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Washington Post Headline on Suspected UVA Shooter Raises Eyebrows

Manuel Balce Ceneta

The Washington Post became the center of scrutiny after publishing a story about the background of the suspected shooter at the University of Virginia with a headline that sounds like it's the beginning of a puff piece.


 "Suspected U-Va. gunman had troubled childhood, but then flourished," was the headline on the Post's story about 22-year-old Christopher Darnell Jones Jr, who is accused of killing three people and wounding two others with a firearm, Sunday evening.

The Post said Jones' trouble past included growing up in a rough neighborhood in Richmond and he had been bullied at school:

Jones, who is listed in U-Va.’s student directory as an undergraduate in the College of Arts & Sciences, spent his early years living in Richmond public housing complexes, where it was often too dangerous to play outside, the Richmond-Times Dispatch reported. At night, while his mother worked, Jones was sometimes responsible for feeding his three siblings, walking to nearby grocery stores to pick up Ramen noodles or bologna. When he was 5, his parents divorced and his father left, a loss that he called 'one of the most traumatic things that happened to me in my life.'

'When I went to school, people didn’t understand me,' said Jones, then 18, telling a reporter that he attacked other children who bullied him for being smart, leading to suspensions and stints in alternative school.

The Post also reported when they called Jones' mother, the only thing she would say was, "I can tell you now that Chris was a good kid," before hanging up.

The Washington Post deleted the tweet promoting the story on their main account once users started their criticisms but, as of press time, it is still up on the Post Local Twitter account. Jokes were about how the Post's headline was similar to when they described Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the evil leader of ISIS, as an "austere religious scholar."


Jones was taken into custody Monday morning following an overnight search for his whereabouts after the shooting.

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