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Loreben Tuquero
By Loreben Tuquero March 28, 2023

Another false ‘Sam Hyde’ meme circulates after Nashville, Tennessee, shooting

If Your Time is short

  • The Nashville, Tennessee, school shooter was not named Samantha Hyde. The name is a variation of the "Sam Hyde" meme that often surfaces after mass shootings and other tragic events, dating to 2015.

  • A photo of a Pennsylvania resident also was misrepresented as one of the Nashville shooter.

Hours after the March 27 school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, social media users began to speculate about the identity of the shooter who killed six people.

"Sooo the school shooter was a trans female identified as Samantha Hyde," read one Facebook post. The post included a few photos, including one of a blond-haired person holding a gun, and another of a person wearing glasses and smiling.

Another Facebook post read, "Formerly Audrey Hale, Nashville Christian grade school shooter was a transgender female identified as Samantha Hyde, 28… transgender or not I hope it rots in hell!" It featured the same photo of the person wearing glasses and smiling.

The posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

The Nashville shooter was not named Samantha Hyde. The name is a variation on a meme that since 2015 has been circulating after mass shootings. 

Sam Hyde is a comedian whose name and photos have repeatedly been used by internet hoaxers. PolitiFact has debunked several claims mentioning Hyde and other variations on his name, related to the downing of jets in Ukraine, explosions in Beirut, and even the Chinese spy balloon’s appearance in U.S. airspace earlier this year.

Nashville police identified the shooter as Audrey Elizabeth Hale.

Also, a second photo — of a smiling person wearing glasses — included in the posts is not the Nashville shooter. It is Aiden Itsalapron, a Pennsylvania resident who posted it on Facebook in December 2021. 

On March 27, Itsalapron posted a TikTok video about the social media posts that used his photo, saying, "Apparently I am being confused with the Nashville incident that happened today. I have nothing to do with that, I live in Pennsylvania."

We rate claims that the Nashville shooter was named Samantha Hyde Pants on Fire!

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Another false ‘Sam Hyde’ meme circulates after Nashville, Tennessee, shooting

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