Allen City Council member Dave Shafer recently tweeted that he is not certain that the Allen Premium Outlet mall mass shooter—who the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has confirmed had Nazi symbols tattooed on his body and expressed “neo-Nazi ideation”—held Nazi views.
“Oh I definitely condemn the shooter, and any belief he had,” Shafer wrote in a post on Twitter. “However, based on his other supposed tattoos and information reported in the press, I cannot say for certain he held Nazi views.” He added that “I of course condemn any race-based ideology, including Nazism.”
Shafer indicated that part of his uncertainty around Garcia’s Nazi views is due to what he called “other supposed tattoos.” This echoes misinformation spread by Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and the True Texas Project, who claimed immediately after the shooting that Garcia was a member of a prison gang—as if that disqualified him as a Nazi. Prior to the mass shooting, Garcia had not committed any other serious crimes and had never served time in jail.
“Shafer appears to be referencing a bit of speculative misinformation that went around from conservative social media influencers on Twitter,” said Jared Holt with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a think tank focused on hate, extremism, and disinformation. “Public officials should seek to govern on the basis of verifiably true information, not speculation among conspiracy theorists they see on the internet.”
Independent reviews of Garcia’s diary entries and social media posts make it clear he had become immersed in an ecosystem of far-right media prior to the shooting.
Just prior to posting the tweet about whether Garcia held Nazi views, Shafer retweeted a video originally posted by Tait that equated LGBTQ+ pride flag displays in contemporary America with Nazi flags during Hitler’s genocidal reign and called LBGTQ+ supporters a cult.
“That it is,” Shafer wrote in his retweet. “And the closer they get to being truly found out, the more they will deflect by accusing others.”
“Council member Shafer has just won the Guinness Book of World Records in hoop jumping,” said Professor Brian Levin, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. “What a disgrace to do everything he can to avoid calling a Nazi a Nazi while equating the LGBTQ+ community with Nazis and Nazism.”
Shafer describes himself as a “Texas Conservative” on his Twitter bio. His account on Truth Social, the social media website launched by recently indicted former President Donald Trump, features a header image that reads: “Welcome to Texas—please spay or neuter your liberal relatives.”
“I’m having fun saying Nazis are bad without actually saying it and watching the lefties go into orbit because I won’t obey a demand,” Shafer wrote on Twitter.