Acacia Strain Singer Says Report That Dayton Shooter Wore Band Hoodie Is 'Making Me Sick'

AP Photo/John Minchillo
Authorities collect evidence markers at the scene of a mass shooting on Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio.

The singer of Massachusetts metalcore band The Acacia Strain has spoken out after reports surfaced Sunday that the alleged gunman in a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, that left nine dead and at least 27 wounded was wearing his band's merch during the rampage in an entertainment district.

"What happened in Dayton is horrifying. Even more so to know that the shooter was wearing a TAS hoodie is making me sick," tweeted singer Vincent Bennett. (A spokesperson for the band confirmed that the account belongs to Bennett.) "There is no excuse for this. Anyone who knows anything knows we don’t condone this behavior. No one has the right to take another’s life." 

Bennett, who wrote a short time later that he was "fucking shaking," said in a follow-up tweet that the band plans to take action to help the families of the victims "however we can."

The responses came after Dayton TV reporter Jim Heath called out the band's "hateful and vengeful" song "Ramirez" in response to a reported photo showing the alleged gunman wearing an Acacia Strain hoodie featuring lyrics from the song, according to Loudwire. "Suspect in #Dayton shooting was wearing shorts with a black sweatshirt that read: 'No heart to fear, no soul to steal,'" Heath tweeted on Sunday. "The slogan is believed to be from a hateful and vengeful song called Ramirez by The Acacia Strain, a metalcore band"; Billboard has not been able to independently verify the reports that the alleged shooter was photographed in the TAS hoodie. "Ramirez" is featured on the band's fifth album, Wormwood, released in July 2010.

A spokesperson for The Acacia Strain could not be reached for further comment at press time. Slipknot's Corey Taylor stepped up on Sunday to defend Bennett and TAS in a tweet lashing out at Heath's reporting. "No. You don't get to fucking do that," Taylor wrote. "This isn't about a fucking t shirt. And the Acacia Strain are not a hateful or vengeful band. Blame the KILLER; not the fucking WARDROBE. You Ghoul."

The murderous rampage in Dayton was the second mass shooting in the nation in just 13 hours over the weekend, following on the heels of an even deadlier incident on Saturday in El Paso, Texas, where another man armed with military-style assault weapons killed 22 people in a Walmart store. The Dayton massacre was carried out by a 24-year-old man reportedly armed with a .223-caliber assault-style rifle, body armor, a mask, ear protection and extra magazines capable of firing up to 100 rounds. It was the 251st mass shooting of the the year so far, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Additionally, the nine killed -- which included the gunman's sister -- made it the deadliest mass shooting in Ohio in more than 13 years.

The horrifying violence brought out strong reactions from a number of artists, including Cardi BJohn LegendRihannaBrandi Carlile, Bebe Rexha and Chuck D, with Rihanna pointedly calling out President Trump over his response to the shootings, writing, "Imagine a world where it’s easier to get an AK-47 than a VISA! Imagine a world where they build a wall to keep terrorists IN AMERICA!!! My prayers and deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of all the victims from Texas, California, and Ohio! I’m so sorry for your loss! Nobody deserves to die like this! NOBODY!"

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Um... Donald, you spelt “terrorism” wrong! Your country had 2 terrorist attacks back to back, hours apart leaving almost 30 innocent people dead. This, just days after yet another terrorist attack in California, where a terrorist was able to LEGALLY purchase an assault rifle (AK-47) in Vegas, then drive hours to a food festival in Cali leaving 6 more people dead including a young infant baby boy! Imagine a world where it’s easier to get an AK-47 than a VISA! Imagine a world where they build a wall to keep terrorists IN AMERICA!!! My prayers and deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of all the victims and the communities affected and traumatized, from Texas, California, and Ohio! I’m so sorry for your loss! Nobody deserves to die like this! NOBODY!

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Blink-182 postponed their planned concert in El Paso on Sunday following in "solidarity with the community," which was shaken amid reports that the alleged shooter left behind a rambling manifesto that tagged the slaughter as a "response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas," using troubling anti-immigrant language that The New York Times reported "echoes" the hate-filled, divisive rhetoric often used by Trump in his public comments on immigration.

On Monday morning (Aug. 5), Trump made his first public statement about the two shootings more than 48 hours after the first took place, following a series of tweets in the 48 hours after the incidents in which he offered thoughts and prayers from himself and the first lady and announced that flags would be flown at half-staff amid yet another push promoting what he called "desperately needed immigration reform." Monday morning's White House comments focused on violence in video games, the Internet, mental health and a condemnation of "racism, bigotry and white supremacy," after Trump earlier suggested in a tweet that any effort to reboot long-delayed passage of "strong background checks" could be tied to immigration reform.


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