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Sep 02 2014

Cops Filming “COPS” Fire 30+ Rounds at BB Wielding Robber; Kill Crew Member

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Yet another story involving an airsoft, pellet, or BB gun has come to a bullet-riddled end. (Note: exact accounts of the suspect’s weapon vary, stated below)

In June, the Omaha, Nebraska Police Department put out a press release stating that they would be partnering with Spike television network in order to film a season of COPS. The decision was part of an “on-going community policing imitative” towards transparency. Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said of the collaboration, “I’m proud of the department and want the professionalism of our officers on display for the city and the world to see.” During filming, however, officers stumbled onto an ongoing robbery at a local Wendy’s.

The suspect, Cortez Washington, was attempting to hold up the restaurant with a BB or pellet gun. Three officers shot over 30 rounds at the suspect, leaving both him and a crew member dead. Reports state that Washington was a parolee from Kansas. The crewman was identified as 38-year-old Bryce Dion.

Reports on the exact gun – whether it was BB, airsoft, or pellet – vary, but many such handguns and rifles are made to look realistic. Reports on whether or not the suspect fired at police also vary. Original reports state that the suspect did not fire any rounds at all; FOX and NBC both report he fired twice. Regardless, 30 rounds is excessive, especially for a suspect with a non-lethal weapon. The shooting also took place on one of the city’s busiest intersections.

During a press conference, Schmaderer said the officers “had no choice” and acted accordingly. Sgt. John Wells, president of the Omaha police union, reminded residents that officers’ guns are often loaded with 14 rounds, making it easy to shoot 30 rounds in “three or four seconds.” He said the entire incident was over in 15 seconds and that 30 rounds was in no way excess. “You know what’s a lot of rounds?” he asked. “3,000. People believe the Hollywood model. Good guy shoots bad guy, the bad guy gets hit and drops immediately. It’s completely fictitious. The truth is, it’s going to take multiple shots to stop a threat.”

The Omaha PD has confirmed that friendly fire was responsible for the death of Bryce Dion. The inciden was the first time a COPS crewman had been fatally wounded since the show was created in 1989. The contract signed with the department frees them from any liability.

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