The bullet that killed an employee of the long-running TV show Cops while filming a response to an armed robbery call was fired by a police officer, Omaha police confirmed Wednesday.
It turned out the suspect was only armed with an Airsoft rifle, which fires plastic pellets, Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said during a press conference.
The crewmember was identified by the show's producers, Langley Productions, as Bryce Dion who was working as the sound technician during the incident.
The Cops crew was with police who responded to an armed robbery call at a Wendy's restaurant around 9:20 p.m. CT when the shooting took place. The suspect and the Cops employee were both hit in the exchange and taken to the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
The suspect was declared dead at the hospital.
"We are deeply saddened and shocked by this tragedy and our main concern is helping his family in way we can," Langley Productions said in a statement. "Bryce Dion was a long term member of the Cops team and a very talented and dedicated person."
The restaurant's windows were riddled with bullet holes and the street was closed for several hours.
"We have a lot of ground to cover here tonight and officers will continue the investigation throughout the night," Deputy Police Chief Dave Baker said Tuesday.
Another robbery occurred just moments before at a nearby Little Caesar's restaurant and police are looking into a possible connection, Omaha NBC affiliate WOWT reported.
Cops has been filming in Omaha since June.
In June Schmaderer explained that he wanted Cops to film his department in action to put "the professionalism of our officers on display for the city and the world to see," according to the World-Herald.
Cops embeds camera crews with police units and uses no narration, other than the dialogue of the officers and those they come into contact with. The show is described on its website as one of the first "true and unscripted reality shows."
The show first aired on March 11, 1989, and has earned four Emmy nominations.