A man who led police on a high-speed chase through Phoenix apparently killed himself on live television this afternoon, Fox 10 News reports.
Cable TV's Fox News Channel was covering the police chase live, using local affiliate Fox 10's news helicopter. The suspect eventually pulled over, ran from his vehicle, and then apparently shot himself in the head.
The cable channel has since issued an apology for televising the incident.
According to authorities, the suspect, who hasn't been identified, carjacked a red Dodge Caliber at 43rd Avenue and Indian School Road. The suspect then drove onto westbound Interstate 10 where police followed in pursuit.
The chase reportedly lasted more than an hour, with the the suspect driving at speeds of up to 110 mph. According to authorities, the suspect fired shots at officers while driving near 43rd Avenue and Roosevelet Street.
Eventually, the man pulled off the freeway and began driving on dirt roads near the small town of Salome. At one point, the suspect pulled off the road, began to run, and then shot himself in the head.
The entire episode was televised nationally by Fox News Channel. Anchor Shepard Smith told viewers that the video was supposed to be on a five-second delay, but the delay failed, The Associated Press reports. "We really messed up, and we're all very sorry," Smith said after a commercial break.
Arizona's criminal code does not specifically address carjacking. Instead, suspects in carjacking crimes are often charged with robbery, kidnapping, aggravated assault, theft of means of transportation, or a combination of those charges, depending on the circumstances.
Under Arizona law, a person commits robbery by taking another person's property through the use of threats, intimidation, or force. In addition, firing a gun at others, as the suspect allegedly did during the chase, can result in more serious charges. For example, any assault carried out with a dangerous or deadly weapon will get you an aggravated assault charge in the state.
On Fox News, Smith later vowed that the network's mistake wouldn't be repeated. "That didn't belong on TV," Smith said, according to USA Today. "I personally apologize to you that that happened. That will not happen again on my watch, and I am sorry."
- Shooting on Live National TV: Fox New Apologizes (The Washington Post)
- Robbery Penalties and Sentencing (FindLaw)
- Robbery Defenses (FindLaw)
- Woman Gets 1 Year for Using Cancer Money for Breast Implants (FindLaw's Phoenix Criminal Law Blog)