Matthew Renda

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April 17, 2013
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Law enforcement scolds media in bomb investigation leaks

Law enforcement officials conducting the high profile investigation of the Boston Marathon bombing attacks scolded media outlets for erroneously reporting a suspect had been apprehended.

Multiple media outlets, including the Associated Press, the Boston Globe and CNN reported a suspect had been arrested and was en route to the federal courthouse in Boston at around 11:15 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.

At about 11:37 a.m., the Boston Police Department tweeted that “Despite reports to the contrary there has not been an arrest in the Marathon attack.”

About 20 minutes later the Boston Division of the FBI released the following statement:

“Contrary to widespread reporting, no arrest has been made in connection with the Boston Marathon attack. Over the past day and a half, there have been a number of press reports based on information from unofficial sources that has been inaccurate. Since these stories often have unintended consequences, we ask the media, particularly at this early stage of the investigation, to exercise caution and attempt to verify information through appropriate official channels before reporting.”

The Associated Press reported that a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings was taken into custody at about 11:15 a.m. PST.

The news agency attributed the information to an unnamed law enforcement official close to the investigation.

“The official who spoke to The Associated Press did so on condition of anonymity and stood by the information ev†en after it was disputed,” the agency reported around noon as they walked their initial story back. “The official was not authorized to divulge details of the investigation. The official had said the suspect was expected in federal court in Boston. Reporters and police have converged at the courthouse.”

The official spoke shortly after several media outlets reported that a suspect had been identified from surveillance video taken at a Lord & Taylor store between the sites of the two bomb blasts, which killed three people and wounded more than 170.

The suspect was expected at a Boston courthouse under heavy security, the official said.

A news briefing was scheduled later Wednesday.

Law enforcement agencies had earlier pleaded for the public to come forward with photos, videos or any information that might help them solve the twin bombings. Police also gathered surveillance video from businesses around the finish line.

At 11:55 a.m. PST, The New Yorker tweeted, “History does not remember if you reported something first by two minutes. It does remember if you got it wrong.”

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email or 530-477-4239.

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The Union Updated Aug 22, 2013 04:22PM Published Apr 17, 2013 05:51PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.