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.”
By RYAN GORMAN
The star of a hit reality television show has reportedly been arrested for repeatedly raping his own 12-year-old daughter.
“Sons of Guns” star Will Hayden, 44, was arrested Tuesday in Louisiana by U.S. Marshals and charged with aggravated rape of a child – his second arrest in as many weeks for child molestation.
Hayden’s daughter told authorities that he orally and vaginally raped her on an almost-daily basis since of March 2013, TMZ reported, citing arrest documents.
She was only 11-years-old when he reportedly took her virginity.
“Don’t tell them nothing, because I’m all you got,” the young girl told police her father said, according to the affidavit.
Hayden was originally arrested two weeks ago near Baton Rouge on a charge of suspicion of child molestation.
He was released on a $150,000 bond and claimed to TMZ at the time that the child’s mother – his ex-girlfriend – was lying in a vindictive attempt to get back at him after the breakdown of their relationship.
The Discovery Channel show, centered on the gun making business Red Jacket Firearms outside Baton Rogue, has since been cancelled.
“Red Jacket Firearms LLC has initiated and received full legal separation as an entity, from William M. Hayden,” the statement read. “With heavy hearts, we will be continuing to operate and ensure the fulfillment of new customer orders, back orders and to provide support to those affected by these new developments.”
“Given the serious and horrific nature of the charges against Will Hayden, we have decided to halt further production of ‘Sons of Guns’ and cancel the series,” Discovery rep Lori Goldberg told AOL News.
An AOL search of Discovery’s website revealed all evidence of the show’s existence has been scrubbed from public view.
When asked how long ago that happened, Goldberg said: “all I have is the statement, good bye.”
A Facebook post from Stephanie Hayden, the accused child rapist’s daughter, shot down rumors of the show’s demise. That has been deleted since appearing in a Fox News article.
Hayden remains in federal custody.
massive species of fish that used to dominate the Amazon river is quickly dying out in several areas.
A recent study of fishing communities in the state of Amazonas, Brazil found the giant arapaima (air-ah-pie-ma) is already extinct in some parts of the Amazon basin.
The BBC notes, “of the 41 communities researchers studied, arapaima populations were extinct in eight of them.”
And the giant fish, which typically weighs in at more than 400 pounds, is rapidly disappearing in other parts of the Amazon.
So what’s the reason behind the arapaima’s rapid extinction? Scientists have a simple answer: overfishing.
LiveScience quotes a researcher involved in the study, who says the arapaima is just too easy to catch.
Pirarucu (Arapaima gigas)
“Arapaima spawn on the edges of floodplain forests and come to the surface to breathe every 5 to 15 minutes, when they are easily located and harpooned by fishers using homemade canoes.”
And with populations growing and the fishing industry finally reaching Amazon villages, the research says these massive fish don’t stand a chance.
See, there were two competing theories the researchers explored: The first is essentially the idea that overfishing can’t cause extinction because fishermen have to move on when supply starts dwindling. The second theory is basically the opposite: That fishing can drive a population to extinction.
One of the study’s authors said in a statement, “Bioeconomic thinking has predicted that scarcity would drive up fishing costs, which would increase price and help save depleted species. If that prediction were true, extinctions induced by fishing would not exist, but that is not what has happened.”
The arapaima isn’t the only aquatic creature in the Amazon to recently fall victim to local fishermen.
Brazil’s Fishing and Aquaculture Ministry announced in June it is in the process of outlawing the fishing of a certain breed of catfish to protect the Pink Amazon River Dolphin, whose flesh is often used as bait for the catfish.
But there was also some good news that came out of the arapaima study. In communities where arapaima fishing is regulated, the species is actually doing pretty well, giving scientists hope that the species could be spared.
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