BOSTON (CBS/AP) – A crew member working on the TV show “Cops” was killed during a shooting in Omaha, Nebraska Tuesday night.
Police opened fire during a robbery at a fast food restaurant killing the crew member and a suspect who was armed with an Airsoft gun.
The crew member has been identified as Bryce Dion, who is originally from the Boston area. Dion worked for Langley Productions, which is based in Santa Monica, California.
“Bryce has been with us for seven years, and honestly he really is one of our best. This is a hard time for us,” said Morgan Langley who hired Dion. “He’s a very talented guy, he did something that he loved and was passionate about.”
The suspect fired from the pellet gun before officers returned fire, Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said at a news conference. He said witnesses and officers thought the robbery suspect’s Airsoft handgun looked and sounded real, but discovered later that it fires only plastic pellets. The suspect was struck by the officers’ gunfire, but fled outside of the restaurant before collapsing.
Officers continued firing on the suspect as he exited the restaurant, and that was when Dion, was also struck. Dion was wearing a bullet-proof vest, but a single bullet that hit his arm “slipped into a gap in the vest” and entered his chest, Schmaderer said.
“My concern with my officers is that they are taking this very hard,” Schmaderer said. “Bryce was their friend.”
The suspect was identified as 32-year-old Cortez Washington, who was on parole. Schmaderer said Washington had a lengthy criminal record, including an accessory to robbery conviction from Missouri. He started parole in August 2011 and transferred to Nebraska in September 2013. His parole was due to expire in June 2017.
Schmaderer said the incident began when one of the officers, on his way to another reported robbery, called about the robbery at the Wendy’s and requested backup. The “Cops” crew members were with two officers who responded to that request.
When police entered the restaurant and confronted the suspect, Dion, who was the sound operator, got separated from the cameraman, Schmaderer said.
“Cops” is a reality TV show that depicts law enforcement officers in action. The crew had been filming all summer in Omaha and had only one week left in the city when the deadly shooting happened.
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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