Instagram posts – No, this press interview does not prove that the Buffalo supermarket shooting was staged

The day before the deadly shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, a customer at the store had spoken to the man police had charged in the attack. An Instagram post misrepresented an interview with the patron, saying it shows the event was staged.

This was not the case. Ten people died and others were injured.

In an interview with NBC News, a man identified as Grady Lewis said this about his encounter with the shooter: “He looked out of place. Not because he was white, it’s just a feeling I had about him…”

“Intuition,” someone can be heard saying off-camera.

“The intuition,” Lewis said, “yes, definitely. An energy that made me say, ‘Well, let me talk to this guy.’ And I talked to him for about an hour and 45 minutes and actually bought him something to drink because he seemed a little nervous, but I couldn’t get anything out of him.

A description of that exchange in an Instagram post reads, “Witness to shooting: listener comments, being told what to say are picked up on live TV.”

“SETUP WE ALL KNOW,” one person commented on the post.

“They couldn’t find a better actor than THIS???” someone else said.

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat fake news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Learn more about our partnership with Facebook.)

It’s clear from watching the video that this isn’t a hot mic moment gone wrong.

Lewis was describing a feeling he had about the alleged shooter, and someone came up with a word for what he was describing: intuition. Lewis then agrees that the word characterizes what it describes.

He wears a microphone, which is typical of people who give TV interviews, but he doesn’t appear to be wearing headphones, as the Instagram post claims.

Lewis, 50, visits the Tops grocery store where the May 14 shooting took place almost daily, the Wall Street Journal reported. He was sitting across the street when he heard the first shots.


In the aftermath of the incident, Lewis gave several interviews to news outlets and made similar remarks.

“I feel like he’s not supposed to be here. I just had a feeling,” he told BuzzFeed News. “I don’t like – it’s not like white people come to the store, and I say, ‘why are you here?’ I don’t do that. It was just a feeling.”

Claims that Lewis was directed on what to say on camera and that this proves the shooting was staged are false. We rate them Pants on Fire.

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