Internet hoax spreads false identity on Michigan State University shooter

Take it fast

Police identified the suspect in the February 13 mass shooting at Michigan State University as Anthony Dwayne McRae, who shot himself. But a viral internet hoax used another man’s photo and falsely claimed the suspect’s name was “Lynn Dee Walker”.

Full story

Anthony Dwayne McRae, 43, shot dead at least eight students at Michigan State University on February 13, according to campus police.

People mourn at a makeshift memorial at Michigan State University after a gunman killed three students and injured several others. Photo by Scott Olson via Getty Images.

Three of these students died and five were in critical condition as of the morning of February 14.

Police found McRae after he shot himself off campus, Michigan State University Police and Public Safety deputy interim chief Chris Rozman announced at a news conference just before 12:30 a.m. Feb. 14. That was about four hours later. The initial gunfire alarm went off.

Police identified McRae by name at a news conference later that morning at 8 a.m

In the meantime, however, an internet hoax circulated that misidentified the suspect as “Lynn Dee Walker” with photos of a person unrelated to the shooting.

One of the most viral versions of the claim comes from a Twitter account that started in April and has a history of sharing misinformation about vaccines and COVID-19, as well as content critical of the Biden administration. This tweet was viewed more than a million times, according to Twitter’s view count, before it was deleted and the account issued an apology. The original tweet was also copied and shared on Facebook as a screenshot meme.

READ :  Florida's Escambia River Electric Cooperative is partnering with ISP Conexon Connect to bring premium broadband to rural Northwest Florida

The photos included in the tweet appear to show the person, who runs a Twitter account that frequently posts about religious topics. Although the account is anonymous, the person behind it tweeted a picture of himself in 2020, writing, “The main reason I’m going anonymous is to protect my very innocent and boring family from the machinations of internet sociopaths.”

The photo in his tweet is one of the images used in the viral post.

We sent a message to the account asking for a comment, but didn’t receive a response.

But as I said, police have identified the shooting suspect as Anthony Dwayne McRae, who is now dead.

“We have absolutely no idea at this point what the motive was,” Rozman, the interim deputy police chief, said at the 8 a.m. Feb. 14 news conference. “We can confirm that the 43-year-old suspect had no affiliation with the university. He was not a student, not a faculty, not a staff member – current or former.”

The investigations are ongoing.

Editor’s note: is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. You can find our previous stories here. Facebook has no control over our editorial content.


MSU Police and Public Safety (@msupolice). “UPDATE: The person who committed these murders is 43-year-old Anthony Dwayne McRae. He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.” Twitter. February 14, 2023.

MSU Police and Public Safety (@msupolice). “UPDATE: We can confirm the 3 deceased and 5 victims in critical condition are all MSU students.” Twitter. February 14, 2023.

Michigan State University Police Department. Warning issued on 02/13/2023 20:31:52 EST. February 13, 2023.

READ :  The old internet looked very different compared to today, what has changed?

MSU Police and Public Safety. “8:00 AM PRESS CONFERENCE: Michigan State University Shooting.” Facebook. February 14, 2023.

R.Cam (@Logo_Daedalus). “I didn’t have a choice after the German Idealism video so lol – I don’t really care which I realized. Here is a picture of me rn. I was doped in 2018 and it had absolutely no consequences.” Twitter. Oct 3, 2020.