Rollie Chance, Misidentified Navy Yard Shooter, Thought Report Was Joke

Image: Rollie Chance, Misidentified Navy Yard Shooter, Thought Report Was Joke Rollie Chance holds a box displaying his ranks and awards earned during his Naval career.

Wednesday, 25 Sep 2013 03:23 PM

By Michael Mullins

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Rollie Chance, a former sailor who worked in the DC Navy Yard for years, both as a member of the military and as a civilian engineer, was misidentified as the shooter by two major news outlets the day of the massacre.

Hours after the shooting occurred, NBC News tweeted Chance's name as the shooter. CBS News mentioned Chance in tweets and a radio broadcast concerning the shooting, The Associated Press reported.

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Within minutes, both news organizations retracted the inaccurate reports.

Chance was unaware of the reports until he received a phone call from ABC News.

Chance, who initially thought the call was a prank, was taken aback when the caller informed him that he had been identified as the shooter.

"They verified before they vilified," Chance told the AP in reference to ABC.

Chance set the record straight during his phone conversation with ABC News.

On Monday, NBC News released a statement about the inaccurate report.

"We received misinformation from reliable sources and immediately corrected [it]," they said.

Sonya McNair, senior vice president of communications for CBS News, issued a similar statement.

"We reported what we learned from law enforcement sources and it was corrected within minutes," the organization said.

Days after the shooting, FBI agents visited Chance's home and concluded that he had no involvement in the shooting.

Still, "that day was pretty emotional. You're trying to alleviate any doubt in anyone's mind," Chance said, adding that family members received condolence flowers from others who believed Chance was the shooter and had been killed by authorities.

Chance appears to be seeking legal action against NBC and CBS, though he refused to comment on the matter with the AP.

Mark Cummings, Chance's attorney, said his client was in the process of contacting "NBC and CBS [to] see if we can begin discussions toward a settlement."

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The actual shooter, Aaron Alexis, 34, was a former Navy reservist who at the time of the shooting was a civilian contractor at the Navy Yard. Alexis killed 12 people and wounded three others during the massacre, using a sawed-off shotgun and a handgun to commit the murders, and not an AR-15 as had been inaccurately reported.

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