You won’t find the names of the individuals involved in Thursday’s murder-suicide in this edition of The Daily Gamecock, nor will you find the details of what happened inside the Arnold School of Public Health at 12:56 p.m. when USCPD got the call.
If you’re reading this, it isn’t Thursday night anymore. By the time you read this, you may know all the details — you may know their names and their situation and why this happened.
And you didn’t get that information from this edition of The Daily Gamecock.
But for me, it’s Thursday night, we’re putting the paper together and no information pertaining to the identities of the individuals or the circumstances of the situation has been confirmed. The State Law Enforcement Department’s investigation is ongoing, and Richland County Coroner Gary Watts has not released the names of the deceased. At this point, the names you’ve read and the rumors you’ve heard are unconfirmed reports from witnesses and anonymous sources because it’s still Thursday night.
At The Daily Gamecock, we pride ourselves on integrity, accuracy and truth. We do not believe in going off of hearsay or rumors, and our staff works to ensure that the information we bring to readers is ironclad. That’s why in this edition, you’ll only find what we know to be true, and that's the information confirmed by officials.
As Editor-in-Chief, I made a lot of calls Thursday. I made the call to scrap everything we had worked on this week to solely report what you’ll read here. I made the call to send college students running into an area others were running away from. I made the call to my mom and told her we were safe, even though we were yards away from where witnesses heard gunshots.
But the most important decision Thursday was made by our entire staff: we will only report what we know for certain.
The Daily Gamecock will not risk credibility in the hopes of being first because tragedy isn’t a time to be wrong. In fact, errors in reporting tragedy can result in confusion and devastation.
And in the end, tragedy is hard enough on its own.