Fact Check

No, 'Samantha Hyde' Is Not the Name of the Nashville School Shooter

An old, tired internet hoax was reborn on social media after the March 27, 2023, Nashville school shooting.

Published March 27, 2023

Image courtesy of Twitter
The name of the female suspect shot and killed by police in the March 27, 2023, school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee was Samantha Hyde.

It took no time at all after news broke of the March 27, 2023, school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, in which six people including the female suspect were killed, before posts flooded social media falsely claiming that the shooter had been identified as one "Samantha Hyde." 

samantha hyde

Some posts claimed "Samantha Hyde" identified as a "trans woman": 

samantha hyde trans nashville school shooter hoax

The name "Samantha Hyde" probably rang familiar to many long-time internet users. For years — since 2015, according to the meme-tracking website Know Your Meme — mass shooting incidents in the U.S. have been routinely followed by false accusations that a male suspect named Sam Hyde (or Samuel Hyde, or other variants of that name) had committed or been arrested for the crimes. Although the hoax originated as a 4chan smear campaign against an actual person by that name, over time "Sam Hyde" memes morphed into new variants and the meme took on a life of its own. (After a mass shooting at a Baptist Church in 2017, a variant of the hoax claimed the perpetrator was a "Muslim convert" named "Samir Al-Hajeed.")

Here's an example of the "Sam Hyde" hoax from 2018: 

sam hyde

The actual suspect in the Nashville school shooting has been identified as Audrey Hale, 28, of Nashville. According to police, Hale identified as transgender and was a former student of the school. 


MacGuill, Dan. "Was the Texas Church Shooter a Muslim Convert Named 'Samir Al-Hajeed'?" Snopes, 6 Nov. 2017, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/texas-samir-al-hajeed-sam-hyde/.

"Nashville Christian School Shooter Appears to Be a Former Student, Police Chief Says." NBC News, 27 Mar. 2023, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/nashville-christian-school-shooter-appears-former-student-police-chief-rcna76876.

Nashville Shooting Suspect Was 28-Year-Old Woman, Former Student. 27 Mar. 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/nashville-school-shooting-suspect-what-we-know/.

"Sam Hyde." Know Your Meme, 28 Apr. 2015, https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/people/sam-hyde.

"Watch: Why Sam Hyde Goes Viral After Every Mass Shooting." BuzzFeed, https://www.buzzfeed.com/watch/video/86887. Accessed 27 Mar. 2023.

David Emery is a West Coast-based writer and editor with 25 years of experience fact-checking rumors, hoaxes, and contemporary legends.