Get PolitiFact in your inbox.

Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke May 25, 2022

No, the Uvalde school shooting wasn’t a false flag

If Your Time is short

  • Eighteen children and one teacher were killed in a shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde County, Texas, on May 24. Claims that this was a false flag operation are unfounded and false. 

Eighteen children and one teacher were killed in a shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde County, Texas, on May 24, according to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and news reports citing the Texas Department of Public Safety. Amid the grief and anger online as people responded to the slaying, there were baseless claims that have become unfortunately predictable in the wake of mass shootings: that this was a false flag operation. 

"Those directing false flags know the emotional response from the Buffalo shooting is wearing down for the sheep," one tweet said, referencing the shooting at a grocery store with mostly Black patrons a week earlier. "So they did another one in Uvalde Texas to reinforce the response. Don’t be fooled. False Flag season is here." 

"As all local law enforcement including border control respond to false flag Uvalde shooting, the drugs & criminal migrants are pouring in," another said. 

The situation was still developing as of May 24, but there is ample evidence that it was not a false flag.

A false flag is an incident, such as an attack, that’s designed to look like it was perpetrated by one person or party, when in fact it was committed by someone else. One common and unfounded claim following mass shootings is that they are false flags devised by governments seeking to enact gun control laws. 

As is typical, we expect to see similar claims emerge on more social media platforms in the coming days.

Abbott said during a press conference about the shooting that the gunman, an 18-year-old Uvalde resident named Salvador Ramos, was also dead and is believed to have been killed by responding officers. Abbott later said Ramos had been a student at Uvalde High School, and Pete Arredondo, police chief of the school district, said it appears that Ramos acted alone. Abbott also said that "it is being reported that the subject shot his grandmother right before he went into the school." 

Featured Fact-check

The shooting started around 11:30 a.m. At 12:17 p.m., the Uvalde school district announced on Twitter that there was an active shooter at the elementary school and that law enforcement officers were on site. When the district tweeted again two hours later, it was to say that the surviving elementary students who hadn’t been taken to hospitals had been transported to the local civic center to reunite with their families. 

Children and adults injured in the shooting were taken to Uvalde Memorial Hospital and University Hospital, according to news reports citing representatives of those hospitals. 

For other schools in the district, the Uvalde Police Department said on Facebook that officers would be on school campuses to escort students to parents’ cars.

Rey Chapa told the New York Times by phone that his nephew was in the school when the shooting happened, and that he was waiting to hear from family and friends on the conditions of other children. 

"I’m afraid I’m going to know a lot of these kids that were killed," Chapa said. 

There is no evidence to support the claims that these killings were part of a false flag operation. This was the deadliest elementary school shooting since 26 children and educators were killed in the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, the New York Times reported

Claims that this mass shooting was staged or orchestrated are inaccurate and ridiculous. Pants on Fire. 

Our Sources

Tweet, May 24, 2022

Tweet, May 24, 2022

Tweet, May 24, 2022

Texas Tribune, At least 14 children, 1 teacher killed in Uvalde school shooting, May 24, 2022

CBS Austin tweet, May 24, 2022

San Antonio Observer, UPDATED BREAKING NEWS: 14 students, one teacher killed in Texas elementary school shooting, May 24, 2022

Uvalde Police Department Facebook post, May 24, 2022

Uvalde CISD Twitter account, visited May 24, 2022

New York Times, Live Updates: ‘Dark Day’ as Gunman Kills 18 Children at Texas Elementary School, May 24, 2022 


Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Ciara O'Rourke

No, the Uvalde school shooting wasn’t a false flag

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up