WALLED LAKE, Mich. – Family members impacted by the Oakland County shooting that made national headlines last month are sharing the story of how online conspiracy theories influenced the shooter’s motive.
On Sept. 11 around 4 a.m., 53-year-old Igor Lanis fatally shot his wife and dog and injured one of his two daughters in their Walled Lake home.
Police were called by injured 25-year-old Rachel Lanis, saying that she and her mother had been shot by her father.
Oakland County officials and police from neighboring communities came to the Lanis family home to assess the situation. When they arrived, Igor Lanis started shooting at officials with a Remington 870 shotgun, which led to him being fatally shot by police, authorities said.
Rebecca Lanis, 21, was at a birthday sleepover at a friend’s house and received the news from her grandparents later that day.
Gregory Kremenchugsky, 84, is the grandfather of Rachel and father of Igor Lanis’ wife, 56-year-old Tina Lanis. Kremenchugsky said the last time he saw his daughter was three days before the shooting.
“She was a perfect mother, a perfect daughter,” said Kremenchugsky.
The grandfather told Local 4 that his granddaughter Rachel made the initial 911 call, and she was so afraid that she could hardly say the address of her home. Kremenchugsky stated that dispatchers had to figure out the cellphone location of the originating call so they could send police to the Walled Lake home.
Kremenchugsky’s granddaughter tried to escape the house by crawling away from her father. Police were able to drag her away from the dangerous situation and took her to a local hospital to be treated.
Officials found Kremenchugsky’s daughter Tina shot multiple times in the back as she tried to escape her house.
“We were devastated,” said Kremenchugsky after learning how his only daughter was killed.
Family members say they did not know Igor Lanis had a gun, and no one in the family voiced any concerns. Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said that officers had not been to the Walled Lake home before the shooting on Sept. 11. Neighbors say that there were no indicators that anything was going on with Igor Lanis and that he stuck to himself.
“It’s impossible to say with a high degree of confidence what was the final straw, what triggered that final moment that night,” said Bouchard. “If someone is experiencing anxiety about the government and conspiracies and ‘how do I protect myself and my family?’ Intuitively, it doesn’t make sense to me a long, long-time investigator that the answer is to kill your own family.”
So why did Igor Lanis shoot his wife to death and tried to kill one of his daughters?
Kremenchugsky and his granddaughters, Rebecca and Rachel, blame QAnon. The grandfather said Igor Lanis’ behavior started spiraling two years ago when he would talk a lot about online conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 vaccination, Trump losing the election and overall online extremism. Kremenchugsky’s son-in-law would send him conspiracy videos from time to time.
The QAnon conspiracy began in 2017, claiming that global elites and members of the Democratic party were members of a pedophilic, Satanic cult that trafficked children. In 2020 the conspiracy which reached mainstream American politics grew to include the false conspiracy that the 2020 election was stolen, former President Trump would be reinstated to begin executions of political opponents and the COVID-19 pandemic was planned. The QAnon conspiracy also believes that COVID-19 vaccines were meant to be a form of population control.
The family told Local 4 that Igor Lanis was getting treatment for some mental health issues, but authorities say there are no records of that.