BOCA RATON, Fla. - A Florida college professor is stirring controversy with his claims that last month's Newtown, Conn., school shootings did not happen as reported -- or may not have happened at all.
James Tracy, a professor at Florida Atlantic University, has said in radio interviews and on his blog that trained "crisis actors" may have been employed by President Barack Obama's administration in an effort to drum up public support for gun control, the Sun Sentinel reported.
"As documents relating to the Sandy Hook shooting continue to be assessed and interpreted by independent researchers, there is a growing awareness that the media coverage of the massacre of 26 children and adults was intended primarily for public consumption to further larger political ends," writes Tracy, a tenured associate professor of media history at FAU and a former union leader, the newspaper reported.
In another post, he says, "While it sounds like an outrageous claim, one is left to inquire whether the Sandy Hook shooting ever took place -- at least in the way law enforcement authorities and the nation's news media have described."
Tracy said he is troubled by the lack of surveillance video or still images from the scene, confusion of the timeline of events and how the man accused of opening fire was able to fire off so many shots in just minutes.
In an interview Monday, the newspaper reported that Tracy said "while it appears that people lost their lives" at Sandy Hook Elementary on Dec. 14, he is not fully convinced that a lone gunman shot 20 children and six adults before killing himself.
Tracy said he believes the children at Sandy Hook may have died as the result of a training exercise.
"Overall, I'm saying the public needs more information to assess what took place," he said. "We don't have that. And when the media and the public don't have that, various sorts of ideas can arise."
FAU is distancing itself from Tracy's views.
"James Tracy does not speak for the university. The website on which his post appeared is not affiliated with FAU in any way," media director Lisa Metcalf told the newspaper.
Tracy said also has doubts about the official version of the Kennedy assassination, the Oklahoma City bombing, the 9-11 terror attacks and the Aurora, Colo., theater murders.