Hurricane Matthew touched down on Florida but luckily people survived it despite early predictions that it would be more harmful to the state. However, the possibility of looting is always a problem but in this case the claim that Florida store owners engaged in a massive shootout with looters during Hurricane Matthew, leaving 31 dead, was not true.
While the state of Florida was fleeing Hurricane Matthew, the Boston Tribune web site falsely reported that 31 people died in a massive shootout between looters and local business owners in Daytona Beach:
In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, estimated to be one of the most destructive and deadly hurricanes to hit the United States in decades, 31- individuals have been confirmed dead after a group of store owners within a Florida strip mall engaged in a deadly shootout with looters. The incident occurred this morning at approximately 10:00 AM when a large group of 42-looters attempted to forcefully steal from businesses at the Willow Brook shopping center located just outside of Daytona Beach, Florida.
[Business owner Conner] Olsen told reporters, “As a small business owner who (has) lived in Florida his entire, I’m no stranger to natural disasters and the tragedy they bring. I’ve gone through this before and have been looted – completely cleaned out. In our current economy my business just couldn’t survive large scale theft and vandalism. My options were to fight for my business or go bankrupt – I can’t feed my wife and 3 children with thoughts and prayers”.
According to police reports, the shootout lasted approximately 4-minutes and resulted in the deaths of 31-individuals; 12 store owners and or store employees and 19 would be looters. Chief of Police Daniel Griffin made the following statement during an afternoon press-conference, “What occurred at the Willow Brook shopping center today was unnecessary and nothing short of a tragedy. During these difficult and trying times we plead with you to help your neighbors and community members. We urge you to look out for and take care of each other not rob, steal, and shoot at each other. While the effects of Hurricane Matthew are undoubtedly devastating – we are a strong community and we will get through this by working together”.
Although the Boston Tribune sounds like a major city newspaper’s digital counterpart, Snopes reported that it is actually a front for known hoax purveyor Associated Media Coverage.
Another news outlet (Political Insider) was reporting that radicals and Black Lives Matters supporters are talking on Twitter about taking advantage of the weather disaster by going on mass looting sprees and robbing stores which are now abandoned during the evacuation in Florida, Georgia, and other Southern states.
Searches on Twitter bring up many messages from shameful people living in areas affected by this catastrophic category 5 storm by openly announcing their plans.
One person tweeted, “Ready for hurricane Matthew to hit so I can start looting.”
Another agreed, and responded, “So we looting after the hurricane? I do need a new TV & iPhone and some clothes.”
Were you affected by Hurricane Matthew? Did you see any looting? Share your experiences in the comments section.