Some news reports of a shooting at Washington, D.C.'s Navy Yard on Thursday didn't just blow the details. A few reporters got the whole story wrong, says the Washington Post. “Multiple sources confirm there was a shooting at Navy Yard just after 7:30 a.m.,” Washington's Fox station, WTTG (Channel 5), tweeted as reporters and law enforcement personnel converged on the scene. In fact, there was no shooting, only reports of one, apparently based on a single phone call to D.C. police from someone within the complex.
For brief and tense moments, some media outlets reported otherwise, summoning up grim memories of the September 2013 shootings that left 12 Navy Yard workers dead. A few minutes after its first alert, the station relayed information it said came from reporter Paul Wagner: “2 law enforcement sources say TWO armed men seen inside #NavyYard bldg 197, 1 possible victim,” with a link to a story on the station's Web page. In fact, there were no armed men, other than police, and no victim inside Building 197, the site of the 2013 shooting. Reporters for at least one other station, WUSA-TV, “confirmed” the idea that a shooting had taken place rather than a mere report of a possible shooting.