Felon Jodon Romero driving a stolen vehicle during a police chase on Friday. (Photo : Fox News Press Release)
The suspect who's suicide was accidentally aired live on Fox News on Friday has finally been identified.
Thirty-three-year-old Jodon Romeron led police on an hour-long car chase in a Dodge Caliber after firing at police immediately after stealing a car on Friday. Romero stopped driving after an hour, got out of the car and after running briefly he shot himself in the head.
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Fox has already apologized for the error multiple times and broadcaster Shepard Smith even tried getting cameramen to stop filming but his efforts were too late. Police chases have little-to-no news value, but channels broadcast them knowing people will watch hoping that something tragic or controversial happens despite being stunned and outraged afterwards.
To make matters worse, Romero's children watched the footage of their dad killing himself later in the day. They did not watch the footage as it aired on Fox News, but many videos were posted on the internet shortly after the channel aired the tragedy to the world. It was easy for anyone to access the video, including his children.
"We created a five-second delay, as if you were to bleep back your DVR five seconds," said Smith live on Fox News. "That's what we did with the picture we were showing you, so we would see in the studio what was happening five seconds before you did, so that if anything went horribly wrong, we'd be able to cut away from it without subjecting you to it."
Fox however did not cut away in time. After Romero shot himself the network quickly went to a commercial break before Smith apologized for the mistake.
"We really messed up," said Smith. "And we're all very sorry. That didn't belong on TV."
Some news outlets have defended Fox News for the accidental blunder, saying there is no way the station could have known Romero was going to kill himself. Supporters feel that if the station determined the story was newsworthy, then they had the right to cover it, and shouldn't be blamed for something they couldn't control.
Car chases, captured by local news helicopters in some major cities, are frequently shown on a 5 to 10 second delay because of the possibility of violence or a tragedy like the one that occurred Friday. Some national cable news network stations like Fox pick up the local feeds and show them instead especially on slow news days. Seeing as Fox News has a reputation for broadcasting almost any car chase they can get their hands on, they will have to think twice now if they want to go for the cheap ratings boost again.