US congressman sued for wrongly identifying Kansas man as mass shooter

<span>Tim Burchett on Capitol Hill in Washington DC in October 2023.</span><span>Photograph: Leah Millis/Reuters</span>
Tim Burchett on Capitol Hill in Washington DC in October 2023.Photograph: Leah Millis/Reuters
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

A Kansas man is suing a US congressman after he was falsely identified as a shooter at the Kansas City Chiefs’ celebration parade.

Denton Loudermill Jr, 48, filed a suit against the Republican US representative Tim Burchett of Tennessee on Monday in the US district court in Kansas City.

Loudermill accused Burchett of calling him an “illegal alien” and “shooter” in a series of social media posts after the 14 February shooting, when at least one person was killed and 21 were injured.

In a viral post, Burchett allegedly shared a photo of Loudermill seated on a curb in handcuffs with the caption: “One of the Kansas City Chiefs victory parade shooters has been identified as an illegal immigrant.”

But Loudermill was not the shooter.

Police had briefly detained Loudermill for “moving too slow” as he attempted to exit the chaotic scene, the lawsuit states. He was later walked a few blocks away from the area and released by police. Loudermill was never arrested or charged for the shooting.

“At no time did [Loudermill] have any connection to or participation in any shooting,” the lawsuit stated.

The 48-year-old was also in the country legally, originally from Olathe, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City.

Days later, Burchett reshared a screenshot of his original post, clarifying that Loudermill was not “an illegal alien” but still identifying him as “one of the shooters”.

“It has come to my attention that in one of my previous posts, one of the shooters was identified as an illegal alien. This was based on multiple, incorrect news reports stating that. I have removed the post,” Burchett wrote.

Loudermill alleges that he received death threats because of Burchett’s posts. He also experienced “periods of anxiety, agitation, and sleep disruption”, the suit states.

“This is never going to go away for me. This is going to go away for him. I will still have people looking at me and judging me for what he said,” Loudermill told the Washington Post.

Loudermill is now seeking $75,000 in damages for Burchett’s actions.

A spokesperson for Burchett told the Guardian that their office could not provide any comment on pending or active litigation.

Three people have been charged with second-degree murder in connection to the Kansas City mass shooting.

At least three juveniles have also been charged separately in the case, including a 15-year-old boy, CBS News reported.