Fact Check: Young Man In Viral Screenshots Is NOT Nashville Shooter

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Young Man In Viral Screenshots Is NOT Nashville Shooter Misidentified

Is the young man pictured in this collection of screenshots the Nashville school shooter, shown before a purported gender transition? No, that's not true: The young man in one of the photos is from Pennsylvania and was not involved in the shooting at The Covenant School in Tennessee. His social media accounts happened to share one feature with the Nashville shooter: Both used the same words in the handle, "Aiden Creates." Would-be internet sleuths grabbed his photo thinking they had found the shooter's account, which led others to believe that the shooter, who police killed at the scene, had been assigned male at birth.

A post including seven screenshots from social media was made by Jenifer Noel on March 27, 2023 at 4:42 p.m. This post has been edited several times and no longer contains the image that is the subject of this fact check. Also, the caption now includes: "**PLEASE NOTE** The shooter's websites listed are NOT the 'TikTok Aiden in PA.'"

However, the post was shared over 2,000 times and screenshots of the unedited original post are circulating independently. An example of that can be seen in this post, published on Facebook by Janine Knutson at 5:14 p.m. on March 27, 2023. It was captioned:

Why...God Why?
Formerly Audrey Hale, Nashville Christian grade school shooter was a transgender female identified as Samantha Hyde, 28....transgender or not I hope it rots in hell!!!!

The text of the original post by Noel visible in the screenshot reads

😳They're deleting the stuff AS IM SCREENSHOTTING 😳 The #nashvilletennessee shooter was a 28 year old Trans adult, 'Audrey Hale'-NOT 'a teen girl'. And since they are literally stripping & locking down the Fakebook and Insta accts as of 30 mins ago I cant grab anymore-but they havent yet got to the LinkedIn & other accts (as of 330... See more

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

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Thu Mar 30 23:26:03 2023 UTC)

@Aidencreates posted a video on Instagram and on TikTok on March 27, 2023, explaining that his photo had been wrongly identified as the Nashville shooter. The Covenant School shooter (pictured below on the right side) was shot dead by Nashville police at the scene on March 27, 2023. In the video he explained:

This picture is being shown all over Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and that is me! And apparently I am being confused with the Nashville incident that happened today but I have nothing to do with that, I live in Pennsylvania. So please if you see any of these posts anywhere that have my photo in it, please report it. Thank you.


The Knutson post makes a reference to Samantha Hyde. This is the latest rendition of the recycling "Sam Hyde is the shooter" hoax often trotted out when there is a mass shooting. Lead Stories has written a separate fact check debunking this. The daily dot summarized the hoax (below left) back on May 21. 2018. The altered Sam Hyde photo caused some who were not familiar with the hoax to believe that the shooter was a trans woman who had been assigned male at birth.


(Image source: Daily Dot and Facebook Screenshots taken on Fri Mar 31 00:35:50 2023 UTC)

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


Read more about or contact Sarah Thompson

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