One of the first pieces of fake news to emerge from the mass shooting at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas was the reinvention of an old hoax revolving around a fictional Muslim convert named “Samir Al-Hajeed.”
On 6 November 2017, the day after Devin Patrick Kelly shot and killed 26 people and injured others, the disreputable right-wing web site “Freedom Daily” falsely reported that the gunman was, in fact, a Muslim convert named “Samir Al-Hajeed.”
While this seems like a random attack from a psychotic white guy who the left will use as a poster child for more gun control, his reasoning for arming up and taking over a building full of Christians was because of is [sic] religion. “The shooter is dead. He has not been officially identified, but Mustachio Tweeted: ‘#texaschurchshooting shooter is 29-year-old US marine turned Muslim convert, Samir Al-Hajeed. His manifesto is making its rounds on the web,’” the Santa Monica Observer reported.
The Observer’s original headline was “Islamic Convert is Shooter in Church Shooting in Sutherland. He Left Online Manifesto.”
These two claims appear to be entirely based on one tweet:
In reality, Samir Al-Hajeed/Samir Al-Hajid/Samir Al Hajib is a fictional white American Muslim convert who was also falsely identified by social media users as the assailant in the October 2017 Las Vegas shooting.
“Samir Al-Hajeed” is an extension of the long-running “Sam Hyde” hoax, in which the comedian Sam Hyde – a real person – has routinely and mischievously been named as the gunman in a series of high-profile attacks.
The similarity between the names – Sam Hyde and Samir Al-Hajeed – is clear and any images of “Samir Al-Hajeed” found on the internet are actually images of Sam Hyde.
Predictably, Sam Hyde has already been falsely named as the Sutherland Springs gunman. In fact, U.S. Representative Vicente Gonzalez mentioned in an interview with CNN that the name “Sam Hyde” had been given to him as the assailant, demonstrating the pervasiveness of this particular hoax.
The Santa Monica Observer has changed the headline in its story to reflect the fact that authorities have identified Devin Patrick Kelly as the actual assailant in the church attack.