WASHINGTON (AFP) - The filming of the reality show Cops turned deadly when United States police firing on a man suspected of robbing a restaurant hit a TV sound man and killed him, the police said on Wednesday.
The suspect, later found to have a pistol that fired pellets, was also killed in the incident in Omaha, Nebraska, on Tuesday night.
The audio technician was named as Mr Bryce Dion, 38, and his death is believed to be the first in the 25-year history of the show, one of the first American reality programmes, the US media said. In Cops, TV crews embed with the police and film them in action.
Omaha police chief Todd Schmaderer said Mr Dion was in the vestibule of a Wendy's fast food restaurant as the suspect, identified as Cortez Washington, came out firing his pellet gun. "He's on his way out. Officers are returning fire. Bryce is in that vestibule and gets struck by a round," Mr Schmaderer told a news conference.
The police chief said it was "absolutely ridiculous" to suggest that officers might have been showing off for the TV cameras, according to CNN.
The production company that makes Cops, Langley Productions, said it was "deeply saddened and shocked by this tragedy and our main concern is helping his family in any way we can".