“I will be taking a step back from politics to focus on my family and serving my community in more productive ways.”
A Phoenix school board candidate who publicly misidentified the gunman in last week’s Westgate Entertainment District shooting as a “left-wing LGBTQ” college student has dropped out of the race.
On Thursday, the day Glendale police released the identity of the shooter, Scott Weinberg tweeted a link to a photo of an Arizona State University student that had the same name but was not involved. The student was on a list of youth ambassadors for an LGBTQ advocacy group.
“Since the #AZMedia refuses to do their job (as usual) here is your #Westgate shooter,” Weinberg wrote.
The candidate for the Kyrene School District Governing Board deleted the tweet after multiple people pointed out his mistake. After deleting the offensive tweet, he issued an apology, and then deleted his Twitter account.
Equality Arizona admonished Weinberg’s actions.
“Mr. Weinberg took to social media to falsely accuse and baselessly attack a young man who is a member of the LGBTQ community, of participating in [Wednesday’s] shooting,” the nonprofit said in a statement. “Mr. Weinberg’s attack was not only a lie, it was also an attack propagated this young person simply because they are an out and proud advocate for equality for all.”
Weinberg announced on Tuesday that he would be dropping out of the school board race. All campaign contributions will be refunded, he said.
“In addition to my general apology, I want to apologize directly to the young man I unintentially [sic] misidentified, Arizona State University, The Human Rights Campaign, and the LGBTQ community at large,” Weinberg said in the post.
“I will be taking a step back from politics to focus on my family and serving my community in more productive ways,” he added.
A 20-year-old man went to the Westgate retail complex in Glendale last Wednesday and wounded three people with an assault rifle, according to police. One person was critically injured while the other two were expected to recover.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.