'Cops' show crew member shot dead by police
Police officers who opened fire while disrupting a robbery at a fast-food restaurant in the US killed a crew member with the TV show Cops as well as the suspect, who was armed with a pellet gun they thought was a real gun.
The suspect fired from the pellet gun before officers returned fire, said police chief Todd Schmaderer.
He said witnesses and officers thought the suspect's Airsoft handgun looked and sounded real, but discovered later that it fired only plastic pellets.
Cops is a Fox reality TV show that depicts police officers in action. The show has been filmed in at least 140 US cities and three foreign countries.
Executives with Langley Productions said this was the first time one of their crew members had been fatally shot while filming.
The suspect, whom police identified as 32-year-old Cortez Washington, was struck by the officers' gunfire, but fled outside of the restaurant in Omaha, Nebraska before collapsing. Officers continued firing on the suspect, and that was when the Cops crew member, 38-year-old Bryce Dion, was also struck, said Mr Schamaderer.
Mr Dion was wearing a bulletproof vest, but a single bullet that hit his arm "slipped into a gap in the vest" and went into his chest, the police chief said.
"My concern with my officers is that they are taking this very hard," Mr Schmaderer said. "Bryce was their friend."
Video captured by the cameraman who was with Mr Dion shows the chaotic situation in the restaurant.
Police released still shots from the video showing a hooded and masked person pointing what looks like a gun at police officers.
Mr Schmaderer said police would not release the full video, as it will be part of a grand jury investigation into the shooting.