Cops crew member Bryce Dion has died after being shot during the filming of a robbery standoff at a Wendy's in Omaha, Neb., Deadline.com reports.
Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer spoke to reporters this afternoon at a press conference. According to Schmaderer, it was an officer's round that struck Dion, a sound supervisor on the long-running reality series. He was wearing a ballistic vest at the time, but the bullet hit him under the arm, where there is an open area.
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The robbery suspect, Cortez Washington, had fired two rounds from an Airsoft pistol, a weapon that doesn't actually fire bullets, during the standoff. Schmaderer said the shots sounded similar to actual gunshots and produced a muzzle flash, which is why the three officers present at the scene responded with gunfire. He denied local media reports that there was an excessive number of shots fired, and said that the footage Cops filmed at the scene had been turned over to a grand jury for investigation.
"Any criticism is unmerited. The grand jury will see this video, and I'm confident they will come to the same conclusion," he said.
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John and Morgan Langley of Langley Productions, the company that produces Cops, also spoke at the press conference. "Bryce has been with us seven years, and he really is one of our best," John Langley said. "[He] was a very talented guy and he did something he loved and was passionate about. We've been very fortunate over the years that we've never had an incident like this. Unfortunately this happened and we're dealing with it and it's a very sad day for us."
Schmaderer had invited the Cops team to Omaha to film in an attempt to improve relations between police and the community after "an issue that occurred about a year and a half ago." He said he'd hoped that having Cops film his officers would "put a period on the past and show how professional and adept we are."