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Bro Witness is the nickname given to New Zealander Matthew Jacobs by National Journal staff writer Matt Vasilogambros at the scene of the shooting at Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. on October 3rd, 2013.
On October 3rd, 2013 at approximately 2:20 p.m., gunshots were reported around the United States Capitol, causing much of Washington D.C. to be locked down for approximately half an hour. While the initial cause was unknown, it was later revealed that 34-year-old Miriam Carey, a dental hygienist from Stamford, Connecticut, had attempted to drive a black sedan through a barricade near the White House before she was shot and killed by police. Before this information was revealed, journalists at the scene began interviewing bystanders, including a shirtless tourist from New Zealand named Matthew Jacobs. During these interviews, Matt Vasilogambros of the National Journal snapped a photo of Jacobs and shared it on Twitter (shown below) with the caption “Bro witness.” Within four hours, it was retweeted nearly 250 times.
Bro witness pic.twitter.com/Wf3Xg3HH6q— Matt Vasilogambros (@MattVas) October 3, 2013
The photo and nickname spread quickly on Twitter, where other witnesses from the scene claimed he had started chasing after the suspect’s car on a Bikeshare rental bike. A novelty Twitter account, @TheBroWitness (shown below), was also created shortly after the photo began to go viral. Buzzfeed was the first news outlet to post information about Jacobs, culled from the tweets, followed by New York Magazine one minute later in a satirical article titled “Frequently Asked Questions about Bro Witness.”
I see things. #BroWitness— browitness (@TheBroWitness) October 3, 2013
Vasilogambros’ photo was submitted to Reddit three times that afternoon, to /r/pics, /r/memes and /r/photoshopbattles. The Twitter hype surrounding Bro Witness was later featured on Mediaite, BroBible, GQ and Vanity Fair, while the Miami New Times and SportsGrid shared articles on Jacobs’ choice of a Miami Dolphins hat, despite not being from Florida. Later that day, the New Zealand Listener shared a screenshot from Jacobs’ personal Facebook page, in which he notified friends he was safe and bragged about possibly being shirtless on the news.
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New York Times – Woman in Washington Shooting Is Dead, Officials Say
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