Fox News anchor Shepard Smith made a groveling apology to viewers after a production error allowed a man’s shocking suicide to be shown on live television.
Viewers were left horrified watching 33-year-old Jodon F. Romero put a gun to his head and pull the trigger after leading police on an hour-long high-speed car chase in Phoenix, Arizona after allegedly stealing the vehicle at gunpoint earlier in the day.
A helicopter, from affiliate KSAZ-TV, was capturing the action on the ground when Romero got out of the car and started to run from the cops.
Gasps could be heard in the Fox News studio when Romero put the gun to his head leading Smith to shout to his director, “Get off, Get off it” in a bid to cut from the live action but it was too late and the man’s suicide was beamed to thousands of TV screens.
Coming back from the ad break taken immediately thereafter, Smith told viewers he thought the chase was on a few seconds delay just in case something bad happened but subsequently realized it was not.
“We really messed up, and we’re all very sorry,” the anchor said contritely. “That didn’t belong on TV. We took every precaution we knew how to take to keep that from being on TV. And I personally apologize to you that that happened.”
The network’s vice president of news editorial, Michael Clemente later said the mistake was “the result of a severe human error.”
Authorities believe Romero was intent on going on a crime spree which started when he hit a passing car with his hand leading the vehicle owner to call police – that’s when they learned the car had been stolen from a nearby restaurant parking lot and started the chase.
Romero had a long criminal history and was a wanted felon, according to Phoenix Police.