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Police Say ‘Cops’ TV Show Crew Member Killed By Friendly Fire During Taping

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By Ryan Parker

Los Angeles Times

(MCT)

A crew member for the TV show “Cops” died after he was shot by friendly fire while filming an episode for the long-running reality series when Omaha, Neb., police responded to an armed robbery Tuesday night, officials said Wednesday.

Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said 38-year-old Bryce Dion was shot once during a shootout between three officers and one suspect in a Wendy’s.

“It is as if we lost one of our own,” Schmaderer said. “He was an incredible man.”

Dion, who handled the sound equipment for the cameraman, had been working with Omaha police on the show since June, police said.

Police said the suspect, 32-year-old Cortez Washington, shot at officers with an airsoft pistol, which looks and sounds like a real handgun, but does not fire lethal rounds. Washington was shot and killed.

Police said the shooting occurred about 9:20 p.m. when officers responded to an armed robbery call at a Wendy’s near 43rd and Dodge streets.

Multiple rounds were fire by the three officers during the incident, Schmaderer said.

Although the two-man crew did have on bulletproof vests, the bullet was able to hit an unprotected area on Dion, Schmaderer said.

Both Washington and Dion were pronounced dead when they arrived at the hospital.

Dion had been with the show for seven years, said Morgan Langley, who is the head of Langley Productions with his father, John.

Both men were present for a media conference with police Wednesday afternoon.

Dion was a single man from the Boston area who was recently promoted within the company, Morgan Langley said.

“We want to make sure Bryce is respected, and we want people to know he was a great guy and a hard worker,” Morgan Langley said.

“We train our guys and do provide them bulletproof vests,” he said.

John Langley said “Cops” is a true reality show, meaning “it happens as it happens.”

“That is our highlight and our low light,” he said.

The investigation into the shooting is ongoing.

Among the longest-running series in TV history, “Cops” was part of the first batch of shows to launch the reality programming craze.

The series premiered in March 1989 at a time when the then-young Fox network was on the prowl for edgy programs that could help establish its identity.

Filmmaker Michael Moore, among others, has criticized the show for selectively focusing on crimes involving poor and working-class suspects. The show’s opening theme, the reggae tune “Bad Boys,” has become instantly recognizable.

Fox canceled “Cops” in 2013 and it was subsequently picked up by the Spike cable network.

©2014 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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Police Say ‘Cops’ TV Show Crew Member Killed By Friendly Fire During Taping