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Congressman sued over tweet wrongly IDing man as Super Bowl parade gunman

Denton Loudermill Jr. was briefly detained in the chaos following a shooting that erupted at the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl parade on Feb. 14. Within hours, a U.S. congressman had tweeted a photo of him in handcuffs and a caption that implied he was one of the shooters and an “illegal Alien.”

But Loudermill wasn’t one of the shooters or in the country illegally. He was a lifelong Chiefs supporter from Olathe, Kan., who had traveled to nearby downtown Kansas City, Mo., to revel with hundreds of thousands of his fellow fans.

But soon after the social media post, Loudermill received death threats and experienced anxiety, paranoia and trouble sleeping, he told The Washington Post.

On Monday, Loudermill, 48, sued Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.), alleging that the congressman painted him in a false light while invading his privacy. In an eight-page complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Kansas, he accused Burchett of calling him an “illegal Alien” and the “shooter” while sharing a photo of him with millions of people on social media. That misidentification led to “emotional suffering, humiliation, embarrassment, insult, and inconvenience,” according to the lawsuit.

“This is never going to go away for me. This is going to go away for him. I will still have people looking at me and judging me for what he said,” Loudermill told The Post.

A spokesman for Burchett declined to comment on Loudermill’s allegations.

Three men have been charged with second-degree murder following the shooting, and two juveniles were charged with illegally buying high-powered rifles and guns with extended magazines. One person was killed by gunfire: Elizabeth “Lisa” Lopez-Galvan, 43, a mother of two and a popular local DJ.

Around 11 a.m. on Feb. 14, Loudermill joined some half a million people around Union Station to celebrate the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl win over the San Francisco 49ers three days before. The atmosphere was cheerful and friendly as fans, who were otherwise strangers, ate, drank and celebrated.

But as the parade wound down, an argument broke out and then escalated into gunfire that killed one and wounded nearly two dozen others. When gunshots rang out, crowds bolted. But Loudermill froze as he tried to figure out what to do, according to the lawsuit. While standing “in the midst of the chaos,” police officers converged on the area and started clearing people from the scene, the complaint says.

Loudermill began walking away as police taped off the area, it states. When Loudermill ducked under the tape to leave, an officer stopped him to tell him that he was moving “too slow,” according to the complaint.

The officer handcuffed Loudermill and sat him down on the curb, it states. As he sat on the curb, people took photos of him. After 10 minutes, the officers walked Loudermill a couple of blocks away, removed the handcuffs and told him he was free to go. He was not charged or cited with a crime.

But unbeknownst to Loudermill, the photos people had taken of him were already swirling around the internet.

The next day, Burchett allegedly published one of those photos on X along with the caption: “One of the Kansas City Chiefs victory parade shooters has been identified as an illegal Alien.” Within three days, the tweet had been viewed 7.2 million times, according to the complaint.

It has come to my attention that in one of my previous posts, one of the shooters was identified as an illegal alien. This was based on multiple, incorrect news reports stating that. I have removed the post. pic.twitter.com/11KlFIyvF9

— Tim Burchett (@timburchett) February 19, 2024

Later on Feb. 19, Burchett republished an image of his viral tweet with the caption stating he had learned that he had incorrectly identified one of the shooters as an “illegal Alien” based on “multiple, incorrect news reports.” He didn’t say that the man in the photo, Loudermill, was not one of the shooters.

Loudermill was born and raised in the United States, according to his suit. He and his family members have “deep and long roots in his Kansas community” of Olathe, a Kansas City suburb.

Loudermill told The Post that people, including strangers, have been badgering him with questions in the six weeks since the shooting and that he noticed some giving him dirty looks. He said he fears Burchett’s tweet could lead someone to harm him or his children.

“I just want to hold him accountable,” he added, “and I just want an apology.”

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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