Guy Who Claimed to Be a Hero of a School Shooting Lied Through His Teeth and Was Never Even at That School

David Briscoe2David Briscoe

You might think it’s a safe assumption that nothing could be as bad as a school shooting with fatalities. But while no one was looking for something, we’ve found it any way. Something actually worse. A school shooting with fatalities and Stolen Valor on top.

Meet David Briscoe, fake hero of the Santa Fe shooting of May, 2018:

SourceIn the immediate aftermath of the May 2018 shooting at Santa Fe High School, a man who said he witnessed the carnage seemed to turn up everywhere.

The man calling himself David Briscoe appeared in Time as a substitute teacher seemingly in the wrong place at the wrong time; CNN described his heroism as he ordered his students to “get down” and kept them protected until police came; The Wall Street Journal relayed the blood-curdling screams he heard from students in the hallway.

In April, nearly a year after the shooting, he told a strikingly similar story to The Texas Tribune. But after investigating some of his claims, the Tribune did not publish his account of the shooting — because it appears his entire story was an elaborate hoax.


In a roughly 31-minute interview with the Tribune, David Briscoe told his tale: When the first shots rang out — “it was very, very loud” — he said he directed his classroom of nearly a dozen students in the remedial English course he was teaching to muffle their screams with their hands.

He barricaded the doors. Turned off the lights.

He said he could never return to the Houston-area school where 10 died and another 13 were injured last spring. “Just knowing that there’s blood on the walls where you walk at … I don’t think I could go back,” he said. …

But according to the school district, he was never there.

Lindsey Campbell, a spokeswoman for Santa Fe Independent School District, said it had no record of anyone named David Briscoe being employed by the district in any capacity. …

James Roy, a lieutenant for the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office — which helped investigate the massacre — said the shooting was contained to the art rooms and there were no English classes on that side of the school. …

Public records show that Briscoe had a home address in Florida at the time of the shooting; there’s no record of him living in Texas at any time. …

The man calling himself David Briscoe used social media to initiate contact with some reporters, including a Tribune reporter. When the Tribune asked to interview him again in early May, he initially claimed a rogue former employee for the social media company he said he started — whom he refused to name — had stolen his identity.

Then he stopped responding to requests for comment. …

He said he recently gave a speech at Colonial High School in Orlando, where the principal honored him and he talked to students and faculty about what he thought lawmakers could do to prevent another tragedy.

A spokeswoman for Colonial High School said no one named David Briscoe came to the school to speak.

The Texas Tribune goes on to say that this Briscoe guy is now claiming to have depression and that’s what’s caused him to lie to everyone about what state he was in, what classroom he was in, what speeches he’s given to comfort those afflicted by other shootings, and to make himself out to be the hero of other people’s stories. Stories like the Santa Fe shooting, that didn’t need heroes because they had their own. Teachers and students who sacrificed their lives to save others.

I don’t claim to understand depression and maybe I should be more empathetic. But then the Tribune also included this:

David Briscoe2

That doesn’t sound to me like some depressed kid struggling with a voice in his head telling him to do things he shouldn’t. That sounds like a grown man actively marketing himself in order to be celebrated as someone who bravely stood his ground in a desperate situation to save the lives of other people’s sons and daughters. It sounds like Stolen Valor.

There’s the thing that is so enraging. I would never put the word “positive” within a million light years of a story about a school massacre. But one of the few glimpses of hope for mankind that come out of these horrors are the stories about teachers, faculty and students taking heroic actions in the midst of the chaos. To quote the applicable Bible verse, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Moments like that, though gut-wrenching, become little flowers of humanity growing out the Chernobyl soil the unthinkable cruelty leaves behind. A reminder that the rest of us still have the insensate evil outnumbered.

Then along comes a person like David Briscoe. To try to claim some of those metaphoric flowers were planted by him. To take the courage and sacrifice of others as his own. To look people in the eye and tell them stories of his heroism, trying to make them sound as much as possible like the actual heroism of real life people. Some of whom cant’s set the record straight because they died doing what he’s lied about doing. Died while he was sitting safely in his double wide 1,000 miles away, trying to guess the “Wheel of Fortune” puzzle and wishing people would think he’s special. Worse, he went out actively seeking the attention from the media and the public like he deserved it.

I won’t criticize the news outlets who got duped by him. They dropped the ball to be sure, and will need to be more diligent in the future. But the more important issue is that we live in a time where it’s harder than ever to get away with lies like this. Everything can be fact checked. Our lives are an open book now. Which is not always a good thing. But in this case, it’s a pure good.


If David Briscoe is telling the truth and he really does have depression, he should get help. But regardless, I don’t think either way I’ll ever stop rooting for him and anyone else who does what he did to go right the fuck to Hell.