Shepard Smith Shepard Smith

Fox News' Shepard Smith issued a heartfelt apology to viewers Friday afternoon after the channel inadvertently broadcast live footage of a man shooting himself in the head.

During the afternoon broadcast, Fox News was covering a low-speed chase in Phoenix, Ariz., and cut to live footage of the suspect getting out of his vehicle and running erratically through a field. The cameras continued rolling, giving viewers a clear aerial view of the man eventually stopping, pulling a gun from his pocket, appearing to shoot himself in the head and falling over.

As soon as the man appears to reach for the gun, Smith can be heard repeating insistently, "Get off it, get off it, get off it!" but the producers didn't cut in time — only switching back to Smith after the man was on the ground.

After a brief break, Smith explained to viewers that the production team had anticipated that something might go awry and had tried to prevent the footage from being broadcast.

"We created a five-second delay as if you were to bleep back your DVR five seconds ... so that we would see in the studio five seconds before you did," Smith explained. "So that if anything went horribly wrong, we'd be able to cut away from it without subjecting you to it. And we really messed up. And we're all very sorry. That didn't belong on TV. We took every precaution we knew how to take to keep that from being on TV, and I personally apologize to you that that happened."

He added: "That was wrong, and that won't happen again on my watch. And I'm sorry."

Michael Clemente, the executive vice president of Fox News, later issued a statement that said in part, "Unfortunately, this mistake was the result of a severe human error and we apologize for what viewers ultimately saw on the screen."

Police said the man was declared dead at the scene.

Watch Smith's apology below: