No, This Is Not The Nashville Shooter's Room With Pride, Trans and NATO Flags
The image was originally posted in December 2021 by a Twitter user, with the intention of showing her unkept room before and after she tidied up.
An image showing a room with the flags representing the Pride movement, Democratic Socialists of America and the North Atlantic Fellas Organisation (NAFO), is viral on the internet with the claim that it shows the room of the Nashville shooter Audrey Hale (later changed to Aiden Hale).
BOOM found this claim to be false; we found this image was originally posted on Twitter on December 16, 2021, by user @RedCharlotte_. We further verified that the user had indeed taken the photos, using the metadata of the the original image, which she sent us by email.
Six people including three children and three staff members were killed at a private Christian school in the Green Hills neighborhood of Nashville, Tennessee on March 27, 2023, when a gun-wielding individual opened fire.
The police identified the shooter as 28-year-old Audrey Hale, who was later identified as a transgender man going by the name Aiden, and was a former student at the school. Hale was fatally shot by officers not long after they arrived at the scene. Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief John Drake stated that the shooter was a transgender person and added that they were still in the initial investigation to say if it actually played a role in the incident according to NBC News.
The viral image showed a highly disorganised room, with the flags representing NATO and the Democratic Socialists of America, along with the Pride and Transgender movements. Twitter user "Butlerian Jihad🍥" (@ThatDude3210s) shared the image with the following caption:
">Shooter had NAFO, trans, and socialist flags
>Targeted Christian school
At the time of writing this article, this post was viewed over 2.2 million times.
You can view the photo here.
Looking through the comments of the viral tweet, we found that while some users did fall for the tweet, they were others who called out the user for posting falsehoods.
One of the user also stated that the same image had been shared as a meme on Reddit a year ago.
Another response contained a tweet with two images of the same room seen in the viral photos, along with the different flags.
These images were shared by user @RedCharlotte_ on December 16, 2021, to show her room before and after it was organised. The caption shared by the user read, "Before and after. I still need to clean out my closet so i can actually organize the mostly folded pile of clothes but I'm mostly done. I have to clean my desk next."
The first image, showing the room before it was organised, was an exact match with the image shared by the viral post claiming it to show the Nashville shooter's room.
BOOM reached out to the Twitter user @RedCharlotte_ who further confirmed to us that it was indeed an image of her own bedroom.
"Yes it is my bedroom. It got spread around, as people were making fun of my mess despite me cleaning it up, and it became a small meme, but it only resurfaced due to conservatives claiming it was the shooter's room," the user told BOOM.
She also sent us a copy of the viral image over email, which she claimed was the original image file taken from her phone.
BOOM accessed the JPG image file sent by her, and viewed the EXIF metadata - the information stored with the image file, containing details like camera settings, date of capture, and location of capture obtained using the device's GPS capabilities.
Using the metadata, we could establish that the image file sent by the Twitter user was indeed the original image file, as it had the information on camera settings intact. This information is removed by all social media and messenger apps while posting or sharing, and can only be found in the original file if it has been transferred or shared over email or drive.
The metadata also revealed to us that the exact date of capture of the photo was December 9, 2021. The GPS information with the image has been withheld in the story to protect the user's privacy.
This confirms that the image was indeed taken by the user @RedCharlotte_, and not by the Nashville shooter.
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