unlv shooter

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UNLV shooter personal website shows embrace of numerous conspiracy theories

Links to the Wikipedia pages for the Illuminati, Freemasonry, and David Icke were present.

 

Mikael Thalen

Tech

Posted on Dec 7, 2023   Updated on Dec 7, 2023, 11:14 am CST

Tony Polito, the suspected gunman who died at the scene of Wednesday’s shooting at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), embraced numerous conspiracy theories on his personal website.

The 67-year-old, who described himself on LinkedIn as a “Semi-Retired University Professor,” is accused of killing three people and injuring a fourth after opening fire at the university with a handgun.

Law enforcement sources speaking with the Associated Press noted that Polito specifically targeted faculty and staff and had recently been turned down for a job at UNLV.

In the wake of the attack, a website run by Polito is offering a deeper dive into the educator’s views.

The vast majority of the homepage shows hyperlinks to other sites. A section titled “News & Periodicals” links to prominent news organizations such as ABC News and USA Today. Another set of links sends users to “Interesting Webcams,” like the ones on the Statue of Liberty.

Names under a section titled “Great Minds of the Twentieth Century” include everyone from left-wing philanthropist George Soros to the late theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawkings. Many of the links direct to 404 errors or articles from the early 2000s, suggesting that the site hadn’t been updated in some time.

One set of links, however, has captured the attention of online sleuths in the wake of the shooting. Titled “Powerful Organizations Bent on Global Domination!” the section lists topics like Freemasonry and the Illuminati.

Another link forwards to the Wikipedia page for David Icke, the conspiracy theorist who popularized the claim that the world’s elite are secretly shape-shifting lizards. The hacktivist collective Anonymous, specifically their campaign in 2010 against pro-copyright and anti-piracy organizations, is even listed.

While it’s unknown what Polito’s views were at the time of the shooting, his website is already being used to frame the shooting as either right- or left-wing.

Conservatives on social media have pointed to Polito’s admiration for Soros as proof of his liberal leanings, while liberals have argued that the conspiracy theories he followed showed that he identified with the right.

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*First Published: Dec 7, 2023, 11:13 am CST