Florida Man Dead After Bullet Ricochets When Shooting At Hurricane Irma Is Fake News

A man from Polk County, Fla., dead from ricocheting bullets when shooting at Hurricane Irma is fake news. There is no truth to a report that a Florida man died when he shot at Hurricane Irma. Where did this fake news originate? Known fake news website Free Inquirer published the article reporting that a Florida man who shot at Hurricane Irma died after bullet ricochets. You can read the fake news below.

A 47-year old man from Polk County, Florida, has been confirmed as one of the first fatalities of Hurricane Irma after he ignored warnings and fired a weapon into the storm.

According to a source who responded to the scene in Lakeland the 47-year old is believed to have fired a large calibre weapon earlier this afternoon; however, the bullet ricocheted and ended up entering the man’s head. It’s believed he died instantly.

The incident comes after a Facebook event titled “Shoot At Hurricane Irma” received 54,000 replies of interest from Florida residents. While the majority of them appear to have heeded the warnings not to actually shoot at the hurricane, the 47-year old Lakeland man who remains to be formally named was not among them.

The sheriff of Pasco County took to social media to issue a clear warning to residents that shooting into the hurricane could be deadly. “To clarify, DO NOT shoot weapons @ #Irma. You won’t make it turn around & it will have very dangerous side effects,.”

However, there is no truth to the above story, according to Hoax-Alert. While there was event “Shoot At Hurricane Irma” (archived here) that actually existed on Facebook, there was no confirmation about news concerning the death of a Florida man from ricocheting bullets. Additionally, no local media reported on the news. Finally, no name was given for the victim leading to suspicion on truth.

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Regarding the “Shoot at Hurricane Irma” Facebook thread, the Pasco Sherrif’s twitter account did indeed warn residents shooting at the hurricane could be dangerous.

More than 50,000 people had signed up for the event after 22-year Ryon Edwards of Daytona Beach posted the invitation with the note, “YO SO THIS GOOFY LOOKING WINDY HEADASS NAMED IRMA SAID THEY PULLING UP ON US, LETS SHOW IRMA THAT WE SHOOT FIRST.”

Edwards said in a Facebook message that it “seems the joke may have gone over many people’s heads. I’ve got people in my inbox mad as hell because they think this is actually happening. I don’t know whether to laugh or sigh.” Most Facebook users appeared to understand that Edwards was not serious in his posting. The social media users posted photos and comments making fun of Florida stereotypes.

Free Inquirer is part of a network of sites designed to look like local news outlets with generic-looking front pages. Away from the front page these sites publish one fake story after another. Often the stories are nearly identical with some details changed on locations, names and ages.

The sites are either promoted via the same Facebook pages or carry advertisements linked to the same advertiser accounts on various ad networks.

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What did you think of the fake news that a man died as a result of bullets during Hurricane Irma? Did you believe it or see people sharing it falsely on social media? Let us know in the comments section.

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