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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Chron blows story on bizarre shooting

This gives a whole new meaning to Pasa-Get-Down-Dena:
A 5-year-old Pasadena boy was injured while sleeping in his bedroom today when a bullet fired by a neighbor to break up a wasp's nest strayed and struck the boy. Pasadena police spokesman Sgt. J.M. Baird said Romeo Gonzalez, 18, was in his second-floor apartment at 3637 Shaver shortly after midnight when he decided to shoot at a wasp's nest hanging from a nearby tree. Romeo loaded a 12-gauge shotgun and fired at the wasp's nest. The shotgun pellet Gonzalez fired entered a first-floor bedroom where David Marban was sleeping, striking him in the thigh, Baird said.
But of course, it just wouldn't be a five-sentence Chron story without multiple errors. First of all, a shotgun does not fire a "bullet." In most cases, it fires multiple projectiles called "shot." Hence the clever term "shotgun." If it's loaded with a single projectile, it's called a slug, not "the shotgun pellet." Nitpicky? Maybe. But this sure isn't:
Due to erroneous police reports, an earlier online version of this story mistakenly reported the boy had been killed.
Nice one. To help the Chron produce high-quality news products in the future, I'm offering this handy-dandy rule of thumb I like to call "How to tell whether a shooting victim is dead." It even rhymes:
The meat wagon's doing eighty-five? The lucky victim's still alive. The body's hauled off in a black cargo van? The guy's off to see Mr. Coroner Man.
Feel free to write that on a card and stick it in your wallet for easy reference, intrepid Chron staffers!


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