Cops TV show crew member shot dead
A crew member for the US TV show Cops has been killed by friendly fire while filming an episode for the long-running reality series, after police responded to an armed robbery.
Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said 38-year-old Bryce Dion was shot once during a shoot-out between three officers and one suspect in a Wendy's restaurant.
"It is as if we lost one of our own," Schmaderer said. "He was an incredible man."
Dion, who handled the sound equipment for the cameraman, had been working on the show with Omaha police since June, police said.
The suspect, 32-year-old Cortez Washington, shot at officers with an airsoft pistol, which looks and sounds like a real handgun, but does not fire lethal rounds. Washington was shot and killed.
Multiple rounds were fire by the three officers during the incident, Schmaderer said.
Although the two-man crew did have on bulletproof vests, the bullet was able to hit an unprotected area on Dion, he said.
Both Washington and Dion were pronounced dead when they arrived at the hospital.
Dion had been with Cops for seven years, said Morgan Langley, who is the head of Langley Productions with his father, John.
He was from the Boston area and had been recently promoted within the company, Langley said.
"We want to make sure Bryce is respected, and we want people to know he was a great guy and a hard worker," he said.
"We train our guys and do provide them bulletproof vests."
John Langley said Cops is a true reality show, meaning "it happens as it happens."
"That is our highlight and our low light," he said.
The investigation into the shooting was ongoing.
Among the longest-running series in TV history, Cops was part of the first batch of shows to launch the reality programming craze.
The series premiered in March 1989 at a time when the then-young Fox network was on the prowl for edgy programmes that could help establish its identity.
Filmmaker Michael Moore, among others, has criticised the show for selectively focusing on crimes involving poor and working-class suspects. The show's opening theme, the reggae tune Bad Boys, has become instantly recognisable.