In the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, a Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist recklessly blamed the violence on a “coordinated Muslim terror attack,” citing no evidence beyond anonymous “sources.”
As news of the shooting broke on social media, Wayne Allyn Root, a conservative commentator who regularly opened for then-presidential candidate Donald Trump before his rallies in Las Vegas, tweeted that “sources on scene” and “credible news sources” told him the shooting was a “coordinated Muslim terror attack.”
According to police, the shooting was allegedly perpetrated by 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, who lived in the Vegas area. Paddock is suspected to have carried out the attack on his own by opening fire with a rifle from a 32nd-floor hotel room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino at a crowd of thousands who were gathered below for a country music festival. Paddock’s brother told reporters that Stephen had no political or religious affiliations as far as he knew.
Although ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack hours after Root blamed Muslims, authorities say there’s no evidence Paddock had anything to do with the group.
UPDATE: Senior U.S. officials say no evidence Vegas shooter was connected to international militant group after ISIS claims responsibility
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) October 2, 2017
But Root continues to baselessly claim that Muslims had something to do with it.
In other tweets, Root has the audacity to claim that his reporting about the shooting was “correct.”
Root authored a book titled “Angry White Male.” While opening for Trump during a rally in October of last year, he threatened violence against Trump’s political opponents. From NBC:
Opening for the Republican nominee, Root threatened the political elite, saying he and his fellow “Trump warriors” or members of the “Trump army” — a “citizen revolution” led by “conservatives, angry Republicans who hate establishment RINOS” (Republicans In Name Only).
He added, “Independents, working class Americans, Christians, gun owners, small business owners, military veterans and tax payers” — were going to violently take Washington D.C. with “pitchforks, jack hammers and blow torches.”
“We’re coming to tear it down. We’re coming to rip it up. We’re coming to kick your ass. And we’re coming to put you in prison,” [Root] said.
Root’s column is published twice weekly by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which is owned by billionaire Trump donor Sheldon Adelson.
Root wasn’t the only prominent Trump supporter to spread fake news about the Las Vegas shooting. The Gateway Pundit, a pro-Trump blog that has been credentialed by the White House, ran a story Monday morning touting a baseless conspiracy theory about Paddock being “a Democrat Who Liked Rachel Maddow, MoveOn.org and Associated with Anti-Trump Army.” The story appears to have originated from 4chan’s “Politically Incorrect” forums.