Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New York Times: Conspiracy Groups Claim Tucson Shooting Was a Hoax

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2011 at 11:59 AM

The New York Times reports that conspiracy nuts are now pushing a vile claim that the January shooting rampage in Tucson was a government hoax:

Some conspiracy Web sites are claiming that the shootings that nearly killed Representative Gabrielle Giffords and did end the lives of a federal judge, a 9-year-old girl and four others never actually took place. One particularly bizarre site, run by a Texas man, says it was all a government hoax that used actors.

Such obviously fantastic claims would usually not merit the attention of law enforcement, but they have in this instance because some believers have been confronting, and alarming, some of the people associated with the case in recent weeks.

Richard Kastigar, investigative chief of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, said he passed information about the Web site to his intelligence unit. He reacted angrily to those denying the shootings. “There were bodies sent to the morgue, people’s loved ones,” Mr. Kastigar said.

Manuel J. Johnson, a spokesman for the F.B.I., said the bureau was aware of the site, but he declined to say whether an investigation was under way. One shooting victim said he notified the F.B.I. recently after two men showed up at his Tucson home claiming to be investigators and saying they were trying to determine whether the shooting was a hoax.

“They tried to get into my home,” said the victim, who asked that he not be identified because it might attract more such visitors. “They wanted to know if I had any pictures. They said they didn’t believe the event took place.”

The victim said that when he pressed the visitors for identification, one of them presented a business card that listed the Texas conspiracy site, which describes the shooting as an exercise conducted by the Department of Homeland Security. Other people connected to the case, including hospital personnel, victims’ relatives and possible trial witnesses, have received similar visits or seen their images on the Web site, officials said.

Trying to get into the victims' homes? Truly, truly reprehensible.

[The New York Times]

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