Man who claims he survived Santa Fe high school shooting exposed as fraud

Man who claims he survived Santa Fe high school shooting exposed as fraud
© Getty Images

A man who claimed he survived the shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas has been exposed as a fraud in a Texas Tribune report published Monday.

The man calling himself David Briscoe was quoted in several news outlets, including Time, CNN and The Wall Street Journal, as a substitute teacher caught in the wrong place at the wrong time during the spring 2018 shooting that left 10 dead.

However, after interviewing Briscoe, the Tribune determined Briscoe's entire story was an elaborate hoax.


Lindsey Campbell, a spokeswoman for Santa Fe Independent School District, told the outlet it had no record of anyone named David Briscoe being employed by the district in any capacity.

“We are extremely disappointed that an individual that has never been a part of our school community would represent themselves as a survivor of the mass violence tragedy that our community endured,” Santa Fe ISD Superintendent Leigh Wall told the Tribune. “This situation illustrates how easily misinformation can be created and circulated, especially when the amount of detailed information available is limited due to the still ongoing investigation.”

James Roy, a lieutenant for the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office told the Tribune that the shooting was contained to the art rooms, contradicting Briscoe's story he was teaching a remedial English course when shots first rang out.

“The best I can tell, we have no record of [Briscoe],” Roy said. He added that the man’s claim that the shots were “very, very loud,” didn’t sound right.

“If he was anywhere other than that hallway [where the shooting took place], I don't think he could’ve heard anything but the fire alarm,” he said, referring to the alarm a teacher pulled to get people out of the school.

Public records obtained by The Texas Tribune show that Briscoe had a home address in Florida at the time of the shooting. There is no record of him living in Texas at any time.

All four outlets that quoted him removed mentions of Briscoe from their stories after being contacted by the Tribune.

“I don’t know what motivates people to try to take advantage of a tragedy like this,” said John Bridges, the managing editor for the Austin American-Statesman, which also quoted Briscoe in an article shortly after the shooting. “It’s sick and it’s sad."