The father of a child killed during the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting testified that fans of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones showed up to his home demanding to see his dead son.
David Wheeler—whose son Ben was killed in the shooting—says that fans of Infowars host Jones were spurred by his conspiracy theories that the shooting never happened.
Wheeler recalled the moment that an individual "came to the house and knocked on the door" and insisted that Ben Wheeler was in the house and alive. He also said that he first learned from a friend that Jones was sharing conspiracy theories about the shooting.that claimed the lives of 20 students between the ages of six and seven as well as six staff members.
You can hear his remarks—delivered during Jones' latest defamation trial—below.
"After the shock of Ben's murder, it felt like I was underwater and I didn't know which way was up. You're grasping with that, trying to get your head around that."
"To have someone publicly telling the world that it didn't happen and that you're a fraud and a phony is incredibly disorienting... I couldn't figure it out."
"It felt like I was delegitimized in a way. It makes you feel like you don't matter, like what you went through doesn't matter."
Wheeler shared that he had to have difficult conversations with his surviving son, Nate, who was nine years old when the shooting occurred:
"For years he would ask me why anyone would do such a thing … Why Alex Jones would say these things." ...
"He said, 'Why is this happening?' and I didn't have an answer."
The trial is the second of three defamation trials for Jones, who last month was ordered to pay $45 million in damages to Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin, whose six-year-old son Jesse Lewis was killed in the shooting. For years, Jones suggested the shooting could have been a false flag "staged event" and the victims and families were just "crisis actors."
In perhaps the trial's most striking moment, Lewis took the witness stand and declared "my son existed," a repudiation of a man who for years elevated conspiracy theories claiming the shooting never happened.
Lewis looked Jones right in the eye as she took him to task for repeatedly lying about the shooting on his program, saying even though she knows he believed her, "you're going to leave this court house and you're going to say it again on your show."
Jones is testifying today and insisted under oath that he had not uttered the names of Sandy Hook parents on his program.
Many expressed hopes that Wheeler would also see justice and criticized Jones' actions.
The Sandy Hook shooting—the deadliest mass shooting at a school in United States history—attracted a seemingly endless number of conspiracy theories about the event.
Earlier this year, journalist Elizabeth Williamson published Sandy Hook: An American Tragedy and the Battle for Truth, which analyzed the effect that conspiracy theories had on families who lost their children.
Williamson also interviewed conspiracy theorists, including Kelley Watt, a grandmother of two from Tulsa, Oklahoma who sparked outrage after she said she is "proud" to harass families of the victims.
Watt claimed she spent a significant part of the last decade "researching" mass shootings, concluding that mass shootings are little more than "false flag" operations designed to strike fear and convince people to support comprehensive gun control legislation.
So extreme are Watt's beliefs they ended her marriage and harmed her relationships with her own children. Her daughter, Madison, told Williamson her mother is a narcissist who will never admit she is wrong, saying that it "would explode her own persona to allow any doubt to come in."