On 17 September, nine people were injured (none of them fatally) in a rampage by a knife-wielding man at the Crossroads Mall in St. Cloud. Minnesota, who was himself shot and killed by an off-duty police officer. Afterwards, some of the photographs displayed above were circulated on social media as pictures of one of the St. Cloud victims.
However, these images are much older than that incident. The photographs of a man with inch-deep slash wounds across his chest and back first reached our inbox March 2006, accompanied by text stating they depicted a United States Air Force (USAF) airman injured in a barroom incident near Kunsan Air Base in South Korea, home of the 8th Fighter Wing, also known as the Wolf Pack:
Kunsan Staff Sergeant Michael Jones, was assaulted in an A-Town bar by unknown assailants. 8th SFS and members of the OSI Detachment 641 B, are investigating. If anyone wishes to donate to the family of SSgt Jones you can call the 8th MXS First Sergeant at 782-4041 or (281) 330-8004.
“A-Town” is a commercial district about three miles from Kunsan Air Base frequented by Americans; “8th SFS” and “8th MXS” designate the 8th Security Forces Squadron (an Air Force police unit) and the 8th Maintenance Squadron, both at Kunsan; and “OSI” refers to a USAF Office of Special Investigations detachment at the air base.
According to the U.S. military newspaper Stars and Stripes, Air Force officials quickly determined that there had been no such attack involving any USAF personnel around Kunsan, nor was anyone with the name included in the e-mail (Staff Sergeant Michael Jones) currently stationed at Kunsan Air Base:
“The name of the person on that hoax e-mail is not anyone that is stationed at Kunsan,” [Capt. Richard] Komurek said. “I don’t know in the history of Kunsan if that person was ever stationed here, but when that e-mail came out, that person was not stationed here.”
Wing officials, including OSI personnel, checked into the report and within a day or so concluded it was fake, Komurek said.
“We had no such attack and we confirmed that the e-mail was a hoax. We notified the chain of command and the Wolf Pack members about the e-mail right away,” he said.
The e-mail gave a DSN number and a commercial number with a Houston area code for those wishing “to donate to the family of SSgt Jones.” Repeated calls to the DSN number went unanswered and calls to the Texas number produced a recording stating that the number is not in service.
Evidently Air Force investigators didn’t get the joke: the name and phone number used in the text were taken from Houston rapper Mike Jones‘ 2005 CD release on the Asylum label, Who Is Mike Jones?, on which he exhorts listeners to “Hit me up: 281-330-8004, baby.”
According to Air Force officials, the photographs are genuine, but they originated in the U.S. and were pictures used by law enforcement authorities for training purposes (that documented the aftermath of a fight between inmates).