An Arizona carjacker who shot at police and at a TV news helicopter during a high speed chase and ended the pursuit by getting out of the car and shooting himself in the head, which was broadcast live on Fox News Channel, has been identified.
Jodon Romero, 33, was wanted for parole violations and had a criminal record including a weapons conviction and numerous violent crimes, Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Tommy Thompson said today. .
Police pursued Romero after he allegedly carjacked a red 2008 Dodge Caliber at gunpoint in Phoenix Friday, following an accident with another car he had been driving.
Cops were alerted to both incidents and realized the suspect in both cases shared a description. When cops began to pursue the suspect, he started shooting at police cars, Thompson said.
Police then fell back and followed the car from a distance. The suspect, however, shot at the Fox News chopper that covered the chase along I-10 outside about 75 miles from the California border.
Initial reports indicated that a victim may have remained in the stolen car, but Thompson said only the suspect was involved.
Chopper video showed the vehicle zooming along Arizona's wide open highway, flashing past cars and trucks, switching lanes as it weaved through traffic, at times speeding along the shoulder of the road.
The camera from the chopper captured the moment the chase ended with the man stumbling out of a red SUV into a grassy area. He reached into his waistband and pulled a handgun. He then shot himself in the head.
Police said the suspect died at the scene. No civilians or police were wounded in the pursuit.
Fox cut away from the shot soon after the man shot himself and went to commercial break.
Following the break anchor Shepard Smith apologized for airing the shooting. He said the feed was on a five second delay, but they failed to cut it off in time.
"We really messed up and we're all very sorry," he said. "That didn't belong on TV... I personally apologize to you that it happened."
"It's insensitive and it's wrong," he said of airing the shooting.
Fox later issued a statement, which read: "We took every precaution to avoid any such live incident by putting the helicopter pictures on a five second delay. Unfortunately, this mistake was the result of a severe human error and we apologize for what viewers ultimately saw on the screen."