GOP Rep. Tim Burchett Deletes Tweet Falsely Accusing ‘Illegal Alien’ of Kansas City Shooting

GOP Rep. Tim Burchett Deletes Tweet Falsely Accusing ‘Illegal Alien’ of Kansas City Shooting


Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) backtracked on Monday afternoon and deleted a tweet that wrongly identified a local resident as being an “illegal alien” and one of the gunmen in the Kansas City Super Bowl parade shooting.

According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, Burchett only deleted the post after the outlet contacted him on Monday and asked about the tweet, which falsely claimed Kansas native Denton Loudermill was one of the suspected shooters.

In the wake of the tragic shooting that left one dead and 22 others injured, social media was flooded with right-wing disinformation tying the shooting to illegal immigration, particularly around press photos of Loudermill being detained in cuffs by police near the scene.

Before long, viral posts surfaced alleging that a 44-year-old illegal immigrant named Sahil Omar was identified as one of the shooters and had been arrested by Kansas City police, citing images of a detained Loudermill. The Associated Press noted that the name “Sahil Omar” has been used to make similar erroneous claims about other recent tragedies, likely preying on fears about immigration and crime.

“At least one of the Kansas City Chiefs parade shooters identified as Sahil Omar, a 44 year old illegal immigrant,” one widely read X post blared about the KC shooting. “Biden has failed to protect America from invasion and terrorism.”

Feeding into the panic, Burchett tossed the following caption alongside an image of Loudermill: “One of the Kansas City Chiefs victory parade shooters has been identified as an illegal Alien.”

It was soon clear, however, that Burchett’s claim was untrue. Within a day of the shooting, local law enforcement said they had multiple juvenile suspects in custody. While the teenagers haven’t been publicly named yet, Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves said there was “no nexus to terrorism or homegrown violent extremism” and that the incident appeared to stem from a “personal dispute” between the assailants.

Additionally, Loudermill was never a suspect in the shooting and had only been briefly detained by police because he was intoxicated and did not immediately move from the crime scene. “There were many people detained at one time or another on Wednesday,” the Kansas City police department said in a statement. “Some of the detainments could result in future charges unrelated to the shooting. No one who is believed to be involved in the shooting has been released.”

Meanwhile, Loudermill has spent the past few days attempting to clear his name after he was falsely tied to the shooting.

“Mr. Denton has received death threats over a lie, over misinformation,” Loudermill’s attorney LaRonna Lassiter Saunders said in a press conference on Saturday. “He didn’t do anything wrong. He did not commit a crime. So please, run, tell that. Get the truth out there. Help us clear his name. Help us save his life.”

She added: “Mr. Denton had several drinks, but so did a half million other people, including some of the Chiefs players. It’s not a crime. It doesn’t make you a mass shooter.”

After taking down the false tweet four days after initially posting it, a less-than-contrite Burchett shared a screenshot of the deleted post alongside the following explanation: “It has come to my attention that in one of my previous posts, one of the shooters was identified as an illegal alien. This was based on multiple, incorrect news reports stating that. I have removed the post.”

Several local Kansas City journalists responded by asking the Tennessee Republican if he planned to “issue an apology for the damage your tweet caused Denton Loudermill,” noting that “bad actors spreading rumors on social media hardly constitutes as a ‘news report.’”

A representative for Burchett did not immediately respond to a request for comment asking if the congressman had contacted Loudermill to issue an apology.


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