Social Media is now boiling with rage, much of it racially charged, surrounding the March murder of Shane Varnadore, 28, a Papa John’s deliveryman in Gwinnett County, Georgia. The recent social media activity is likely linked to recent events in Dallas.
14 year old Reginald Lofton, and Jermaine Young, 21, were charged soon after the murder with robbing and killing Varnadore when he arrived at an apartment complex to deliver pizza. Lofton was charged as an adult.
Police said the suspects stole all four pizzas that Varnadore was carrying, and nothing else.
Both Lofton and Young were reportedly from the Chicago area and moved to Georgia to escape their troubled pasts. Young’s mother told WSB-Atlanta that her son wasn’t even supposed to be in Georgia on the day of the murder but had missed his bus back to Chicago.
WSB-TV also reported that just before the murder, both suspects posted photos to Facebook allegedly brandishing the same gun authorities say was used to slay Vernadore.
At the suspects’ preliminary hearing in late March, police said they found the murder weapon inside pancake mix boxes in an apartment, and that three of the four purloined pizza boxes were found hidden behind the apartment’s washers and dyers.
At the time of the hearing, Varnadore’s mother, Teresa, told WSB that “It’s been a lot to process over a short period of time. I’m glad they got the guys who did this and it’s terrible that three people’s lives have been ruined over a stupid act”
In light of this summer’s police shootings, some social media commentators have this week been quick to point out a lack of media coverage for Varnadore’s death as compared to the recent shooting deaths by police of some African American victims.
@mikelbtko Google Shane Varnadore: 152 under News
Google Alton Sterling: 1.3 million under News.
— Fasc (@FascBear) July 12, 2016
Since March, other social media commentators made coarse observations about the case. Heat Street is not showing them.
Some users were Tweeting “His Name is Shane Vernadore”. The “name is” slogan is often used by social media users seeking to draw attention to what they believe are the unsung murders of white people.
Vernadore’s family and friends have, however, taken the high road. They have established a GoFundMe page seeking donations to help remember the handsome young man and help provide for his niece’s future. The fund has raised double its $5,000 goal.
Varnadore’s mother told WSB her son was young, athletic and creative, had worked for Papa John’s for seven years, and was adored by his young niece.