Twitter users are spreading the name of Sam Hydeberg as an alleged shooter responsible for bringing down a police helicopter today that killed 2 troopers near the riots at the University of Virginia. Sam Hydeberg is a play on “Sam Hyde.”
According to Know Your Meme, “Sam Hyde is an Internet comedian who co-founded the sketch comedy group Million Dollar Extreme and rose to viral video fame after staging a satirical TEDx talk about wonders of the future at Drexel University in October 2013.” Because of his fame, Hyde has been the victim of 4chan “trolls” who don’t like his comedy. His name has since been invoked by 4chan for a number of mass shootings across the world, such as the ISIS-inspired San Bernardino attack.
4chan is an image board website where users generally post anonymously.
There is no current reason to believe today’s helicopter crash was the result of any terrorism. However, the idea was spurred by Josh Lederman, an AP reporter covering foreign policy and national security, who ambiguously tweeted, “White nationalist clashes in Virginia linked to deaths of 2 people aboard crashed helicopter.” The tweet has since been deleted.
Some followers took Lederman’s tweet as an insinuation that the helicopter was brought down. 4chan trolls quickly began tweeting that the culprit was Sam Hyde or Sam Hydeberg.
The helicopter crash occurred on Old Farm Road, near the Birdwood Golf Course at the University of Virginia in Albemarle County.
The crash happened around 4:50 p.m. today. Soon after, video and photos surfaced.
Later, a video showing the police audio about a “helicopter down” was shared.
According to the Lynchburg News & Advance, “Neighbors say the helicopter hovered low over houses before going into nearby woods.” The FAA has released the following statement:
The crash was also tweeted about by the Virginia Professional Fire Fighters president, Robert Bragg III. According to Bragg, those in the helicopter were dead on arrival.
Videos of VSP aircrafts patrolling the air have been shared since the riots broke out this morning. The crash comes after video surfaced of a car ramming into a group of counterprotesters at today’s white supremacist rally taking place at the university. In the video, a group waving LGBTQ flags and “Black Lives Matter” signs is run down by a vehicle. According to Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer, at least one person is dead from the attack with another 19 injured.
The protests were in response to this weekend’s “Unite The Right” rally, an event that drew white nationalists from all over the country to Charlottesville in response to the City Council’s vote to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee.