Media names the wrong guy in shooting; he’s upset

This isn’t the first time this has happened. There was Richard Jewell at the Atlanta Olympics. More recently there was the Newtown shooting and Ryan Lanza. There have been others. You’d think we’d learn.

But now here’s Rollie Chance, who was wrongly named in the Naval Yard shooting …

The 50-year-old retired chief petty officer with the U.S. Navy was briefly identified as the Washington Navy Yard shooter that morning, only to have the news organizations circulating his name hastily retract their reports.

What ensued was a life-altering swirl of events and emotions that will forever change his life, especially because the 12 people who were killed that day — by the gunman Aaron Alexis, not him — included former colleagues and friends.

“I have to feel the impact,” Chance said, in a phone interview with The Huffington Post on Friday morning, the first he’s granted to a non-television outlet. “Not only did it impact me in terms of changing my way of life, it impacted my family, and also I lost friends at the Washington Navy Yard.”

His is an incredible story, worth reading. And while you do, remember: the work we do impacts people. Make sure you do yours right. Even in, especially in, chaotic settings.

A friend likes to say “first is the enemy of accurate.” Sometimes — life and death or personal identification — that’s more true than we realize. Remember, too, that some law enforcement officer gave out Chance’s name somewhere along the way. They are in a chaotic environment, too, in a situation like that. Errors happen. Be careful you don’t repeat them.

Here is a collection of other news errors in that shooting story.

Update: I mentioned Richard Jewell above. Here he is telling his own tale, just before his 2007 death.

Keep that in mind …


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