HuffPost Duped By Phony Witness To Police Shooting Near St. Louis

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The Huffington Post on Tuesday night was apparently tricked by a Twitter user who offered a phony eyewitness account of a fatal police shooting in Berkeley, Missouri.

St. Louis County police said a Berkeley police officer was conducting a routine business check on a gas station at about 11:15 p.m. when he approached two men. One man allegedly pulled a handgun and pointed it at the officer, who fired several shots that fatally wounded the man while the second man fled.

Authorities have not identified the victim, but a woman named Toni Martin told reporters that the victim was her 18-year-old son Antonio.

A Twitter user with the handle @DesJuanTheThug, going by the name Jesús Cristo, caught the Huffington Post’s attention with these tweets:

Christo declined to speak to the Huffington Post over the phone and instead relayed his story through direct messages on Twitter, according to screenshots of the original article captured by BuzzFeed.

Christo told the Huffington Post he and Antonio Martin were stopped by an officer who said they fit descriptions of recent robbery suspects and tried to search them. He said Martin refused, and the officer then opened fire after Martin refused orders to lay on the ground.

Sebastian Murdock, who wrote the story for HuffPost, later said he was duped:

The correction at the bottom of of Murdock’s post now reads:

A previous version of this story included an interview with a man claiming to have been at the scene of the shooting and friends with the deceased. As police have released statements saying the second person involved in the incident has fled the scene, the source is now suggesting he was never there.

British news site The Independent also appears to have altered its article on the shooting after it sourced Christo’s phony account from the Huffington Post.

Christo later gloated about the whole thing:

h/t Washington Post

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