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- Hair color can look different depending on lightning, among other factors. Two images of the alleged Buffalo gunman with slightly different shades of hair does not prove the photos show two different people. They’re both Payton Gendron.
Authorities have identified 18-year-old Payton Gendron as the suspect in a May 14 massacre at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, that left 10 people dead and others injured.
Unfounded false flag claims often follow mass shootings in the United States, and this one is no different.
Among them is a conspiracy theory that suggests images taken of Gendron after the shooting show not one but two crisis actors.
"Went from ginger haired ‘fit’ person to a black haired heavy dude," one May 14 post says. "In less than one hour."
The post shows two photos. One is of Gendron in a white paper gown and white face mask as he was being arraigned in Buffalo City Court on May 14. The other shows him wearing green camo-print clothes outside the grocery store in police custody earlier that day. His hair in that photo appears more auburn than in the photo of the court hearing.
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
Someone’s hair color can look different in an image depending on a number of factors, such as lighting, whether a photo was taken inside or outside, and other conditions under which it was taken.
Other photos taken at the arraignment show Gendron with the same shade of hair as it appeared when he was in custody outside. In none of the images, including the ones that appear in the Facebook post, does it appear black.
But in some photos from the hearing, it looks more brown. That appears to be because some images taken at the hearing were shot through a plexiglass partition separating the defendant from the gallery where the public and press sit.
There’s no evidence to support the claim that the person photographed in the courtroom is not the same person photographed outside the grocery store. Both are Gendron.
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Facebook post, May 14, 2022
The New York Times, Buffalo Shooting Live Updates: Gunman Planned to Attack Second Target, updated May 16, 2022
New York Post, Payton Gendron ID’d as gunman in racially motivated mass shooting at Buffalo’s Tops supermarket, May 14, 2022
International Business Times, Buffalo Shooter Payton Gendron: Conklin Teenager Drove 200 Miles for Attack; Pleads Not Guilty, May 15, 2022
CNN, Shooting suspect charged with murder in court appearance, May 14, 2022
New York Post, Buffalo shooting suspect Payton Gendron pleads not guilty at arraignment, May 14, 2022
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