Fox News sued over airing suicide of chase suspect

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 18, 2013 at 3:35 pm •  Published: June 18, 2013
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PHOENIX (AP) — A woman sued Fox News Network for airing live footage last fall of a carjacking suspect in a police chase committing suicide in the Arizona desert and not using a time delay that would have prevented the death from being broadcast on national television.

The lawsuit alleges the children of 33-year-old suspect JoDon Romero have suffered emotional distress from having seen the video of their father fatally shooting himself on Sept. 28 at the end of an 80-mile car chase.

The lawsuit seeking unspecified damages was filed June 6 in county court in metro Phoenix by Angela Rodriguez, the mother of Romero's three sons, ages 15, 13 and 9. It was also filed against Fox Entertainment Group Inc. and Fox's parent company, News Corp.

The network issued a statement saying it couldn't comment because of the pending litigation.

Fox News was covering the chase using a live helicopter shot from Phoenix affiliate KSAZ-TV. Anchor Shepard Smith told viewers that the video was supposed to be on a delay so it could be cut off if something went awry and that the footage didn't belong on TV and apologized for it. "Get off it," Smith said repeatedly immediately after the suicide was aired.

The lawsuit said the Phoenix affiliate succeeded in using its time delay.

The chase began in Phoenix when police say Romero had a minor incident in which he apparently hit a passing car with his hand, leading to a call to police. As officers were heading to the scene, police say Romero stole a car at gunpoint and police began an hour-long pursuit on an interstate west of Phoenix. Authorities say Romero opened fire and eventually drove off into the desert, got out of the car, began walking down a dirt road and eventually killed himself.

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