Fact Check

Fake Tweet About a Nashville Shooting Victim's Father Vowing To Fight 'Trans Evil'

A screenshot supposedly showing a post by a Nashville TV station has gone viral. It's a fabrication.

Published March 30, 2023

 (Screenshot via Twitter)
Image courtesy of Screenshot via Twitter
Claim:
On March 29, 2023, Nashville TV station WSMV-TV tweeted that the father of a 9-year-old girl who was killed in The Covenant School released a statement to reporters calling “for an end to tolerance” and vowing to fight "for the end of the trans evil."
Context

A screenshot supposedly showing the tweet from the news outlet is fake. There is no evidence that a parent of a victim in the shooting released such a statement to reporters.

A screenshot supposedly showing a tweet from a Nashville news outlet circulated in late March 2023, days after a shooter killed three 9-year-olds and three adults at The Covenant School.

The tweet claimed a father to one of those children said in a statement to reporters he wanted "an end to tolerance" and vowed to "fight with every fiber of my being for the end of the trans evil. The evil that took my daughter."

The screenshot appeared to be from WSMV-TV, an NBC affiliate in Nashville. 

This tweet was fake; WSMV never posted it. The station's official Twitter account debunked the claim, stating, "This Tweet is fake. WSMV4 did not post this."

We also found no evidence that a parent of a victim released such a statement to the press. If someone had, it would be imminently newsworthy and garner more coverage than just a tweet from a single source. 

The fake tweet emerged in light of rumors that the shooting suspect, who law enforcement officers killed while responding to the mass shooting, identified as transgender. There was no confirmation that that was the suspect's gender identity, but the claim accelerated anti-trans rhetoric online. (At the time of this writing, the shooting was still being investigated. The Nashville police chief said authorities believed the shooter was transgender.)

The fake tweet is an example of how rumors about the shooter's gender identity has generated potentially dangerous misinformation targeting trans people. Such content has exacerbated fears within members of the trans community in Nashville who say they fear for their safety. Shortly after police commented on the suspect's identity, the hashtag #TransTerrorism spread on the internet. 

Considering an authentic tweet from the TV station debunked the post in which a parent supposedly called "for an end to tolerance" and vowed to fight "for the end of the trans evil," we rate this claim as "False."

Sources

"Fear Pervades Trans Community amid Focus on Nashville Shooter's Gender Identity." NBC News, 28 Mar. 2023, https://www.nbcnews.com/nbc-out/out-news/fear-pervades-tennessees-trans-community-focus-nashville-shooters-gend-rcna77066. Accessed 30 Mar. 2023.

LaMagdeleine, Izz Scott. "Viral 'Transgender Shooter' Claims After Nashville Mass Shooting Lacked Context." Snopes, 29 Mar. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/news/2023/03/29/viral-transgender-shooter-claims-context/. Accessed 30 Mar. 2023.

Nirappil, Fenit. "Nashville Shooting Exploited by Right to Escalate Anti-Trans Rhetoric." Washington Post, 30 Mar. 2023. www.washingtonpost.com, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2023/03/30/nashville-shooting-transgender-shooter/. Accessed 30 Mar. 2023. 

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.