TONY BIGOMS SENTENCEDGROUND TROOPS 'ON THE TABLE' TO FIGHT ISISSTEWART CASE TO GRAND JURYLST 325 TOUR
WTVC NewsChannel 9 :: News - Top Stories - 'Cops' Film Crew Member Killed by Friendly Fire
Updated:
Thursday, August 28 2014, 09:22 AM EDT
'Cops' Film Crew Member Killed by Friendly Fire
By Margery A. Beck, Associated Press

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- When the call came from an officer who needed help facing an armed robber at a fast-food restaurant, two members of a reality television show riding along with Omaha police hustled to record the confrontation.

In the chaotic scene that unfolded, one crew member was struck by "friendly fire" from one of the officers, a bullet slipping past his bulletproof vest and killing him, Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said Wednesday. The robbery suspect was also killed. The weapon he was carrying turned out to be a pellet gun, though it looked and sounded so real that both witnesses and officers were fooled, Schmaderer said.

Bryce Dion, 38, of Boston, the audio supervisor for "Cops," is the first crew member of the long-running TV show to be killed while filming police in action, executives with the show's production company said. Police identified the robbery suspect as 32-year-old Cortez Washington, who was on parole from Missouri for a robbery conviction.

Schmaderer told reporters that police and prosecutors have reviewed the "Cops" video of Tuesday's shooting and found that the officers "had no choice" but to open fire, though a grand jury will still be tasked with investigating.

Schmaderer said the incident began when drive-thru customers alerted Detective Darren Cunningham - on his way to a different robbery scene in midtown Omaha - to an armed robbery at a Wendy's. Cunningham called for backup, and Officers Brooks Riley and Jason Wilhelm - along with Dion and a "Cops" cameraman - arrived at the restaurant within 15 seconds, Schmaderer said.

The "Cops" crew followed the officers into the restaurant. There, police confronted a hooded and masked man. The cameraman darted into the dining area, crouched behind a low wall and held up his camera to record the confrontation. But Dion didn't make it past the glass-enclosed entrance to the restaurant. Almost immediately, Schmaderer said, the suspect raised his gun and fired twice.

Schmaderer said three witnesses described Washington firing his gun directly at Cunningham and Riley. "The witnesses described hearing the suspect's handgun being fired and seeing the slide recoil with the shots," he said.

Officers returned fire, hitting Washington, who still managed to run from the store. Officers continued firing as Washington - his gun still pointed at police - entered the glass vestibule, Schmaderer said. It was then that a bullet hit Dion in the chest, Schmaderer said.

Washington collapsed in the restaurant parking lot.

After the shooting, police discovered that Washington's weapon was an air gun that shoots only plastic pellets.

Washington's criminal record included an accessory to robbery conviction from Missouri for which he was on parole. He moved to Nebraska in September 2013, and his parole was due to expire in June 2017.

"Cops" started on Fox in 1989 and is now shown on the Spike network. According to the "Cops" website, the show has been filmed in at least 140 U.S. cities and three foreign countries.

Langley Productions President John Langley and Executive Producer Morgan Langley described Dion as talented - "one of our best" - who had worked for the show for seven years.

"He did something that he loved and was passionate about," Morgan Langley said. "We've been very fortunate over the years; we've never had an incident like this. Now we're dealing with it, and it's a very sad day for us."

In 2010, a TV crew for the A&E reality show "The First 48" recorded a Detroit police raid in which a 7-year-old girl was accidentally killed by an officer. That incident highlighted concerns about whether TV cameras influence police behavior, perhaps encouraging showboating. But some experts and officers believe TV crews increase accountability.

Schmaderer bristled at the suggestion that his officers overreacted knowing that cameras were recording them, calling it "absolutely ridiculous."

The police chief said he accepted the invitation from "Cops" to film in Omaha in the name of transparency. "Personally, I will live with this forever," Schmaderer said. "If I'd have known that this would happen, of course, I wouldn't have done it."

Photo: Frame grabs from security video showing an armed robbery at a
Wendy's restaurant in Omaha is displayed during a news conference at
police headquarters in Omaha, Neb., Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014. Bryce
Dion, a sound technician with the “Cops” television show who was
embedded with Omaha police, was killed on Tuesday during an armed
robbery at a Wendy's fast-food restaurant. The armed robber was shot and
died as well. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

'Cops' Film Crew Member Killed by Friendly Fire

Advertise with us!

