OMAHA, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- A crew member of the popular reality television show Cops was fatally shot by friendly fire Tuesday night while filming an episode of the show.
Police officers responding to an armed robbery in progress call at a Wendy's restaurant in Omaha, Nebraska around 9:20 p.m. found themselves in the middle of a shootout.
Bryce Dion, a 38-year-old sound engineer carrying audio recording equipment for the show's camera man, was struck and killed during the exchange between three officers and one suspect, in which it was later revealed the suspect, 32-year-old Cortez Washington, was wielding not a firearm but a realistic Airsoft pistol and police fired a total of 30 bullets in response.
Washington was also shot and killed.
TMZ posted audio of the police radio call.
Cops is one of the longest-running TV shows in history, on air since 1989, now on Spike after Fox cancelled the show last year, self-described as "one of the first and only true and unscripted reality shows." The program follows and films law enforcement officers as they patrol and respond to calls.
According to the LA Times, Morgan Langley of Langley Productions, the company that produces the show, said Dion had been with the show for seven years, had been filming in Omaha since June, and had recently been promoted within the company.
"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.
Although it's standard operating procedure for crew members on the show to wear bullet proof vests, Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said Dion was hit in an unprotected area.
It's "as if we lost one of our own," Schmaderer said. "He was an incredible man."