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Police: Arrests possible for spreading false info on Facebook after shootings

By Agence France-Presse
Sunday, December 16, 2012 17:40 EDT
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Connecticut State Police Lieutenant Paul Vance speaks to the media regarding Friday's elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 15, 2012. Vance warned Sunday of misinformation circulating on social media about the massacre. Image via AFP
 
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Authorities investigating the deadly US school shooting warned Sunday of misinformation circulating on social media about the massacre.

Those spreading such fake details could be subject to arrest, Lieutenant Paul Vance of Connecticut State Police told reporters in the wake of Friday’s attack on the Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 26 people — including 20 children between the ages of six and seven.

The rampage in the peaceful rural community northeast of New York City rattled the country and sparked a frantic search for answers.

“All information relative to this case is coming from these microphones and any information coming from other sources cannot be confirmed and, in many cases, it has been found as inaccurate,” Vance said.

“There have been indications that there have been quotes by people who are posing as the shooter,” he added. “Anyone perpetrating that information, could, in fact, be subject to arrest and be prosecuted federally.”

Asked if anyone has been identified or questioned, Vance said: “They’re working on that right now.”

Reporting about the case has been marred by confusion and false leads.

Shortly after the story first broke, news reports surfaced referencing a Facebook page attributed to Ryan Lanza, the name initially believed to be that of the gunman, who was later identified as Adam Lanza.

It had first been floated after police found an ID bearing that name on the gunman’s body. The ID turned out to belong to the 20-year-old’s brother.

US media said reporters swarmed the home of another Ryan Lanza in New Jersey. A wrong Ryan Lanza also picked up a slew of followers on Twitter.

Adam Lanza, who also murdered his mother before heading to the school, killed himself following the slayings.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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