Baltimore police quickly disputed the report on Twitter

By Tara Fowler
Updated May 05, 2015 08:55 AM
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Credit: Richard Drew/AP

Fox News anchor Shepard Smith was forced to issue an on-air retraction Monday after the network falsely reported that a black man had been shot while running from police officers in Baltimore.

At just after 2:45 p.m., reporter Mike Tobin, who was on the scene in Baltimore, phoned in to The Real Story and told host Gretchen Carlson he’d witnessed the man in question get shot.

Smith’s program was up next at 3 p.m., and he quickly tossed the broadcast to Tobin, who described what he’d seen, insisting the shooting had indeed happened despite “conflicting reports,” per Smith.

“Well, Shep, we don’t have to worry that much about confirmation because it happened right in front of our eyes,” Tobin said, according to The Washington Post.

“We saw a young black man running from a police officer and one shot came out, we counted one shot,” he added. “And ran up on the scene and found that man on the ground. I couldn’t get a look at his wound but he looked in bad shape.”

But Baltimore police quickly disputed that report, Tweeting: “The reports of a man being shot at North and Pennsylvania Ave are NOT true. Officers have arrested a man for a handgun at the location.”

Shortly after, Smith went live to reporter Leland Vittert, who asked a police officer on the scene about the alleged shooting.

“Nobody was shot,” the officer confirmed. “How are you sure about that?” asked Vittert. “Because we have no shooting victim,” the officer said.

Smith then admitted that the network had made a mistake: “What’s happened is we screwed up,” he said when the broadcast returned to the studio, before assuring viewers that Tobin had not intended to mislead them.

“Nobody has been shot,” Smith continued. “No police officer has pulled the trigger. And on behalf of Mike Tobin and the rest of our crew there and he rest of us at Fox News, I am very sorry for the error and glad we were able to correct it quickly.”