Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said witnesses and officers thought the robbery suspect's Airsoft handgun was real, but that it fires only plastic pellets. He said the suspect fired from the pellet gun before officers returned fire. The suspect was struck by gunfire, but fled outside of the restaurant before collapsing.
Officers continued firing on the suspect as he exited the restaurant, and that was when the "Cops" crew member was also struck, said Schamaderer.
Schmaderer said he believes the three officers involved acted properly during the attempted robbery Tuesday at a Wendy's in midtown Omaha.
Schmaderer said 38-year-old Bryce Dion who worked for Langley Productions and the suspect, 32-year-old Cortez Washington, were killed.
Schmaderer said video captured by another crewman of the "Cops" reality television show shows the chaotic situation in the restaurant. He said police would not release the video but that it will be part of the grand jury investigation into the shooting.
All three officers are on leave.
Langley Productions is based in Santa Monica, California.
"We are deeply saddened and shocked by this tragedy and our main concern is helping his family in any way we can," spokeswoman Pam Golum said. "Bryce Dion was a long term member of the 'COPS' team and very talented and dedicated person."
"Cops" is a reality TV show that depicts law enforcement officers in action. According to its website, the show has been filmed in at least 140 U.S. cities and three foreign counties.
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