What’s true and what’s false about the mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas

An array of sometimes conflicting information has emerged since a mass shooting left 19 elementary school students and two teachers dead and injured 17 others, at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school. Officials’ statements about the day of the shooting have shifted, policymakers and voters have debated gun control and high levels of emotion about the shooting have all combined to create an environment ripe for the spread of misinfomation.

USA TODAY’s fact check team has analyzed an array of false and misleading claims related to the Uvalde tragedy, including assertions about the gunman, the nature of the shootings and gun policy in the U.S.

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Here’s a rundown of our Uvalde fact checks.

Mourners pay their respects on May 27, 2022, at a memorial for the children and teachers killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, 2022.

Claims about the shooting and its aftermath

Claim: The Uvalde shooting was a false flag operation

Our rating: False

Baseless conspiracy theories frequently and wrongly claim high-profile events were false flag operations, and such theories have been spread about both the Sandy Hook Elementary and Robb Elementary school shootings. However, numerous eyewitness accounts and statements from Texas officials show the Uvalde attack was not staged. Read more.

The claim: A representative of Gov. Greg Abbott offered to pay the family of a Uvalde victim to oppose gun restrictions

Our rating: False

An anonymous Twitter user who claimed to be the uncle of a victim of the Uvalde school shooting garnered the sympathy and outrage of tens of thousands of social media users, but he has since said the claim is false. Read more.

Claim: An off-duty Border Patrol agent killed the Texas school shooting suspect

Our rating: False

Tens of thousands of users online shared a post claiming that off-duty CBP officer Jacob Albarado took down the suspected gunman at Robb Elementary School. However, Albarado was not part of the tactical team that shot Salvador Ramos. He helped children evacuate from the building, but he never went inside the school. Read more.

Claim: ICE is conducting immigration enforcement at the scene of the Texas shooting

Our rating: False

Immigration and Customs Enforcement was at the scene to provide assistance to victims and families and did not conduct immigration enforcement-related activities on site, officials said. Read more.

Claim: Image shows Sen. Ted Cruz uses a Twitter template for mass shootings

Our rating: Altered

USA TODAY found no evidence that Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has a Twitter template he uses in response to mass shootings. The tweets in the image are manipulated versions of a May 24 tweet Cruz shared in response to the Uvalde shooting. The collage presented in the claim shows supposed identical tweets, but those are not found on any of Cruz’s Twitter accounts. Read more.

U.S. Border Patrol agents pray during their visit to a memorial at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Tuesday, May 31, 2022, to honor the victims killed in last week's school shooting. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) ORG XMIT: TXJH114

U.S. Border Patrol agents pray during their visit to a memorial at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Tuesday, May 31, 2022, to honor the victims killed in last week’s school shooting. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) ORG XMIT: TXJH114

Claims about the suspect

Claim: Texas shooting suspect Salvador Ramos was transgender

Our rating: False

The viral post at the heart of this claim misidentifies an image of a transgender woman as Salvador Ramos, the Uvalde, Texas, shooting suspect. We found no evidence Ramos was transgender. Read more.

Claim: Texas elementary school shooting suspect, Salvador Ramos, was an ‘illegal alien’

Our rating: False

The Texas governor and a state senator confirmed the shooting suspect was a U.S. citizen, born in North Dakota. Read more.

Demonstrators hold signs protesting gun violence during Friday's rally against the NRA Convention in Houston May 27, 2022.

Demonstrators hold signs protesting gun violence during Friday’s rally against the NRA Convention in Houston May 27, 2022.

Claims about gun control and policy related to firearms

Claim: Texas doesn’t have a hotline for suspected school shootings, but does have a hotline for reporting women entering Planned Parenthood

Our rating: False

The number 911 serves as a hotline for reporting emergencies and would handle reports of an armed gunman entering a school, the National 911 Program said, and Texas doesn’t have a hotline for reporting women who enter Planned Parenthood. The viral tweet was based on a now-defunct website for anonymous tips related to Texas’ fetal heartbeat ban. Read more.

Claim: The US has had 288 school shootings while other countries had two or less

Our rating: Missing context

The United States has a significantly higher number of school shootings than other countries, but a claim uses outdated statistics to make the point. The data cited in the post tallies only shootings from 2009 to 2018. One database of shootings before and after that time frame pushes the tally past 2,000 school shootings in the U.S. Read more.

Claim: The NRA banned guns at its annual conference

Our rating: Partly false

Tens of thousands of people shared claims that the National Rifle Association had banned guns at a conference held the weekend after the Uvalde shooting, but this wasn’t the case. The NRA authorizes visitors to the conference to legally carry firearms and did not order any bans or limitations on its policy. Rather, the Secret Service enforced its own ban on guns at an event where former President Donald Trump spoke. Read more.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check roundup: The mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas