A syndicated Reuters article that ran in The New York Times, Global News, and the National Post among other outlets spread misinformation about the recent shooting at a Texas church. The article made the claim that the man who opened fire on parishioners had his own gun range. In fact, the security guard who took down the shooter was the one who owned and operated a training facility and trained parishioners.
The incorrect Reuters article read: “The gunman who opened fire in a Texas church on Sunday, killing two before dying from gunshot wounds, owned a shooting range and had taught its parishioners how to shoot, the Texas Attorney General said on Monday.”
The shooting took place on Sunday, December 29th at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas. A man opened fire, killing two, before volunteer security guard Jack Wilson pulled his gun and shot him. The shooter sat with worshipers before standing up and killing Anton Wallace and Richard White.
This misleading headline in Global News “Gunman in Texas church shooting owned gun range, gave lessons: state prosecutor” has since been changed to “Firearms instructor took out gunman at Texas church service” and Global has replaced the Reuters story with an Associated Press story.
Global’s Editor’s Note read: “The previous story and headline by Reuters read that the gunman owned a shooting range and gave lessons, which was incorrect. In fact, the man who took down the gunman was the one who was a firearms instructor. The incorrect Reuters story has been replaced with a story by The Associated Press.”
The New York Times changed their headline to: “Story on Assailant in Texas Church Training Worshippers Is Withdrawn”
The National Post has not retracted or replaced their article as of yet.
Reuters retracted their story. The New York Times pulled their story with this incorrect information.
Misinformation travels fast, and the corrections flew furiously for hours online. Tweets with the misleading information remained up despite the story being replaced or pulled by the outlets. The information originated with Reuters, which is an essential source for accurate information. One misstep and every news source finds itself with retractions, apologies, and replacements.