Related Stories

  • TN/GA Regional News
  • National News
  • International News
  • WTVC :: Community - The Good Life

    The Good Life

    Celebrating the events, adventures and activities that represent "The Good Life" in the NewsChannel 9 viewing area.
  • WTVC :: Community - Sideroads

    Sideroads

    Take a ride with Brian Smith to explore the unique people and places to be found along the Sideroads of the NewsChannel 9 viewing area.
  • WTVC :: Community - Road Trippin

    Road Trippin

    Come Road Trippin' with us and see all the great sites in your area!
  • WTVC :: Community - Closings and Delays

    Closings and Delays

    These are the latest School and Business Closings reported to NewsChannel 9. If you see errors or need to add a school or business, call 423-757-7320.
  • WTVC :: Community - This N That

    This N That

    Learn about the latest in community affairs and great events with Brian Smith on This 'N That.
  • WTVC :: Community - Educator of the Week

    Educator of the Week

    Nominate now for Educator Of The Week!
  • WTVC :: Community - Wednesday's Child

    Wednesday's Child



  • WTVC :: Community - Deaf & Hard of Hearing

    Deaf & Hard of Hearing

    Information provided to NewsChannel 9 by members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community.
  • WTVC :: Community - Community Calendar

    Community Calendar



  • WTVC :: Community - Photo Galleries

    Photo Galleries



  • WTVC :: Community - Sponsored Events

    Sponsored Events

    Check Back Often for NewsChannel9 Sponsored Events!

NewsChannel9 Top Stories

Aviation Experts: Regional Airlines Could Fail

Bigoms Sentenced for Abuse of a Corpse

Grand Jury to Weigh Case of NASCAR Driver Tony Stewart

Appeals Court Upholds Torture-Slaying Sentence

Five Arrested in Home Burglary

Dunlap Man Charged with Stealing Candy Company's "Trade Secrets"

Sinkhole in Whitfield County

Atlanta Braves Name Their New Stadium

Two Americans Killed in Suicide Bomb Attack

Top U.S. Military Leader Says Ground Troops on the Table to Fight ISIS

Hero Officer Blocks Speeding Car With Kids Inside

Speculation Swirls Over Fed Language on Rate Hike

Obama is Coming to Atlanta Tuesday

GMC Morning Update for Tuesday

Our Tuesday Facebook Friend of the Day

Apple Fans Trying to Buy the New I-Phone

Dodgers May Leave Town

A Bradley County Father Speaks Out After Indictments Issued

Alabama Man Awarded Medal of Honor for Actions in Vietnam

Ganns Middle Valley Teachers Surprised With $100 Bills

30,000 Tourists Stranded as Hurricane Odile Slams Baja

New Details Emerge in Brainerd Bi-Lo Shooting

Mother Grieves After Son's Killer Not Sentenced to Jail Time

Thousands Tour Navy Warship Docked in Chattanooga

Shannon Asher - Leading the March in Jordan's Journey

Mom and Boyfriend Charged in TN Toddler's Death

Chattanooga Awarded $400K Grant to Study Passenger Rail Options

Small Plane from Chattanooga Crashes in Walton County, GA

Retired Officer Shoots Stepson

Vikings Reinstate Adrian Peterson After Child Abuse Charge

TN Supreme Court Names Haslam Legal Adviser New Attorney General

Michigan Funeral Home Opens Drive-Through Window

Dozens of Countries Pledge Support to U.S. in Fighting ISIS

Study Finds Secret to Lasting Marriage Is a Happy Wife

Google Street Maps Archives Reveal a Changing Chattanooga Landscape

Study Finds TN Has More Income Inequality Than Most States

Golfer Greg Norman Recovering from Chainsaw Accident

Our Monday Facebook Friend of the Day

Another NFL Player is Under Fire

GMC Morning Update for Monday

Foreign Language Classes for All Ages

Miss New York Was Crowned Miss America

Chattanoogans Help Feed the Hungry

Rafting Warnings After Weekend Death On Ocoee River

Person Shot on Englewood Avenue

Rehabing & Releasing Songbirds

NewsChannel 9's Kelsey Bagwell Competes In "Dare to Dance"

