The following are hoaxes and examples of misinformation circulating regarding the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay shooting.
Fake missing people
One particularly abhorrent type of hoax that occurs after these types of incidents is the fake missing person hoax. This is where trolls post photos of people unconnected to the event along with the claim that they were present and are currently missing. These hoaxes are usually accompanied with a plea to share/retweet the post.
This is often done to help certain social media accounts to go viral and accumulate followers.
These are some examples of fake missing people.
The above post actually shows porn star Johnny Sins who – as far as we can determine – was not at the event.
Also, this below photo going viral apparently shows the posters missing son.
MY SON IS MISSING IN Mandalay Bay PLEASE RT IM REALLY WORRIED, RECENT PHOTO BELOW. Brandon W. Kingsom 218-440-2391 AGE:15
However this photo is also extremely suspect, considering the poster – who claimed the photo was his/her son who is missing – soon followed up their request for help with a promotional message for their Instagram page. Attention seeking at it’s very worse, it would seem.
Paddock had Antifa literature in his room
Reports are spreading on certain blogs that Stephen Paddock had considerable Antifa literature in his room. However these reports all rely on and stem from an unconfirmed report on notorious conspiracy website InfoWars.com that claimed to have an anonymous source inside the FBI. Investigating authorities have not stated that any Antifa literature was found in Paddock’s possession, and no political association to either left or right wing politics has been established. Paddock’s brother Eric is also on record stating Stephen had no political associations.
This photo claiming to reveal the identity of the shooter as a 32 year old Islam convert named Samir Al-Hajeed.
Actually, this is a comedian called Sam Hyde. Sadly, social media trolls have taken to claiming Hyde is the shooter responsible every time a mass shooting occurs in the United States. During the immediate aftermath of most mass shootings in the last handful of years, trolls have posted and shared Hyde’s photo, describing him as the shooter.
Trolls have previously circulating Hyde’s photo after the San Bernardino attack, the UCLA shootings and the Kalamazoo shooting. Photos of Hyde have also spread claiming he is part of the KKK and that he was wanted for a shooting in a Planned Parenthood clinic.
The shooter was later identified as a 64 year old Nevada resident named Stephen Paddock.
Another mis-identification occurred after The Gateway Pundit – a conspiracy theory themed website – claimed the shooter was a man named Geary Danley, a theory publicized by a thread on 4Chan. However this story was soon deleted when the actual identity of the shooter was revealed by police. This theory was also given extra reach as Google unwittingly included the 4Chan thread that fuelled the rumour in their “Top Stories” widget.
Marilou Danley warning “you’re all going to die”
A rumour spread online that the “person of interest” who had been associated with shooter Stephen Paddock, a woman named Marilou Danley, warned the audience just prior to the shooting. The rumour claimed Danley had said “you’re all going to die” to members of the audience at the concert where the attack had taken place.
This rumour had even made its way on the mainstream news, including one interviewee mentioning the claim live on the BBC News. However police later claimed that she had been located “out of the country” and was not believed to have been directly involved.
Soon after news broke of the attack on Mandalay Bay, reports of multiple attacks in nearby casinos or suspected bombs in cars turned out to be hoaxes. Police confirmed that there was only one active shooter who orchestrated a single attack.
The usual conspiracy theories
Naturally the usual conspiracy theories will surface on YouTube claiming any of the following –
1. The shooting was entirely staged (i.e. false flag) to promote tighter gun control laws, and did not happen. Everyone present at the concert as well as first responders were “in on it” and known by the term “crisis actor” – actors working for the government. Such theories will claim no one was really hurt during the incident.
2. The shooting was partly staged but the shooter was shooting blanks and the only crisis actors were those injured and those working for the emergency response teams.
3. The shooting was real but was orchestrated or funded by the government to promote tighter gun control (such theories are likely to become less popular after the Obama-era.)