go to content

Here's The Misinformation Going Around About The Alexandria Shooting

This is what to look out for.

Originally posted on
Updated on

A gunman opened fire as Republican members of Congress were practicing at baseball fields in Alexandria, Virginia, early Wednesday morning. Five people were injured, including Republican Rep. Steve Scalise, an aid, a lobbyist, and two police officers. Here's all the misinformation spreading about the attack.

1. Sam Hyde (below) is not the shooter. There have been many instances of people falsely attributing an attack to Hyde, who is a comedian.

SHOOTER FOUND AND NAMED AS SAM HYDE #shooting #Alexandria

This tweet posted photos of Sam Hyde and and a doctored CNN report identifying him as the shooter. However, in the Alexandria shooting, police have identified the suspect as 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson or of Belleville, Ill.

2. There's no evidence the attack was "media-inspired."

InfoWars

InfoWars writer Paul Joseph Watson posted that the shooter was radicalized by "mainstream media’s hysterical anti-Trump narrative and the left’s insistence that Trump is illegitimate," but there's no evidence to support this claim. Watson's tweets and article have already gotten thousands of shares.

3. Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch did not call for "more blood in the streets."

Flashback: Loretta Lynch: "We Need More Blood on the Streets" #Alexandria https://t.co/BjUdfstHuH

This old video of Loretta Lynch was taken out of context by numerous outlets, which say the former Attorney General called for "more blood in the streets."

Screenshots

In the video, Lynch actually says, "Ordinary people who simply saw what needed to be done and came together and supported those ideals, who have made a difference. They're marched, they've bled, yes, some of them have died." This is not the first time Lynch has been the subject of disinformation.

4. The shooter did not hold up a sign with Sen. Rand Paul's tweet printed on it.

Twitter / Via Twitter: @DiscoverinBjork

".@Judgenap: Why do we have a Second Amendment? It's not to shoot deer. It's to shoot at the government when it becomes tyrannical!" Rand Paul's tweet says.

The original, undated, image shows Hodgkinson holding a "Tax the Rich" sign.

The suspected gunman in the Virginia shooting was distraught over the election of Trump, his brother said… https://t.co/OjMvbHPfxL

5. In fact, the Rand Paul tweet is being widely taken out of context. Many Twitter users are implying that the tweet from a year ago was the senator inciting violence.

The tweet was actually one of the senator's staffers livetweeting a speech, not Paul's own words. Earlier tweets from that day show more of the speech as well as an introduction of the speaker.

It's a great day when I can welcome @Judgenap to address the next generation of Liberty lovers!

"Senator Paul never said those words," Sergio Gor, the communications director for the senator, told BuzzFeed News. "The tweet you reference was part of live tweeting of someone else’s speech and it was done by a staffer."

6. A Twitter account with hundreds of retweets is claiming to show the moment of the shooting, but *clicking play on* the video opens an advertisement.

Twitter / Via Twitter: @27_basharrdp

The link leads to a Wordpress blog that invites you to view the video, but once you hit play you are led to a full-page advertisement.

7. Radio show host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones said CNN "endorsed" the attack, but that is not true.

BREAKING: CNN just endorsed #GOPShooting terrorist attack! Said shooter "was not evil..." Tune in NOW: https://t.co/OQtch0tDED

People on Twitter quickly pointed out that the "he wasn't evil" quote Jones is referring to came from the shooter's friend, who CNN interviewed.

@RealAlexJones No. CNN didn't say it. **The shooter's friend** said it in video aired by CNN. Jesus, you are an opp… https://t.co/WeTBVPsw3N

8. Fox News reported on air and posted a false and since-removed story that Rep. Roger Williams was also shot in Alexandria.

Screengrab from Fox News report.

The story stated: "House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and Rep. Roger Williams were shot and multiple congressional aides were also hit by a gunman with a rifle who opened fire at a GOP baseball practice in Virginia Wednesday morning, Fox News confirmed."

However, Williams was not shot during the attack. He held a live press conference within an hour of the incident. Williams said he was using crutches because he dove into the dugout to take cover.

This is a developing story, check back here and follow BuzzFeed News on Twitter for updates.

Jane Lytvynenko is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto, Canada.

Contact Jane Lytvynenko at jane.lytvynenko@buzzfeed.com.

Reporter

Contact Zahra Hirji at zahra.hirji@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.