Facts Matter: Gunman at Oxford school didn't pretend to be sheriff

  • Parents walk away with their kids following an active shooter situation at Oxford High School on Nov. 30. Authorities said reports that the shooter tried to lure some students from a classroom are untrue.

    Parents walk away with their kids following an active shooter situation at Oxford High School on Nov. 30. Authorities said reports that the shooter tried to lure some students from a classroom are untrue. Associated Press Photo

  • Navy blue and gold ribbons are wrapped around trees outside of Oxford High School where a 15-year-old sophomore killed four students on Nov. 30. Authorities said reports that the shooter tried to lure some students from a classroom are false.

    Navy blue and gold ribbons are wrapped around trees outside of Oxford High School where a 15-year-old sophomore killed four students on Nov. 30. Authorities said reports that the shooter tried to lure some students from a classroom are false. Associated Press Photo

 
 
Updated 12/11/2021 4:57 PM

A Michigan 15-year-old has been charged with first-degree murder in the Nov. 30 shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan where four students were killed and multiple people were injured.

During the rampage, a freshman recorded a group of students huddled together in a classroom when there was a knock on the door.

 

"Sheriff's office. It's safe to come out," a person on the other side of the door said. But a student inside the room said, "We're not willing to take that risk right now."

The voice outside the classroom continued, "Open the door. It's all right, bro."

That appeared to make the students nervous.

"He said bro, red flag," a boy said, prompting the group to escape through a window.

The video was widely shared on social media and some users identified the person at the door as the shooter.

"School Shooter pretending to be a Sherrif (sic). I don' trust Oxford schools anymore," read a post on TikTok.

But that's inaccurate, according to USA Today. The person outside the classroom was an official from the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.

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"We have now been able to determine that was not the suspect," Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said during a news conference the day after the shooting. "More than likely, it was one of our plainclothes detectives, and he may have been (saying) 'bro' in a conversational manner to try to bring them down from the crisis."

Bouchard said, based on surveillance video from the school, the alleged shooter never knocked on doors or entered classrooms.

Rittenhouse didn't sue LeBron James

After being acquitted last month of homicide charges in the fatal 2020 shootings of two men in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Kyle Rittenhouse has been the subject of rumors on social media. A recent post claims the 18-year-old has filed a lawsuit against NBA star LeBron James.

"Hahahahaha! This is going to get good! 'Federal Magistrate Approves Kyle Rittenhouse's $110 Million Defamation Suit Against LeBron James,'" a Facebook user wrote in a post with 2,000 shares and 70,000 views.

But no lawsuit has been filed, according to The Associated Press.

"No legal actions have been taken against any organization or person in particular," Rittenhouse spokesperson David Hancock told the AP.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The story appears to have originated on a satire site. Other false claims say Rittenhouse is suing Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar and CNN.

Rittenhouse has no plans to file any defamation suits, Hancock said.

Omicron name from Greek alphabet

A researcher prepares to sequence COVID-19 omicron samples in South Africa. Experts say widely circulated Facebook claims that the omicron name is a military code are false.
A researcher prepares to sequence COVID-19 omicron samples in South Africa. Experts say widely circulated Facebook claims that the omicron name is a military code are false. - Associated Press Photo

The recent coronavirus variant omicron has quickly spread across the globe as health officials said it could be more transmissible than previous strains.

Some social media users focused on the name.

"The new variants coming out are Military codes. Each variant signals Military operations and White Hats chess counter movements," a Facebook post claimed.

Not so, according to USA Today. From the beginning, the variants have been named using letters from the Greek alphabet.

The World Health Organization, or WHO, uses the letters to name each variant once it becomes of interest or concern.

Currently alpha, beta, gamma, delta and omicron are variants of concern. Variants lambda and mu are of interest. Kappa, iota and eta, while once were of interest, now are listed as under monitoring. And epsilon, zeta and theta are classified as formerly monitored.

When all the Greek letters have been used, WHO officials will choose a new naming process.

Trump Christmas card is fake

A Christmas card supposedly from former President Donald Trump is being shared on social media.

The card shows Trump dressed in a tuxedo, along with ornaments bearing images of his family, a tree, a manger scene, Santa Claus and the presidential seal. It reads, "Merry Christmas from the Winter White House."

But the card is "as fake as an aluminum Christmas tree," according to PolitiFact.

The card didn't come from the former president, Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington told PolitiFact. She said Trump and his wife, Melania, will be sending out personal cards. There are official Trump cards available on the Save America website for $10 each.

The photo on the fake card appears to be taken from a 2019 image of Trump in formal attire and altered to create a sexually suggestive image, PolitiFact said.

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at boboswald33@gmail.com

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