A surreal scene played out on Fox News Channel Saturday.
Overall, it seemed like any other crazy high speed car chase, news helicopters capturing a fleeing desperate criminal and the relentless pursuit of the police. Fox News anchor Shepard Smith offered commentary of the man's bewildered state as he pulled off to a dirt road, grabbed something from his car, and continued his escape on foot, stumbling along a sandy pathway seemingly without direction. Evidently what the perpetrator had pulled from his vehicle was a handgun, and before the helicopter footage could be cut off the man shot himself in the head.
Smith was noticeably shaken by the incident, telling the control booth emphatically to cut away before realizing the footage had already aired. The anchor issued an on-air apology when the channel returned from commercial break, stating that the while the feed was on a time delay the network had failed to cut it off before the suicide aired.
Now, Fox News Executive Vice President of News Editorial has issued a statement on the matter, saying "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.”
Below is Shepard Smith's on-air apology from immediately following the incident.