Was the Texas mall shooter inspired by anti-LGBTQ+ Libs of TikTok?

The gunman who killed eight people in a Texas shopping centre might have previously been “inspired” by anti-LGBTQ+ social media account Libs of TikTok.

Mauricio Garcia, 33, was shot dead by police after opening fire at the mall in Allen on Saturday (6 May), killing eight people – including three young children – and injuring seven more.

Various human rights and extremism researchers have looked into Garcia’s online presence, including a profile on Russian social media platform Odnoklassniki, also known as OK.Ru, which appeared to belong to Garcia.

The profile picture is of a smiling cartoon Hitler.

In one screenshot, shared on Twitter by UC Berkley Human Rights Center researcher Brian Nguyen, the profile user opens with: “This post was inspired by Libs of TikTok.”

They go on to talk about an experience at high school, in which they repeatedly praise Hitler (the post is signed off with “Heil Hitler”) among other white supremacy references.

You may like to watch

The post also mentions converting the “children drag queen story hour loser’s [sic], running around loose” in “f**king clown world”, to having extremist views.

Libs of TikTok is an anti-LGBTQ+ Twitter account, created by Chaya Raichik, known for spreading misinformation.

In a Fox News interview in December, Raichik called the LGBTQ+ community a “cult” where people “brainwash” others to join.

She said it was “extremely poisonous” and called members of the community evil people who wanted, to “groom kids”.

Raichik’s activity has been linked to serious incidents, including in August when Boston Children’s Hospital received a bomb threat, in response to misinformation regarding its trans youth healthcare services.

Libs of TikTok had shared a post claiming the hospital was offering “gender-affirming hysterectomies for young girls”, leading to the hospital having to confirm that gender-affirming surgeries were not offered to under-18s.

As reported by both the ant-hate organisation Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the online investigative journalism group, Bellingcat, researchers are confident that the social media account where the Libs of TikTok “inspired” post was shared belonged to Garcia.

There is also a YouTube video on an account that shared a username and display picture with the OK.Ru account, that was scheduled to be published after the shooting. It shows a young man removing a Scream-style mask.

ADL reported the man uses a voice distorter, as the killers do in the horror film franchise, to say: “Not quite what you were expecting, huh?”