Elon Musk’s tweets about Texas mall gunman spread misleading claims, question shooter’s background

May 10, 2023, 11:32 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Misleading claims about the Elon Musk.

Musk has questioned whether the man identified by authorities as the shooter, Mauricio Garcia, really had an account on a Russian social media platform, and Musk suggested that revelations about the shooter’s background could be a “psyop,” or psychological operation, in which the public is misled about the real details of the shooting.

Garcia proclaimed his white supremacist views on social media and sported Nazi tattoos. Authorities and independent researchers have confirmed his interest in far-right extremism and white supremacism. When police killed Garcia, he was wearing a patch that read “RWDS,” an acronym that stands for “ Right Wing Death Squad.”

“We do know he had neo-Nazi ideation,” Texas Department of Public Safety Regional Director Hank Sibley said a news conference on Tuesday. “He had patches. He had tattoos.”

Musk also cast doubt on a Netherlands-based research group known as Bellingcat that released information about Garcia’s online history when he tweeted that it “specializes in psychological operations.” He offered no evidence to support his claim, but the attack led to a barrage of harassment directed at Bellingcat from Musk’s online fans.

“This is either the weirdest story ever or a very bad psyop!” Musk wrote in a tweet viewed more than 3 million times. Musk also responded to revelations about the gunman’s ideology, with posts suggesting he didn’t believe them. “Very strange,” Musk wrote in one instance. “This gets weirder by the moment,” in other.

Garcia’s online history leaves little doubt that he harbored deeply negative views of Jewish people, people of color and women, according to an analysis of his posts conducted by the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, an Alabama-based nonprofit that tracks extremist groups online.

“Going back 10 years, the posts and diary entries show that Garcia held deep-seated white supremacist and neo-Nazi beliefs, as well as misogynistic and incel views, and a proclivity for violence,” the organization concluded in its report. “ Incel ” refers to “involuntarily celibate,” a term used by a largely online movement of men who blame women for their lack of sexual and romantic opportunities.

source of misinformation himself. A new Twitter feature called “community notes” was created to allow users to add context or fact check claims themselves. But no community notes were attached to Musk’s own Tweets about the gunman as of Wednesday.

Twitter did not answer questions seeking comment about Musk’s misleading tweets, and instead responded in its now regular fashion, with an automated email containing only the excrement emoji.

Musk wasn’t the only prominent user spreading false claims about the shooter on Twitter.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., shrugged off Garcia’s self-professed racist views, noting that he was Latino. “Only dumb white people would believe that a Mexican gang member is killing people for white supremacy.”

Greene’s Tweet ignores the fact that white supremacist groups have long tried to recruit Latinos; some such groups have created Spanish-language versions of their websites. And Enrique Tarrio, a Cuban American, is the former leader of the Proud Boys, one of the nation’s most influential far-right groups.

United States News

Megyn Kelly poses at The Hollywood Reporter's 25th annual Women in Entertainment Breakfast, Dec. 7,...

Associated Press

The fourth GOP debate will be a key moment for the young NewsNation cable network

By airing the fourth Republican presidential debate, NewsNation network will almost certainly reach the largest audience in its history.

8 minutes ago

Associated Press

Denny Laine, founding member of the Moody Blues and Paul McCartney’s Wings, dead at 79

NEW YORK (AP) — Denny Laine, a British singer, songwriter and guitarist who performed in an early, pop-oriented version of the Moody Blues and was later Paul McCartney’s longtime sideman in the ex-Beatle’s solo band Wings, has died at age 79. Laine, inducted five years ago into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as […]

33 minutes ago

Associated Press

Former Colorado officer accused of parking patrol car hit by train on railroad tracks pleads guilty

DENVER (AP) — A former Colorado police officer pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of reckless endangerment for parking his patrol car on railroad tracks before a handcuffed woman was put inside and seriously injured when it was hit by a freight train. Pablo Vazquez had been charged with five misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment […]

59 minutes ago

Associated Press

Lawyer picked to prosecute Army sexual assault is fired over an old email doubting victims’ claims

WASHINGTON (AP) — The lawyer selected to be the Army’s first top prosecutor of sexual assaults under an overhaul of the military justice system has been fired because of an email he sent 10 years ago appearing to belittle victims’ assault allegations. Brig. Gen. Warren Wells was removed from the job on Friday by Army […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

DeSantis wants to cut 1,000 jobs, but asks for $1 million to sue over Florida State’s football snub

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis recommended Florida eliminate more than 1,000 state jobs in a spending proposal released Tuesday that cuts the current budget by more $4.6 billion while maintaining popular sales tax holidays. DeSantis is calling for a $114.4 billion budget. Unlike most years, the presidential candidate announced his budget far […]

2 hours ago

FILE - Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor poses for a photo in 1982. O'Connor who ...

Associated Press

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will lie in repose at the Supreme Court on Dec. 18

WASHINGTON (AP) — Retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will lie in repose at the Supreme Court on Dec. 18, with a funeral service at the National Cathedral the following day, the court said Monday. The first woman on the Supreme Court, O’Connor died Friday at age 93 in Phoenix. She stepped down from the court […]

3 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(KTAR News Graphic)...

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.


Dierdre Woodruff

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.



Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.

Elon Musk’s tweets about Texas mall gunman spread misleading claims, question shooter’s background