Has anybody else noticed this?
On the evening news, when they're talking about some recent local crime (for example), you'll hear the idiot reporter say things like:
The suspect then smashed through this window, out into the alley; witnesses say the suspect then jumped in a car and sped away...
What's wrong here? It is not the suspect who did these things, it is the perpetrator.
People seem to have forgotten about the word "perpetrator", and consequently the critical difference between a perpetrator and a suspect.
A suspect is a person whose identity, or some other personal info, is known, and who is thought -- though not (yet) known -- to have committed the crime. The perpetrator is the person who did, in fact and in actuality, commit the crime, even if nothing about him/her is known at all. The perpetrator is the person who is truly guilty of the crime, even if never identified, caught, or tried. A suspect is someone can be identified and caught, and yet who is presumed innocent until proven otherwise in court.