Attempting to Trace How the Picture of a Kid With Guns Became the TJ Lane Twitter Photo, Which It's Not


Update: Statement from news director at WOIO at the end of post.

First off: thoughts and prayers with the victims, friends, staff, students and families at Chardon High School after today's awful, awful shootings.

The news has been fast and furious since just around 8 a.m. this morning when a teenager opened fire in the cafeteria at Chardon high school, killing one and injuring four others.

Shockingly, not all of it has been accurate. And while social media is particularly wonderful in keeping the world up to date with breaking news in situations like this, it's also a medium through which misinformation flows rapidly. You know that already, though. The case of the alleged Twitter photo of "TJ Lane" is a good case study in case you need to be refreshed.

To be clear, the photos showing a teenager with two guns and a message that appears to read "02-26-12" and "high school massacre" are not of TJ Lane. Chardon students themselves have tweeted that it's not him.

But they've been dubbed as such by everyone from 19 Action News here in Cleveland to Alan Cox to Q104 to WBNQ in Bloomington, IN, not to mention about half of Twitter's users. (We've got a call in to WOIO to see what sort of confirmation they had before running the photo on the air and on their site. We'll let you know what we hear back.)

Steve Huff had been blogging the situation this morning and posted the supposed Twitter photos as well. He later removed them after actual photos of Lane from Facebook and the school yearbook emerged and looked dissimilar enough to the gun picture that commenters were raising questions.

The photos in question actually started showing up on Omegle last Friday with a message that the poster was going to storm his school with guns and kill everyone he could before killing himself.