Fact Check

Is 'Sahil Omar' a Suspect in Kansas City Super Bowl Parade Shooting?

An internet hoax resurfaced on social media after a Feb. 14, 2024, mass shooting.

Published Feb. 15, 2024

 (Screenshot via X)
Image Via Screenshot via X
Claim:
Sahil Omar, a 44 year-old immigrant, is the named suspect in the Kansas City Super Bowl victory parade shooting on Feb. 14, 2024.
Context

A so-called "immigrant" named "Sahil Omar" has been falsely named in internet posts as a suspect in previous incidents, including a Fort Worth explosion in January 2024. Police have not revealed any suspects' names in the Kansas City shooting.

On Feb. 14, 2024, a shooting upended Kansas City's Super Bowl victory parade, resulting in one death and more than 20 wounded from the gunfire. As police investigated, a number of internet rumors took hold, including a familiar-sounding one that blamed the shooting on an immigrant named Sahil Omar.

A number of posts on X purported to show a shooting suspect being arrested, saying he was a 44-year-old immigrant named Sahil Omar. 

The above image, from a photograph published by Getty Images, does show an unidentified man being detained near the scene of the shooting. However, Kansas City police had not revealed the name of any suspects as of Feb. 15. As such, we rate this claim as "Unfounded."

Furthermore, the name "Sahil Omar" has been frequently and falsely referenced after other shootings and explosions. In January 2024, "Sahil Omar," an "immigrant," was the purported suspect in an explosion at a Fort Worth, Texas, hotel, according to a Facebook post. In December 2023, "Sahil Omar" was accused on X of being behind a shooting at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. That same month, a different post accused "Sahil Omar" of being armed and evading security at a Florida airport. 

Accusations followed "Sahil Omar" all the way to Prague, Czechia, where one post on X said he died by suicide after carrying out a shooting in late December 2023. The real perpetrator was David Kozak, who killed himself after being surrounded by police.

The rumors surrounding the name "Sahil Omar" did not stop there and have been circulating for a few months, based on searches on X (formerly Twitter). In all of the above cases, "Sahil Omar" was a hoax. 

In the Kansas City shooting, police Chief Stacey Graves said three people were detained, two of whom were juveniles. Police had not filed any charges as the investigation continued, but Graves said the shooting started as a dispute among several people. We will update this story as we get more information. 

This is not the first time we've covered hoaxes surrounding shooting suspects. After the March 27, 2023, school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, internet rumors claimed the shooter had been identified as "Samantha Hyde." The real perpetrator was Audrey Hale. Internet hoaxes in the U.S. also frequently target minority groups and religions. As we previously reported, after a mass shooting at a Baptist church in Texas in 2017, a variant of the hoax claimed the perpetrator was a "Muslim convert" named "Samir Al-Hajeed."

Sources

Bogel-Burroughs, Nicholas, et al. "Shooting at Kansas City Super Bowl Rally Probably Stemmed From Argument, Police Say." The New York Times, 15 Feb. 2024. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/15/us/kansas-city-super-bowl-shooting.html. Accessed 15 Feb. 2024.

"Live Updates: Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl Parade Shooting News." CNN, 15 Feb. 2024, https://www.cnn.com/us/live-news/kansas-city-chiefs-super-bowl-shooting-02-15-24/index.html. Accessed 15 Feb. 2024.

"Czech Mass Shooting: Gunman Confessed to Shooting Baby in Woods." BBC, 28 Dec. 2023. www.bbc.com, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-67830858. Accessed 15 Feb. 2024.

Emery, David. "No, 'Samantha Hyde' Is Not the Name of the Nashville School Shooter." Snopes, 27 Mar. 2023, https://www.snopes.com//fact-check/samantha-hyde-tennessee-school-shooter/. Accessed 15 Feb. 2024.

"Fact Check: 'Sahil Omar' Not Named a Suspect in Fort Worth Explosion." Reuters, 12 Jan. 2024. www.reuters.com, https://www.reuters.com/fact-check/sahil-omar-not-named-suspect-fort-worth-explosion-2024-01-12/. Accessed 15 Feb. 2024.

Sloan, Nick. "Kansas City Chiefs Parade and Rally Shooting Investigation Continues Thursday, Mayor Says." KMBC, 15 Feb. 2024, https://www.kmbc.com/article/shooting-reported-at-kansas-city-chiefs-super-bowl-victory-rally/46790065. Accessed 15 Feb. 2024.

"TOPSHOT - A Person Is Detained by Police near the Kansas City Chiefs'..." Getty Images, 14 Feb. 2024, https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/person-is-detained-by-police-near-the-kansas-city-chiefs-news-photo/2003719063. Accessed 15 Feb. 2024.

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