Man Killed While Rafting on Ocoee

ISIS Releases New Video, Appears to Kill Hostage

Zombies Taking Over Coolidge Park

Alton Park Family Receives Keys To New Home

One Critically Injured in I-24 Crash

Man Shot at Bi-Lo on Brainerd Road

Truck Crashes into Restaurant on Shallowford Road

PetSmart is Sponsoring an Adopt-a-thon Saturday

Road to Recovery: Toddler Makes Strides Following Bad Winter Crash

Victims React After Serial Burglar Nabbed for 30 Break-ins

Mother Shares Suicide Awareness During Prevention Week

The Price of Freedom: The 2014 Medal of Honor Convention Comes to Tennessee

THP Arrests Wanted Felon from Michigan in Hamilton County

Two Charges Dismissed Against Non-Profit Director Richard Bennett

Fishermen Fear TVA About to Harm Hiwassee River Trout Fishing

Man Rescued from Cave at Savage Gulf

Mother of Slain Journalist Says Government Threatened Foley Family Over Ransom Payments

Made in Our Hometown: Southern Sqweeze

TN State Treasurer Offers College Savings Incentive for Families

Police Take Pictures of Sleeping Burglar

Teen Hospitalized After Smoking Synthetic Pot at School

Woman Held Without Bail After 3 Dead Babies Found

Oscar Pistoruis Found Guilty of Culpable Homicide

Can Obama Wage War Without Consent of Congress?

Delaney Described as 'Ringleader' in Crime Spree

Two Navy Jets Collide & Crash, Pilot Missing

Sarah Palin's Family Implicated in Alaska House Party Brawl

Teenage Prisoner Captured

Lookouts Lose, Need 3 to Stay Alive

National Health Officials Waste Millions, Poorly Prepared for Health Disaster

Our Friday Facebook Friend of the Day

Tim Tebow Joins 'Good Morning America'

GMC Morning Update for Friday

Police: Man Killed 5 Kids "By Violent Means"

Bessie Smith Officials Release Audit Results

The Price of Freedom: Remembering 9/11 At UTC

Facebook Does About Face on Father with Ailing Infant

Vintage WWII LST 325 Arrives in Chattanooga

Remembering 9/11, Near and Far

Quilting, Fairs, Barbecue and More: David's Picks for the Weekend

Local Domestic Violence Survivor Supports Family Justice Center

Japan's Burger Kings Are Selling "Black Cheeseburgers"

TN Man Arrested After Discussing Drugs on Accidental 911 Call

Teacher Accidentally Fires Gun in Faculty Bathroom of School

Firefighters Kickoff 'Fill the Boot' Campaign for MDA

Our Thursday Facebook Friend of the Day

219 'Soring' Violations Found at Shelbyville Horse Competition

South Carolina Dad Accused in 5 Children's Deaths was Ex-Con

The Nation Remembers 9/11

North Georgia Schools to Get Extra Education $$$

Sale Creek Students Remember 9/11 Anniversary

Bicyclist Hit on Amnicola Hwy., Critical Condition

McCallie Graduate Settles Lawsuit with Snapchat Co-founders

Advertise with us!

Newsmax Headlines

Sponsored content

Business News

US producer prices unchanged in August

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A measure of prices that producers receive for their goods and services was unchanged in August, the latest sign that inflation is in check.

Consumer Info

   WEST PALM BEACH, FL -- (Marketwired) -- 03/21/14 --
 Companies that pride themselves on being eco-friendly may have conflicted
 ideas between marketing with ad specialties and maintaining their green
 reputation. ...

Entertainment News

"DANCING WITH THE STARS"-SEASON 19 DEBUT

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Season 19 of "Dancing With the Stars" debuts with some surprisingly good performances.

Get This

TOMMY CHONG

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Stoner comic Tommy Chong came out smokin' last night -- on the dance floor.

Science/Tech News

IN THE NEWS: PRE-OPRDERS ON iPHONES

NEW YORK (AP) -- If you haven't already ordered one of those new, bigger iPhones -- chances are you won't get your hands on one right away.


 

Tonight on WTVC NewsChannel 9

7:00 Wheel of Fortune

7:30 Jeopardy 

8:00 Dancing with the Stars

9:00 Agents of Shield

10:00 20/20

11:00 NewsChannel 9 

11:35 Jimmy Kimmel Live

Complete Schedule »


Road Trippin
No Text Zone
Pay It Forward
Steve Harvey Show
Storm Track 9 Weather App