Salter’s Buffalo slaying was unrelated to his work on water-powered engines

Aaron Salter Jr. was working as a security guard at Tops Welcoming Markets in Buffalo,…

Aaron Salter Jr. was working as a security guard at Tops Welcoming Markets in Buffalo, New York, on Might 14 when an 18-yr-aged man opened fire on customers. Police say Salter, 55, fired at the gunman numerous occasions right before he himself was slain — one of 10 people shot to death by a white male who police say was enthusiastic to destroy Black persons.

But a claim on Facebook is spinning a diverse tale about Salter, a retired law enforcement lieutenant who has been hailed as a hero, suggesting that he was basically killed because he was operating on generating a water-driven auto.

“Mr. Salter was just on the information about a thirty day period back outlining an creation he designed, which was an engine that runs completely off h2o, no gasoline needed,” explained a person in a Fb video posted May possibly 30 and shared tens of countless numbers of periods. “A entirely hydrogen-gas(ed) technique. And we all know what occurred to the final individual who resolved to come forth with an creation identical to this one.”

That is an clear reference to Stanley Meyer, an inventor of a water-powered gasoline mobile for car engines. Meyer, who died in 1998, has been at the middle of a many years-aged conspiracy theory that he was killed by the authorities for his invention. We’ve fact checked that claim to be Bogus.

Like the declare about Meyer, this movie about Salter was flagged as part of Facebook’s endeavours to battle bogus news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Fb.)

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It is genuine that Salter was doing the job to electricity automobiles with drinking water. But there is no proof that perform designed him a concentrate on in a mass capturing.

In a May well 16 contact to legislation enforcement, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray was very clear about what investigators consider determined these killings: “From everything we know, this was a targeted attack, a hate crime and an act of racially motivated violent extremism.”

Payton Gendron, armed with 3 firearms and tactical gear, drove more than 200 miles from his hometown, Conklin, New York, to the Tops grocery retailer, according to law enforcement. He shot 4 people in the parking great deal of the retail outlet, a few of whom died, then went inside and shot eight much more, police say. Video that Gendron live streamed from the scene captured glimpses of Salter’s attempts to halt the rampage, according to reporting by the Buffalo News.

An 180-web site screed that was posted on the internet and attributed to Gendron thorough his perception in the “good substitution concept,” a racist conspiracy that statements immigrants and individuals of coloration will switch white folks in the nation in buy to outvote them and substitute them racially. The doc explained Black individuals as “replacers.” 

None of the victims in the mass taking pictures are named in the online doc, and there is no proof that Gendron knew who his victims have been ahead of time. But 11 of the 13 killed or wounded in the attack were being Black, like Salter. 

Mates and family members remembered Salter for his almost 30 a long time on the Buffalo law enforcement drive. 

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“Even in his retirement, he practically built Tops his precedence,” Salter’s son, Aaron Salter III, explained to the Democrat & Chronicle newspaper. “He designed positive he was there and he was producing absolutely sure that the keep was risk-free at all moments.”

Salter was also working to complete his bachelor’s degree at Canisius Faculty and, according to his LinkedIn profile, ran a small business referred to as AWS Hydrogen Systems, LLC. When the Fb video described Salter as remaining on the “news” for his auto know-how, it appears to have drawn clips from two 2015 YouTube video clips in which Salter spoke about his operate making use of  water electrolysis, the method of applying electrical power to break up drinking water into hydrogen and oxygen, to gas autos.

“I’m constantly performing on my vehicles and or my task of jogging engines on water for the final 4 years or so,” Salter wrote on his LinkedIn profile. “I would like to comprehend my aspiration of receiving vehicles to operate off of h2o employing my recently discovered electricity resource some working day.”

In 1 of the YouTube films, Salter showed the hydrogen electrolysis generator he had developed in the again of his truck and gave a step-by-action presentation of how the generator worked, together with the truck’s unique fuel motor, to electric power the automobile. Salter also tested how long the vehicle could operate on hydrogen by working with only the generator. In yet another video, he informed a colleague that his interest in substitute vitality resources commenced with photo voltaic ability.

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Our ruling

A viral conspiracy shared across social media, together with in a Facebook submit, claims that Aaron Salter Jr. was killed in the Buffalo mass taking pictures because of to his function making a h2o-powered motor for vehicles.

Salter was in fact doing the job on drinking water-powered car know-how. But there is no evidence backing the claim that he was targeted because of it. Salter, along with nine other victims, was shot and killed by a gunman who police say specific them for the reason that they were Black. A few other people were injured in the assault. 

We charge the social media declare Untrue.