Hank Barr is currently a chaplain at the Clovis Police Department. Prior to that he worked as a crew member on the hit TV show "COPS" for 22 years.
“I've been shot at and felt the bullet go by my ear,” said Hank Barr, Chaplain at the Clovis Police Dept.
In 2009, Barr trained a young audio technician named Bryce Dion Dion was from the Boston area and was part of the series the last seven years.
“He was very humble, had a sweet spirit and was willing to listen,” said Barr.
Tuesday night in Omaha, Dion and his "COPS" cameraman went inside a Wendy’s restaurant with officers as they confronted a gunman who was trying to rob the place. Investigators say the suspect fired at police, so three officers shot back. During the crossfire, 38-year old Dion became trapped in the entryway and was ultimately struck by a bullet.
Barr believes Dion was trying to place his microphone in a good spot, which left him in a vulnerable position.
“He was holding his boom or his fish pole up, which then exposed the unprotected area. He was wearing a ballistic vest, but that bullet went underneath it,” said Barr.
Officers ended up killing the suspect, 32-year-old Cortez Washington. But it turns out his weapon was actually a pellet gun. Meaning friendly fire is what killed Dion. Omaha's police chief spoke about the tragic accident.
“My concern is with my officers who are taking this extremely hard. I'm telling you Bryce was their friend and this is as if we lost one of our own,” said Omaha Police Chief Todd
John and Morgan Langley, the producers of cops, shared sympathies as well.
“We've never had an incident like this. Unfortunately this happened and we're dealing with it. It's a very sad day for us,” said Morgan Langley of Langley Productions.
Barr says for him, there is one thought that softens this blow.
“he was doing what he wanted to do and that's what life is about you know,” said Barr.
Langley Productions says it will continue to shoot new episodes of cops. However, work in Omaha will obviously be suspended as the crew grieves over their loss.
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