This Many Pictures
The killer was transgender—the gunman who killed nineteen students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde Texas. Within hours of the May 24, 2022 attack, message board 4chan buttressed the transgender claim with an array of photos. Photographs of a dark-haired transgender woman circulated alongside images of the shooter, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos. They bore some resemblance. They spread widely.
The photos of the dark-haired transgender woman are “ripped”—lifted from varied web sources. Texas police confirm the gunman is Salvador Ramos, that he is male and dead. One transgender woman pictured is Sam, 20, of Georgia: “[I]t’s not me, I don’t even live in [T]exas” “He’s dead, how could it be me[?]”
Reddit user: “So you are saying they photoshopped the shooter’s face onto images of yours?” Reply: “No they just took my photos and used it to spread misinformation.”
Another Reddit user: “Do you share the same name as the person that did all this or something? I’m confused cause a lot of people are using your pictures.” Reply: “No [they’re] just transphobic and took the opportunity to attack me and other trans people in turn.”
Nonetheless, the claim that the shooter is transgender leaps immediately into the far-right echo chamber.
Stacy Washington, host on SiriusXM radio show, makes the case. “There is an overwhelming number of individuals who are posting images of this person, who was the shooter, and information about the nature of them being transgender.... We don’t have definitive proof, but I’d say, this many pictures? My goodness. There’s something going on here.”
The lie rages online. It is picked up by Alex Jones of Infowars and amplified by Representative Paul Gosar, Republican of Arizona. Gosar tweets that the shooter is a “transexual leftist illegal alien named Salvatore Ramos.” The evening of the shooting, entering “Salvador” in the Twitter search bar Tuesday night auto-populates with the suggestion “salvador ramos trans.”