June 20, 1979: ABC News correspondent shot dead in Nicaragua

Bill Stewart was fatally shot at a checkpoint by a Nicaraguan National Guard soldier in the capital of Managua.
5:40 | 07/12/18

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Transcript for June 20, 1979: ABC News correspondent shot dead in Nicaragua
ABC news correspondent Bill Stewart 37 years old was killed today in Nicaragua. I'm going to tell you more about him in a moment but first we're and on the scene account of the situation in Nicaragua. And the murder of our correspondent. We resolved fail in the not walk. Firing rockets to soften up anti government forces of ground troops the Nicaraguan National Guard. Launched a major assault and about what to retake poor neighborhoods are Barrios held by the guerrillas. Finally all Nicaragua's second largest city guerrillas in control of almost the entire town also came under air attack. Late yesterday Sandinistas hiding behind barricades took potshots at what it removed and made ineffectual gestures at the enormous firepower from above. Firepower that became all too real to the television crew that was only feet away from a direct hit on a building. They guerrillas showed government soldiers who were captured or surrendered. Gunman on rooftops stood watch and fired at lone National Guard holdups only a handful left. Much of this historic University City has already been destroyed a process that will not soon end. This morning and Managua and after some of the heaviest fighting of the war. Bill Stewart and an ABC camera crew went into and attacked neighborhood which was then com. National Guardsmen were friendly at the first checkpoint. In fact they were eager to talk and try to disprove reports of low National Guard morale. It was at this point that Bill Stewart saw an opportunity to say something he wanted to say about this civil war. Here are bill's final words before the two of his trade at a news camera. It is said that in every society it is the young men who fight the Oltmanns wars and that is especially true here in Nicaragua. For those who are fighting and dying on both sides are very young indeed. They were allowed to pass but at the next checkpoint the attitude among the soldiers was entirely different from what bill and the crew had just seen. Bill showed he was unarmed and presented his president vacation. Still he was forced to kneel and then lie down on the pavement. Sometime during this bill's Nicaraguan interpreter who had gone ahead of bill was shot and killed nearby. We do not know whether bill knew that as the soldier kicked him in the side. And then shot him. Late today the State Department called the deaths of Bill Stewart and his interpreter shocking and tragic events secretary Vance has asked for a full report from the US embassy in Managua. I'm from the government of Nicaragua. And Roone Arledge president of ABC news issued a statement saying this deliberate act of murder. By a soldier of the Nicaraguan government on an unarmed newsman in order to his knees at a National Guard roadblock. Cries out for both full investigation. And the penalty or what ever justices left and that land. Most of what was a West Virginia country boy with degrees from Ohio State and Columbia. You cover the fighting in the Middle East and the turmoil in Iraq where he obtained the exclusive interview with the Ayatollah Khomeini. Carried out on the other assignments in this country for ABC news and before he joined us he worked as a reporter in Minneapolis and Philadelphia he was gored. And we knew it was scored. It breaks our hearts to admit it now but that's why we sent him on so many difficult and dangerous assignments. We know of no better way to pay tribute to and to demonstrate what his loss means to us and the U. And the show again his last report from Nicaragua seen on this network. Yesterday morning. This is the civil war inside Beriault Santa Rosa it is a people's war. Led by a few who have trained. Joined and by the people of the barrio or neighborhood. Who have behind them decades of hatred of the Somoza family. The gorillas survive here behind barricades. With rifles Molotov cocktails. And conviction. Outmanned and outgunned by the National Guard. And fearing most. Holes from the sky the bombs against which they have no defense. This time the Barmes hit an electric parts manufacturing company. Next time the bombs may come closer. One family of sixteen dug a bomb shelter here they sleep in it every night they don't know for sure how well it will work. This building was a school in seven of those known as the hospital. The rebels wearing Red Cross jackets are not Red Cross workers. They are guerrilla Mets who have adopted a Red Cross as their symbol. This man being cared for has been shot as has this casual more than any other shows the face of this war. She is eleven years old. And she was wounded in the fight. Bill Stewart ABC news Murdoch. That was the report of a gift a journalist and an extraordinarily warm and sensitive human being he is survived by his wife Myrna and by his mother and father. And by his colleagues at ABC news will cherish his memory and who know that our profession was honored by his devotion to it. That's our report on world news tonight for ABC news good night.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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