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Published On: Sat, Sep 29th, 2012

Fox airs suicide of carjacker evading police live VIDEO

A carjacker shot himself to death after a police chase in Arizona on Friday in a shocking spectacle which aired on live Fox News, instigating outrage from the social media.

UPDATE: The man has been identified by police as Jodon Romero – read more details here

The stunning live feed of the fleeing suspect putting a gun to his head and pulling the trigger aired at 3:31 p.m., with anchor Shepard Smith caught cringing before the coverage ended — seconds too late.

“Get off, get off, get off,” said a clearly distraught Smith, his voice rising as the man’s deadly intent became clear. “Get off it! Get off it! Get off it!”

The man was seen on the Fox News Channel stumbling from a dark red vehicle into the desert near Phoenix, stopping a short distance away and then apparently pulling the trigger of a gun pointed to the right side of his head. He then crumpled face-forward into the ground.

Social media erupted quickly with reaction to the televised incident, much of it negative.

“Cannot believe FOX let a live suicide air over their network, my heart literally sank watching that.. #appalled,” said a Twitter user who identified herself as Kelcey Brand.

The Columbia Journalism Review asked in a tweet: “Who’s worse? @FoxNews for airing the suicide, or @Buzzfeed for re-posting the video just in case you missed it the first time?”

Andrew Kaczynski, a reporter for BuzzFeed Politics, tweeted back to Columbia Journalism Review: “I prefer your whiny usually incorrect long form analysis pieces over your instant judgment.”
“We really messed up and we’re all very sorry,” Smith told viewers. “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 happened.”

The network had a five-second delay on the helicopter feed of the chase but was unable to use it in time due to “severe human error,” Michael Clemente, executive vice president of news editorial, said in a statement. “We apologize for what viewers ultimately saw on the screen.”

Shepard Smith issued an apology.

His statement:

Well, uh, some explaining to do. While we were taking that car chase and showing it to you live, when the guy pulled over and got out of the vehicle, we went on delay. So, that’s why I didn’t talk for about 10 seconds. We created a five second delay as if you were to bleep back your DVR five seconds, that’s what we did with the picture we were showing you, so that we could see in the studio five seconds before you did, so if anything went horribly wrong, we would be able to cut away from it without subjecting you to it.

And we really messed up. And we’re all very sorry. 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.

Sometimes we see a lot of things that we don’t let get to you, because it’s not time appropriate, it’s insensitive, it’s just wrong. And that was wrong. And that won’t happen again on my watch. And I’m sorry.

We’ll update you on what happened with that guy and how that went down tonight on The Fox Report. I’m sorry.

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. Jodon Romero, identified as Arizona man who committed suicide, accidentally broadcast on Fox - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] a car at gunpoint, shot at Phoenix police officers and then led them on a chase that ended with his suicide broadcast on Fox was identified as a wanted felon with a long criminal […]

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