While most of us recognize that today should be a day of prayer for the innocent victims of the senseless massacre at a Colorado movie theater, ABC News’ Brian Ross used the occasion to smear the tea party.

In case you missed it, here’s what happened this morning…

With only the name of the shooter having been released from police, Ross ignored the dozens of “James Holmes” who live in Colorado and honed in on one in particular — Jim Holmes — whose name was found on a local tea party website. Without verifying any information with authorities or the Jim Holmes in question, Ross went on national television with George Stephanopoulos to declare this “might be significant”:

The 52-year-old Hispanic Jim Holmes of the Colorado Tea Party is of course not the same man as the 24-year-old white lunatic graduate student who unleashed a hail of bullets on innocent men, women and children last night.

In a statement, the Colorado Tea Party Patriots denounced the ABC News report:

The Colorado Tea Party Patriots and the Tea Party Patriots are saddened to hear of the death and wounding of theater goers in Aurora, Colorado. The member of the Colorado Tea Party Patriots, Jim Holmes, age 52 is not the same person who has been identified as the shooter.

The attempts of some media organizations to characterize the shooter as a Tea Party member without having made any effort to contact our organization are shameless and reprehensible.

The innocent Jim Holmes spoke with Breitbart.com about his experience being falsely identified as a mass murderer:

“It was freaky,” said Holmes, describing his reaction when ABC News speculated that he was the culprit who entered a crowded theater and opened fire on dozens of innocent men, women, and children. He disconnected his telephone and says that he is worried about members of his family who might be contacted by the media.

ABC and Brian Ross have since offered an apology of sorts for their gross incompetence error:

“An earlier ABC News broadcast report suggested that a Jim Holmes of a Colorado Tea Party organization might be the suspect, but that report was incorrect. ABC News and Brian Ross apologize for the mistake, and for disseminating that information before it was properly vetted,” the statement said.

On air later in the morning, Ross also said: “An earlier report that I had was incorrect that he was connected with the Tea Party. In fact, that’s a different Jim Holmes. He was not connected to the Tea Party and what we do know about him is he is a 24-year-old white male who went to Colorado for a Ph.D.”