An elderly couple in Southwest Florida has been getting death threats and frightening visits from X’s fans after a rumor circulated on social media, saying his killer stayed at their address.
One person showed up with a pizza and tried posing as a delivery guy in an attempt to ambush the supposed shooter.
“Of course, we did not order this pizza,” explained Laurie Bernard, the Cape Coral homeowner.
She told WINK News on Wednesday that her family got a call about 15 minutes later, informing them of the social media rumor.
“I was very nervous — and I still am,” Bernard said.
The man who tried to deliver the pizza was identified Wednesday by cops as 20-year-old Jesse Gonzalez, also of Cape Coral. He allegedly showed up around 11 p.m. Monday — just hours after X’s death — and then two more times on Tuesday.
Police said Gonzalez was confronted by residents in Bernard’s gated community at one point. He told them he was “looking for someone who killed his friend,” according to the police report, which was obtained by the Naples Daily News.
Authorities were called and Gonzalez was arrested for loitering and prowling. He was reportedly spotted using a social media app on his phone while outside Bernard’s home, though it’s unclear which one. The rumor about the killer living at her address originally surfaced on Instagram.
“Shame on you,” Bernard said of Gonzalez and others who’ve been making threats online.
“Shame on you for arbitrarily just picking an address and just believing what’s posted.”
Local attorney Joseph North told WINK that the septuagenarian could have a legal case on her hands.
“She has the right to file a claim of defamation if she can find out who was the original person that put that bad information out there,” North said.
For now, Bernard just wants people to stay away.
“I refuse to be forced out of my house because of people who threaten me,” she said. “If they were smart enough to get the address, look at our ages — 73 and 76. We can walk, [but] that’s about it. We’re not going out to try and kill anybody.”
Cops in Cape Coral have been keeping watch over Bernard’s home and neighborhood as a result of the online threats and visits. They’ve been posting statements on social media, informing users of the false rumors.
“Internet circulation of an address being attributed to a possible Broward County homicide suspect is INACCURATE, and the possible suspect has NO KNOWN CONNECTIONS to Cape Coral or Lee County,” officials said. “Due to the large number of online threats of violence toward the suspect (and thus toward this inaccurate Cape Coral address), both the Cape Coral Police Department and Lee County Sheriff’s Office have placed officers in the area/neighborhood of the inaccurate address as a safety measure for those in the area."
Police added, “Once more for emphasis and to anyone with the ill-advised idea of coming to an inaccurate location to do anyone harm: The Cape Coral Police Department is stressing today that internet circulation of an address being attributed to a possible Broward County homicide suspect is INACCURATE, and the possible suspect has NO KNOWN CONNECTIONS to Cape Coral or Lee County.”
This story originally appeared in the New York Post.