In a frustrating and downright reckless example of media sloppiness, the man in the center of the photo above was identified by numerous outlets shortly after the tragic murder of WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and photojournalist Adam Ward as suspect Vester Lee Flanagan II, also known by his on-air pseudonym Bryce Williams. Of course, that man is not Vester Flanagan. In fact, the man pictured between the late Alison Parker and her significant other Chris Hurst is actually fellow Virginia resident Sherman Lea Jr:
On his Twitter account, Lea describes himself as an entrepreneur, educator, and speaker. His header photo depicts a meeting with President Barack Obama, smiling faces on both parties:
Sadly, this repeated misidentification adds a completely unnecessary layer of confusion and anger surrounding Wednesday's tragic shooting. Aside from being completely avoidable with even just a cursory attention to detail, the ignorant labeling of Lea as the perpetrator of the WDBJ murders perpetuates an often unspoken facet of media-based racism wherein black faces are clearly viewed by some as not only interchangeable but bafflingly indistinguishable.