« Twin-Cities Get New Archbishop | Main | Historic Discovery in Arizona »

Teenager Charged In Bus Shooting

A 17-year-old St. Paul boy was charged Wednesday in connection with a shooting that took place Sunday on a Metro Transit bus.

The story that ran in the Star Tribune was written by Curt Brown and Howie Padilla. This story reported that there was significant controversy surrounding the charges being filed against the 17-year-old boy, Jerome P. Cross.

With about 40 people yelling outside for his freedom, 17-year-old Jerome P. Cross was charged this morning with two counts of murder in connection with an early Sunday shooting on a city bus in downtown St. Paul.

The story reported that two groups of teenagers were on the bus when a fight broke out between the two groups. The bus stopped to force the teenagers off and that is when things escalated.

Cross then got back on the bus, brandished a gun and fired a single fatal shot which struck Freeman in the chest, according to the petition.

The story reported that the police were performing tests to determine if there is a link between Cross and the shooting.

Cross did, however, give investigators a DNA sample and took a gun residue test. Results from those tests aren't yet available. Police found two handguns near the scene of the shooting.

The story reported that there was video surveillance evidence that places Cross on the bus but that was all that the story reported on that piece of evidence. The story did report that Cross’ family, especially his father, were crying to see the surveillance footage because they believed it would prove Cross’ innocence.

The story made specific note of the situation and emotions that are growing between the victim’s family, the Freeman family, and Cross.

Inside the courtroom this morning, authorities expressed concern about retaliation and threats to Freeman's family and friends. In part for his own safety, Jerome Cross was ordered held until his next court appearance on May 16.

I feel like the biggest issue with a story like this, that is very emotionally charged, is that the writer has to report the facts without seeming biased towards one side of the story or the other. The reporter can not express sympathies for either the victim or the person charged with the murder and this can often times be difficult. I felt like this story could have been more transparent but that it stayed in the area of acceptability.

A second version of the story ran in the Pioneer Press and was written by Shannon Prather and Mara H. Gottfried. This version had a very similar lead but the second graph or the nut graph was much more descriptive and interesting. This graph contained much more detailed facts.

Jerome Pablo Cross, 17, is charged in Ramsey County juvenile court with second-degree murder for the death of Earl Freeman, 16, on a Route 74 bus in downtown St. Paul. Prosecutors are seeking to have Cross certified as an adult.

The story reported much of the same information as the Star Tribune version because of the nature of the protests that were happening outside the courthouse. This version took much the same angle as the star Tribune version therefore the stories turned out very similar.

By reading the Star Tribune version first I felt like that version was better. I felt that it was more focused and was more concise. I felt that the Pioneer Press version was slightly bottom heavy and that the bottom half of the story just got a bit long winded. Therefore I much preferred the Star Tribune version.