Newspaper leaves out description of Austin shooting suspect to avoid ‘stereotypes’

The largest newspaper in Austin, Texas, declined to publish a physical description of a suspect in the early Saturday mass shooting that over concerns that it could be “harmful in perpetuating stereotypes.”

The Austin American-Statesman ran an editor’s note Saturday explaining its decision at the end of its ongoing coverage of the late-night shooting at the popular Sixth Street entertainment district that left 14 injured.

“Editor’s note: Police have only released a vague description of the suspected shooter as of Saturday morning,” said the newspaper, which was flagged by the Post Millennial.

“The Austin American-Statesman is not including the description as it is too vague at this time to be useful in identifying the shooter and such publication could be harmful in perpetuating stereotypes. If more detailed information is released, we will update our reporting,” said the note.

Austin interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon’s initial description of a suspect in the downtown shooting was of a Black male with a “skinny build” wearing a black shirt and dreadlocks-style hair, as reported by other state news outlets, including KXAN-TV and KWTX-TV.

Two suspects have been identified by authorities, and one was in custody Sunday after being arrested by Austin police and the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force.

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