Fact Check: 'Mass Shooting Today In Lakewood' Threat On 5/31/2021 Is NOT Real -- Fake Message Put Up In 'Swatting' Situation

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: 'Mass Shooting Today In Lakewood' Threat On 5/31/2021 Is NOT Real -- Fake Message Put Up In 'Swatting' Situation No Threat

Was a "mass shooting today in Lakewood" threat posted on May 30, 2021, real? No, that's not true. A fake social media post was shared on Reddit but Lakewood, California, city officials declared it a "swatting," which is when a person makes a false communication with the intent of creating "hysteria and a large-scale law enforcement response to that location." There was not a real threat of a mass shooting in the Los Angeles-area city.

The claim appeared as a post (archived here) where it was published on Facebook on May 30, 2021, under the title "Mass Shooting Today In Lakewood." It opened:

Hello, I don't know how to start this letter.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon May 31 16:15:42 2021 UTC)

The threat posted on Reddit and picked up on other social media sites was not really posted by the man named in the message.

The City of Lakewood posted two messages on its official Facebook page on May 30, 2021, explaining first that authorities did not believe the threat of violence was "credible."

The second post on Facebook several hours later updated the situation. "The Lakewood resident cooperated fully with Sheriff's Department investigators, and investigators now believe that the resident was the victim of what is known as 'swatting.'"

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department tweeted about the situation on May 30, 2021, noting that officers were investigating and then that the person named in the post did not write the message and, "the post was determined to be a possible SWATTING incident against the person named in the post."

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  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

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