LOS ANGELES – Fox News Channel mistakenly reported that a man was shot while being pursued by police in Baltimore, Maryland, Fox anchorman Shepard Smith said.
Smith told viewers that reporter Mike Tobin’s mistake came during a chaotic situation Monday afternoon and was an “honest and straightforward” error and one that was corrected promptly.
Tobin had reported the shooting on Fox’s “The Real Story,” telling host Gretchen Carlson that he saw police officers chase a fleeing man and that an officer had fired and hit the man.
But Baltimore police denied that a shooting had occurred. A black man was arrested in the incident, which came days after riots hit the city where another black man, Freddie Gray, died after being taken into police custody.
After hearing Tobin’s account of events and a police denial given on-air to Fox reporter Leland Vittert, Smith addressed the initial story.
“And the truth is, according to police, there is no gunshot victim,” Smith said, later adding, “Nobody has been shot. No police officer has pulled the trigger. And on behalf of Mike Tobin and the rest of our crew there and the rest of us at Fox News, I am very sorry for the error and glad we were able to correct it quickly.”
In a separate report, Tobin offered an account but no apology.
“It would be very hard to duplicate a situation that looked more like a guy being shot,” Tobin said. He, his security team and cameraman thought the officer had his gun drawn and, after hearing a shot, saw the fleeing man on the ground.
“I arrived at the conclusion that the individual had been shot, as you naturally would in a situation like that,” Tobin said. The man looked to be in “bad shape,” he said.
The incident happened in the same area where police first spotted Gray before his arrest. Six officers were charged Friday in Gray’s death.
On Monday, Lt. Col. Melvin Russell said police pursued a man who was spotted on surveillance cameras and appeared to be armed with a handgun. Police said the man was taken into custody after a brief chase, during which a gunshot was heard.
Russell said that police never fired their weapons and that no one was shot. Police recovered a handgun loaded with three rounds, one of which was spent. The man was uninjured and didn’t want to go to a hospital, but was taken in an ambulance anyway, he said.
The arrest drew a crowd of protesters who chanted, “Black community, control the police!”