The Washington Post took heat Monday for the outlet’s initial headline for a story about the suspected University of Virginia shooter, who is accused of killing three people and injuring at least two others Sunday night.
The 22-year-old suspect, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., is a UVA student and former college football player and is now in custody, the police said Monday.
In its initial post, the Washington Post tweeted that the suspect had a “troubled childhood, but then flourished,” and the accompanying story had the same headline. The outlet deleted the tweet, but the headline still appeared on the PostLocal account. It then changed the headline to, “Suspected U-Va. gunman was scrutinized by threat assessment team for weapon, police say.”
Social media users were quick to notice.
The Post’s write-up of the suspect highlighted his childhood in public housing and his responsibilities to his younger siblings.
“Jones, who is listed in U-Va.’s student directory as an undergraduate in the College of Arts & Sciences, spent his early years living in Richmond public housing complexes, where it was often too dangerous to play outside, the Richmond-Times Dispatch reported,” the piece read. “At night, while his mother worked, Jones was sometimes responsible for feeding his three siblings, walking to nearby grocery stores to pick up Ramen noodles or bologna. When he was 5, his parents divorced and his father left, a loss that he called ‘one of the most traumatic things that happened to me in my life.'”
“‘When I went to school, people didn’t understand me,’ said Jones, then 18, telling a reporter that he attacked other children who bullied him for being smart, leading to suspensions and stints in alternative school,” the piece continued.
“Yikes,” Clay Travis said of the Post headline, while another called the editorial decision to highlight Jones’ “troubled” upbringing “unbelievable.”
The Washington Post didn’t respond to a request for comment.
UVA President Jim Ryan confirmed in a message to the community Monday that Jones was a student ahead of his apprehension.
“As of writing this, I am heartbroken to report the shooting has resulted in three fatalities; two additional victims were injured and are receiving medical care,” Ryan wrote. “Our University Police Department has joined forces with other law enforcement agencies to apprehend the suspect, and we will keep our community apprised for developments as the situation evolves.”
UVA Police Chief Timothy J. Longo thanked a captain for notifying him that Jones had been taken into custody somewhere off-campus in a Monday press conference.
“I just need a moment to thank God and breathe a sigh of relief,” Longo said.
Fox News’ Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.