The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is blasting online rumors and conspiracy theories about the death of a GBI agent named James O’Sullivan, saying that his death has nothing to do with the presidential election.
“A GBI agent passed away this week and there are online rumors that it was somehow connected to the election. This baseless claim is irresponsible & reckless,” the GBI wrote on Twitter.
“It is hurtful to the agent’s family and co-workers. Please be mindful of the things you write, repeat, or share – especially when there is absolutely no truth in them.”
A GBI agent passed away this week and there are online rumors that it was somehow connected to the election. This baseless claim is irresponsible & reckless. (1/2)
— GA Bureau of Investigation (@GBI_GA) December 16, 2020
People responded to the thread on Twitter in different ways. “I’m very sorry to hear of this. I’m especially sorry to hear that people are adding to the grief with conspiracy theories,” wrote one. “I am so sorry for the loss of your agent. Condolences to his family, friends and coworkers. I am horrified that people have made his death into a conspiracy theory about the election.”
Here’s what you need to know:
The Conspiracy Theories Focus on the Recent Death of a Senator’s Aide
The conspiracy theory focuses, without evidence, on the death of Harrison Deal, an aide to U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler, in a traffic crash. Conspiracy theorists speculate that the agent might have been investigating that death. We asked GBI whether he was but the agency referred us to the above tweets as its only commentary.
According to what the Senator wrote on Twitter, Deal was a 20-year-old Georgia student who worked as Loeffler’s field staffer when he lost his life in a December 4 car crash. His father Curt Deal is a Bulloch County Commissioner.
“It is with an extremely heavy heart that we mourn the loss of Harrison Deal. My heart aches for his family, and Jeff and I will continue to surround them in love and prayer in the days ahead. Harrison was a beloved member of our campaign team,” wrote Loeffler, a Republican who is currently in a runoff election that could determine control of the U.S. Senate.
Statement from the Kemp Family on the Passing of Harrison Deal: pic.twitter.com/l5uSWuo05H
— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) December 4, 2020
According to her Facebook page, Deal was dating Lucy Kemp, the daughter of Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.
Pooler police, not GBI, first responded to the scene. “Pooler Police are currently on scene with a major accident at 16 East bound and Pooler Parkway, including one vehicle on fire,” they wrote on Facebook. Three vehicles were involved in the crash on I-16 East.
Attorney L. Lin Wood is among those slinging questions on Twitter.
— Lin Wood (@LLinWood) December 16, 2020
Deal stood up for Gov. Kemp on Facebook, writing, “I will never be ashamed of this man. To have known him personally for the past two years, I can assure you the information currently being spread about him is completely false. He is the furthest thing from a corrupt man. He will always stand up for what’s right and what’s in the best interest for the people of Georgia.”
According to the Statesboro Herald, “a flatbed truck hauling black plastic tubing struck his (Deal’s) vehicle from behind.” The story does say the GBI had some involvement in the investigation. “Monday afternoon, Deal’s body was escorted from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab in Pooler to Deal Funeral Directors in Statesboro,” it reads.
O’Sullivan Worked for GBI as a Crime Scene Specialist
O’Sullivan’s LinkedIn page lists him as a Special Agent at Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
A December 16, 2020 obituary says that James David “Jamie” O’Sullivan, age 51, passed away Monday at his residence. A cause of death was not given.
“The native of Statesboro was raised in Effingham County. He was a graduate of Effingham County High School and Georgia Southern University,” the obituary says,
According to the obit, “Jamie began his law enforcement Career in 1999 as a police officer with the Savannah Police Department and began his employment with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation on March 16, 2007. He was assigned to the State Drug Task Force and the Tri-Circuit Drug Task Force before transferring to the Region 5-Statesboro Regional Office in 2009, where he was assigned as a special agent III-crime scene specialist.”