PHOENIX (AP) - A man fatally shot himself in the head Friday on live national television at the end of a high-speed carjacking chase that began in Phoenix and ended about 90 minutes later within 80 miles of the California border.
Fox News was covering the chase that began about midday using a live helicopter shot from Phoenix affiliate KSAZ-TV. The man driving a copper-colored four-door sedan stopped, ran into the desert and placed a handgun to his head and fired.
Fox News anchor Shepard Smith told viewers that the video was supposed to be on a 10-second delay so it could be cut off from airing if something went awry.
“We really messed up, and we’re all very sorry,” Smith said.
Fox apologized for showing the violence on air.
“We took every precaution to avoid any such live incident by putting the helicopter pictures on a five second delay,” said Michael Clemente, executive vice president of news editorial. “Unfortunately, this mistake was the result of a severe human error and we apologize for what viewers ultimately saw on the screen.”
More frequently than its rivals, Fox News Channel picks up car chases from its local affiliates and airs them live. It’s gripping television, a live mystery with no clear resolution, and often provides a short-term ratings boost as viewers tune in to see how it ends. Critics say the chases themselves rarely rise to the level of national news. The Phoenix station was not airing the chase live when it ended.
Thompson said the man allegedly stole a car from a couple at gunpoint outside a Phoenix restaurant just before 11 a.m. MST.
Police officers located the vehicle and began a pursuit and the man fired several shots, Thompson said. He said the shots hit the police vehicle and the officers escaped injury.
The suspect headed west on Interstate 10, then pulled onto a dirt road that Thompson said was “70 to 80 miles east of the California line.”
“He got out of the car and shot himself,” Thompson said. “Efforts to revive him were not successful and he was dead at the scene. We don’t have an ID yet.”
Fox returned repeatedly to shots showing the car passing big-rig trucks that typically travel at about 70 mph as if they were standing still.
Police cars did not appear to be immediately behind the car during most of the chase.
Shepard Smith was narrating the video and clearly had his doubts about what was being shown from the moment the man stopped the car. “This scares me,” he said.View Entire Story
'Your papers, please' must never be heard in America
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Television commentary, reviews, news and nonstop DVR catch-up.
In a world that is increasingly complex, we need to seek greater awareness of the blending of cultures and America's changing role in a global community.
Eat & drink your way to better health, a better body and a better planet.
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall