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Omaha Police Shoot And Kill 'Cops' Crew Member During Robbery
A crew member on the show Cops was shot and killed by police during a robbery in Omaha.
Bryce Dion, 38, was an audio technician on the Langley Productions show, and is the first production member killed in the 25 years the show has been on the air. Executive Producer Morgan Langley, who was at the news conference about the shooting, said Dion had been with the show for seven years, WSB TV reports.
The crew had been filming in Omaha all summer, CNN reports. On Tuesday night at about 9:20 p.m., he and one other crew member, a cameraman, rode with officers responding to a robbery at a Wendy's restaurant. The suspect, Cortez Washington, 32, fired two shots at the officers, who responded with a hail of gunfire. Dion was separated from the cameraman and caught in the crossfire inside the restaurant, while Washington was shot and killed outside.
Washington, as it turned out, was only armed with an Airsoft gun that fired plastic pellets, but neither officers nor witnesses knew that when the robbery began. Dion was outfitted in a bulletproof vest, but the bullet that killed him went through a gap in the vest near his arm and into his chest.
The cameraman was crouched inside the restaurant, but unharmed, and his footage is being used to figure out what happened.
In today's press conference, Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said that it was "absolutely ridiculous" to suggest that his officers may have been showing off for the cameras, and that based on the footage, their actions were necessary. He said, "My concern with my officers is that they are taking this very hard. Bryce was their friend."
Schmaderer also that that Dion "paid the ultimate price for his service—to provide the footage of the real-life dangers that law enforcement officers face on a daily basis to television viewers throughout the world."
The names of the officers involved were Darren Cunningham, Brooks Riley and Jason Wilhelm, Fox 4 KC reports. It will be up to a grand jury to decide if the the police actions were appropriate.
This is not the first time a crew member on a reality show has been killed or injured, but it is the first time one has been shot by police. In Detroit in 2010, however, during the filming of The First 48, a 7-year-old girl was fatally shot by police during a drug raid.