Bat Masterson became more widely known as a gunfighter as a result of a practical joke played on a gullible newspaper reporter in August 1881. Seeking copy in Gunnison, Colorado, the reporter asked Dr. Cockrell about mankillers. Dr. Cockrell pointed to a young man nearby and said it was Bat and that he had killed 26 men. Cockrell then regaled the reporter with several lurid tales about Bat's exploits, and the reporter wrote them up for the New York Sun . The story was then widely reprinted in papers all over the country. Cockrell subsequently apologized to Bat, who insisted he was not even in Gunnison at the time.