(Trigger Warning: Descriptions of transphobia. Reader discretion advised.)
The photographs of a transgender person have gone viral on social media in the aftermath of the deadly Texas school shooting with several people misidentifying the transgender person as the shooter.
A gunman on Tuesday, 24 May, opened fire and killed at least 21 people, including 19 students, in Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Authorities later killed the shooter, who was identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos.
We found that the viral photographs were that of a transgender person and not that of the shooter. Authorities have released a mugshot of the shooter and it shows that the person in the viral image is not the shooter.
We also found the Reddit and Instagram accounts of the person in the viral images and found a photograph posted by the user after the shooter was killed.
Several American right-wing social media accounts shared the video along with transphobic and racist comments. Arizona Republican congressman Paul Gosar retweeted one such claim and said that the shooter was "transsexual leftist illegal alien."
Gosar and the original account have both deleted their tweets. While the original account admitted that they were wrong, Gosar didn't issue any clarification.
More such posts were found on Twitter and Facebook.
WHAT WE FOUND
We conducted a reverse image search of the viral image and found that the person in the photograph was a transgender Redditor. We found similar photographs posted by the user two months ago.
We checked their recent posts on Reddit and Instagram and found a photograph that the user posted with a caption that read, "It's not me I don't even live in TX". TX is the state code for the American state of Texas.
The image was posted at least two hours after Texas Governor Greg Abbott that the shooter had been killed by authorities responding to the shooting.
Authorities in Texas also shared a mugshot of the shooter shortly after Governor Abbott's address and it showed that the shooter and the person in the viral image were different people.
Evidently, an image of a transgender social media user was shared by several people claiming that it showed the shooter who killed over 20 people in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
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