The Associated Press dropped a rare plot twist into a story of how the facts that emerge in the first hours after breaking news are so often wrong by undoing its retraction of a photo that, it turns out, was related to the Navy Yard shootings on Monday after all. One of the first photos from the area after the shootings, its authenticity came under scrutiny almost as soon as the image, showing a man on the ground surrounded by people, began to go viral. The AP, after quickly "authenticating" the photo late Monday morning, "eliminated" it from its archive hours later. But as of Thursday, that image is back in circulation, along with an additional image depicting the same scene, after one of the agency's reporters tracked down the story behind the photograph, which is very much connected to Monday's tragedy.
The story of the photo in question, told in full by the AP's Matt Apuzzo, reveals that the man on the sidewalk was Vishnu Pandit, one of the 12 victims of the attack. Apuzzo reconstructed the timeline leading up to the image above, starting in the office where Pandit was shot, following to how his colleagues, trying to get him help, ended up bringing him to a sidewalk blocks away from the scene of the attack:
They continued downstairs and escaped through a side door, where she said they found a security guard in an unmarked car.
A gunman was on the loose and the security guard was worried about leaving his post. Still, he took Lavern and Pandit into the car and raced off. They made it off the grounds of the Navy Yard and to a street corner a few blocks away. The security guard needed to get back to his post and asked police who were there to get an ambulance immediately.
Lavern eased her friend to the pavement. His pulse was gone.