Trans woman wrongly blamed for Texas school shooting by vile conspiracy theorists speaks out

A trans woman who was wrongly identified as the Uvalde school shooter by trolls and right-wing bigots has been subjected to threats and abuse.

Shooter Salvador Ramos killed 19 children and two adults in a Texas elementary school on Tuesday (24 May), sending waves of grief across the US and sparking calls for urgent gun reform. Seventeen more were injured.

As details of tragedy emerged, online trolls began circulating an image of a trans woman, falsely claiming that she was the shooter.

The woman, Sam, has now come forward, telling the that she is “being attacked unjustly for no reason”.

“I am being harassed and accused of murder with no evidence,” Sam said. “And all I’ve done was live my life.”

Though she is annoyed by the situation, Sam added: “I’m more worried about the victims and hope they get the support they deserve.”

The false rumour seems to have stemmed from the anonymous messaging board 4Chan, which is infamous for spreading misinformation against marginalised groups.

Arizona Republican Paul Gosar was one of the people to spread the conspiracy, saying that the shooter was a “transgender leftist illegal alien.” He has since deleted the tweet.

A screenshot of Paul Gosar’s Tweet. [Twitter Screenshot]

Of Gosar, Sam told the i: “I’m ashamed that people like that are voted into office. People so concerned about their personal beliefs that they ignore the truth just to hurt innocent people.”

She emphasised the confusion of people who were “actively trying to ruin my life instead of helping the families who were affected”.

Since the images were posted, Sam has taken to Reddit and Twitter to make clear: “I don’t even live in Texas.”

Conspiracy theorists are still sharing Sam’s pictures and other trans individuals claiming that they are Ramos. Notoriously anti-trans author Candace Owens went to Twitter to falsely claim that “judging by the photos… we can assume there were plenty of signs that he was mentally disturbed”.

Several users, including Twitch streamer Keffals and Mashable reporter Matt Binder, have tweeted awareness of the spreading misinformation, with Keffals saying “the narrative is already spreading and is going to ruin an innocent person’s life.”

Even right-wing journalist Andy Ngo tweeted, warning followers of the images, despite misgendering Sam several times. Ngo emphasised that “those images are unconfirmed and unverified” and called for people to “stop sharing them.”

The Uvalde school shooting is the 27th to occur in America this year alone, and is one of the deadliest since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012.