A Massachusetts metalcore band has responded to reports that the 24-year-old man behind Sunday morning’s mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio was wearing one of its hoodies when he opened fire on a nightclub, killing nine people.
The reports stem from unverified, graphic photos purporting to show the shooter’s dead body after he was fatally shot by local police, as well as a tweet from broadcast journalist Jim Heath.
According to Heath, the shooters’s sweatshirt featured lyrics from the Acacia Strain’s song “Ramirez,” which he called “hateful and vengeful.” (Stereogum has refuted that claim as “sensationalistic,” describing the song as being “written from a place of anger and depression.”)
“No heart to fear, no soul to steal,” the sweatshirt reportedly read on the back.
Suspect in #Dayton shooting was wearing shorts with a black sweatshirt that read: "No heart to fear, no soul to steal."— Jim Heath (@JimHeathTV) August 4, 2019
The slogan is believed to be from a hateful and vengeful song called Ramirez by The Acacia Strain, a metalcore band.
Vincent Bennett, frontman for the Acacia Strain, went on Twitter to tell fans that the shooter’s alleged support of his band made him “sick,” adding “I’m f***ing shaking.”
He also took pains to distance the band from the violence on display in Dayton, writing, “anyone who knows anything knows we don’t condone this behavior.” Bennett went on to offer support to those impacted by the shooting, and later retweeted a GoFundMe page for a woman who was shot in the leg during the attack.
We will be taking action to help the families of the victims however we can.— low-carb vincent. (@xDIAMONDCUTx) August 4, 2019
Music is an outlet. Music should purify. Use art as a positive outlet to your negative emotions. If you feel angry - turn to music, turn to creation. This has to stop.— low-carb vincent. (@xDIAMONDCUTx) August 4, 2019
Bennett also shut down a since-deleted tweet accusing him of spreading a “death message.”
“My death message”? Sharon, I’ve spent the last serveral tours - including the one this hoodie was available at - speaking about striving to be a better person. Speaking about positivity and finding someone to talk to; instead of violent actions. Don’t tell me what my message is. https://t.co/vqDiaf8lP2— low-carb vincent. (@xDIAMONDCUTx) August 4, 2019
He is now pushing back against accusations of promoting violence through music by sharing positive messages and retweeting upbeat photos from Acacia Strain performances.
Please be good to one another. Hold on to your loved ones and never let them go. Surround yourselves with people who make you happy, and strive to be the person that makes everyone smile.— low-carb vincent. (@xDIAMONDCUTx) August 4, 2019
Again - I can’t say this enough - Be good to one another.— low-carb vincent. (@xDIAMONDCUTx) August 5, 2019
Don’t hold grudges. Let the small stuff go. Enjoy your lives and make as many people happy as you can. We are here once. Let’s do it right.
Meanwhile, Heath’s tweet prompted metal fans to accuse him of trying to link the music to violent behavior.
“Are you seriously blaming a song for his actions?” read one reaction. “I’ve listened to metal since I was a kid and never once have I ever thought of hurting someone.”
oh man thanks for the heads up, I almost listened to this song earlier but now that I've dodged it fortunately that means I won't be tempted to go and purchase an assault rifle and murder some of my fellow americans in cold blood!!! good looking out television's Jimothy Heath🤡🤡— soulja blegh (@MarcosSOTS) August 4, 2019
The band played in Detroit last night, between songs He gave a speech talking about how he stopped looking at the world through anger, and started loving life, and wanted all of the people attending to start living life to its fullest. This band does NOT encourage hatred.— ☿ 𝕭𝖎𝖙𝖈𝖍𝕶𝖎𝖓𝖌 ☿ (@PainxPiss) August 4, 2019
This is the most outlandish and fallacious inference possible. Someone’s music choice does not reflect their actions and to drag a band’s name through the mud for some attention on Twitter is pathetic.— reid (@reidx55) August 4, 2019
Read more from Yahoo Entertainment:
Want daily pop culture news delivered to your inbox? Sign up here for Yahoo Entertainment & Lifestyle’s newsletter.