Rollie Chance was identified as the Washington Navy shooting suspect, according to reports. However, both NBC and CBS both retracted their reports about the suspect, triggering a Twitter backlash among journalists saying the two media entities jumped the gun.
NBC and CBS both reported that Chance was the shooter, however, Charlie Kaye of CBS News retracted a tweet identifying him as the shooter.
Kaye deleted his tweets shortly after.
In a tweet, CBS wrote: “Latest from CBS News: We are RETRACTING our reports that Rollie Chance was the Navy Yard shooter. There are questions now about the identity.”
“The confusion over the suspect’s name comes from conflicting law enforcement sources. That’s why we pulled back,” Chuck Todd with NBC tweeted. NBC’s Pete Williams said the “false name” was based on an ID card found on the scene.
But Kelly O’Donnell of NBC said that NBC’s investigative team ID’ed the shooter as Chance. Her tweet was retracted.
On Twitter, a number of reporters said that mainstream media entities often get breaking news wrong.
“For all criticism of Twitter misinformation, the traditional media doesn’t have a great track record either in reporting fast-breaking news,” Josh Kraushaar with the National Journal wrote.
Journalist Micah Grimes tweeted that “I never ID a mass shooting suspect on principle on my personal account. Also, because it’s often wrong on first report.”
Reuters seemed to take a shot at CBS and NBC.
“We will post confirmed information – not rumors – here on the live blog,” Reuters editor Margarita Noriega tweeted.
According to a LinkedIn account bearing the same name, Chance was a Lieutenant with the U.S. Navy.
The shooting left at least six people killed, reported The Associated Press, citing Navy sources.
Washington D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said there were two other potential shooters at the Washington Navy Yard were wearing military-style uniforms.
Other reports said the shooting suspect was a former Navy civilian employee