Navy Yard shooting shows damage done when media gets story wrong

The man who was wrongly identified by journalists as the shooter at the Washington Navy Yard is providing a little glimpse into what happens when the news media can’t wait to get a story right: The FBI shows up at your door.

Rollie Chance tells the Huffington Post this afternoon:

“The first thing that [the FBI agent] said — I guess he was trying to calm me down because I was nervous — [he tried to] liven up the situation by saying, ‘I didn’t have a good day because you are the first shooter who came back to life,'” Chance said. “I didn’t know until then that I was accused of being the shooter and was apparently dead.”

There are benefits to being presumed dead in a situation like this one. For one thing, Chance didn’t receive any threats from people who thought he was the shooter. But there are obvious horrors as well. Friends and family began frantically calling, as did church groups, neighbors and teachers at his daughter’s school.

“The first thing they were worried about was that they got the report that I was dead,” he said. “I was supposed to be the shooter and shooter was killed. So, there was a lot of emotion. Many of the teachers at my daughter’s school thought I was dead. So the first thing I let them know was that I was alive and I was OK.”

Chance says his 75-year-old-mother has been hounded by the press and so has he.

“I’m looking for something like this not to happen to anyone else,” he said when asked why he decided to speak out.

Not a chance.