Yesterday, we posted an article falsely naming Wichita police officer Elizabeth Martin as the shooter in John Quintero’s death. Within an hour after posting that story, a Wichita police detective, an investigator with the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s office, and the Captain who oversees public information for the Wichita Police Department called to inform me that the information was false.
After the second call, I removed the article.
The events that led up to the story being posted are as follows:
I received multiple tips that Officer Martin, who is named in a lawsuit as the shooter in an unrelated, previous shooting, may have also fired the fatal shots that ended Quintero’s life, and, acting on those tips, I sent a photo of Martin to one of Quintero’s close relatives, who told me that she would send that photo to relatives who witnessed the shooting firsthand.
The next morning, yesterday, the relative informed me that the relative who was nearest to the shooting had confirmed that Officer Martin was the shooter.
After I removed the article, I informed the relative that law enforcement officials were telling me that Martin was not the officer. That relative said that they were not there, and then blocked me from sending any more messages, so I cannot, in good faith, give this person much credibility.
The mistake that I made was in only sending the one photograph, of the one officer. I clearly should have sent multiple pictures, of multiple officers, similar to the way police detectives do mugshot lineups, a mistake we will not be repeating in the future.