false.
The Observer also had a headline that claimed “Islamic Convert is Shooter in Church Shooting In Sutherland. He Left Online Manifesto,” which also was also proved very quickly to be false. After investigations it was reported that Devin Patrick Kelley wasn’t a converted Muslim and Freeman Martin who worked for the Texas Department of Public Safety has said they found nothing that supports the claims that the attack was religiously or racially motivated. The claim of Kelley being a Marine was also false, he was in the Air Force but he was brought before a court martial with multiple charges of assault against his wife, aggravated assault toward his stepson, and multiple charges for threatening his wife with an unloaded gun. These charges resulted with him being sentenced to confinement for 12 months, a reduction in rank, and finally being dismissed from the Air Force in 2014.
The whole point of watching a news channel is to be informed, it doesn’t matter if it’s CNN, FOX, MSNBC, or any other broadcaster and journalist, the only thing that matters are the facts. The reality is many of these stations sometimes don’t check their sources to see if they’re reputable or not before reporting on a topic then which causes people to become misinformed. People need to remember to fact check what they hear, even if it comes from the news, what they hear can still be false. The best way to stay informed is to read and listen to multiple sources, and compare the information to each other.
MacGuill, Dan, and Dan MacGuill. “FACT CHECK: Was the Texas Church Shooter a Muslim Convert Named ‘Samir Al-Hajeed’?” Snopes.com, Nov. 2017, www.snopes.com/fact-check/texas-samir-al-hajeed-sam-hyde/.
“Sam Hyde.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Oct. 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Hyde.
“Sutherland Springs Church Shooting.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 14 Oct. 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sutherland_Springs_church_shooting