A fake news story about the killer in a mass shooting at a Texas church said the gunman was an anti-fascist looking to sow chaos in the hope of starting a civil war, the fact-checking PolitiFact team reports.
The headline on a Nov. 5, 2017, story on ThirdEstateNewsGroup.com read, “Texas Church shooter was Antifa and wanted to start ‘communist revolution.’ ” Facebook users flagged the post as being potentially fabricated, as part of the social network’s efforts to curb fake news.
The story appeared the same day 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley killed at least 26 people in First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. It said Kelley was “an Antifa member who vowed to start a civil war by ‘targeting white conservative churches’ and causing anarchy in the United States.”
The post also said he “was one of two shooters in the church, according to eyewitnesses, who also report Kelley carried an Antifa flag and told the churchgoers ‘this is a communist revolution’ before unloading on the congregation, reloading several times.”
None of those details have been confirmed by law enforcement agencies, or reported by reputable media outlets. Authorities said their initial investigation showed the attack was likely motivated by a family dispute, and not a broader movement.