social media

Police Say Reports On Social Media Of Active Shooters In Michigan Are FALSE

August 06, 2019 - 3:40 pm

DETROIT (WWJ) - Police are warning the public about a disturbing social media hoax following the two mass shootings over the weekend.

Detroit police on Tuesday issued a statement saying they're aware of allegations circulating online regarding an active shooter or shooters roaming the city, and that these reports are false. "It's important accurate information is given to prevent fear," the DPD said. 

Grand Rapids Police say some people are referring to the hoax as "The Purge," in reference to the horror film franchise. The department added, in a statement: "Let's save it for the movies and put a stop to these false messages."

Talking to WWJ's Sandra McNeill, Michigan State Police First Lt. Mike Shaw said they have been getting calls from people worried about this and other alleged active shooters in Detroit and elsewhere in recent days. 

"These reports are not accurate," he said. "We did not have any active shooters in either Detroit, Grand Rapids and I believe Lansing was the other city that people are talking about." 

For the most part, Shaw said, he does not believe that those spreading this false information have malicious intent. 

"What happens is somebody posts it from gossip and rumors that go around. Somebody may hear something that they think actually happened from one of their friends, tells another friend," Shaw said. "Now instead of phone calls and passing notes we have social media...So we just wanted to give a heads up to citizens that are worried already, just because of the events that have taken place the last couple of days in Texas and Ohio."

Shaw said it remains important, however, to stay vigilant, be aware of your surroundings, and "If you see something say something." 

He urges those who are concerned and are looking for the most accurate information to contact their local police or follow verified law enforcement accounts on social media.