Bryce Dion: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Bryce Dion, a crew member on the reality TV show Cops, was killed by a police bullet Tuesday night during filming of the show in Omaha.

Here’s what you should know about Dion and the incident that took his life.


1. It Happened at Wendy’s

bryce dion, cops tv show shooting omaha

The Wendy’s at 43rd and Dodge in Omaha, scene of the deadly shooting. (Google Street View)

Dion was embedded with Omaha police carrying sound equipment for a crew of Cops, the popular Spike TV reality show that captures raw footage of police proceedings in various American cities.

Police responded to a call of an armed robbery and entered the Wendy’s restaurant at 43rd and Dodge. Witnesses directed officers into the Wendy’s, where they encountered an apparently armed suspect, 32-year-old Cortez Washington, aiming a pistol at a Wendy’s employee.

bryce dion, cops crew member killed

Cops cameras captured the chaos as police opened fire inside a Wendy’s, killing a suspect and a Cops crew member. (Screenshot of Cops raw footage via Omaha Police)

According to police, the suspect fired two shots, and police opened fire.

Dion was killed by “friendly fire” when he found himself trapped in the vestibule of Wendy’s during the crossfire.


2. The Suspect Didn’t Have a Real Gun

Adding to the tragedy, it turns out the pistol wielded by the Washington was not a real gun but an Airsoft pellet gun.

Washington allegedly fired the pellet gun twice, and it sounded like a real gun to the officers.

Washington also was killed as the officers unleashed a barrage of bullets. He escaped out a back door but collapsed in the parking lot.

RAW: Police give update on deadly officer-involved shooting that killed "COPS" TV staffer, suspectThe Omaha Police Department and representatives from Langley Productions talk to the media about the officer-involved shooting at a Wendy's on Tuesday, Aug. 26.2014-08-27T20:43:02.000Z

Above, watch the Omaha Police press conference revealing that Dion was killed by police fire and describing the incident in detail.


3. The Cops Fired at Least 30 Shots

Omaha.com reports that at least 30 shots were fired.

Above, via TMZ, hear the police-radio call requesting an ambulance squad, which includes these chilling words:

One of the Cops guys has been hit by gunfire; we need a squad here now!

Pending an investigation and grand jury proceedings, the three officers involved in the incident are on paid administrative leave. All three fired multiple bullets.

They were identified as Darren Cunningham, 37, a 10-year veteran of the force; Brooks Riley, 35, a four-year veteran; and Jason Willhelm, 39, a four-year veteran.

Aiding the investigation will be the advantage of having high-quality footage shot by the Cops camera crew.

Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer told reporters at a live-streamed press conference today that he accepted Cops‘ invitation to film in Omaha to help restore the public image of the department.

This comes after incidents like this one:

and this one:


4. Dion Was Wearing a Bulletproof Vest

Two Dead in Fatal Officer Involved ShootingNot specified2014-08-27T17:27:01.000Z

Dion was protected by a ballistic vest, but a bullet passed behind the vest near the arm opening and killed him.

Above, watch a local news report from KMTV Action 3 News.


5. Dion Had Just Been Promoted to Sound Supervisor

Dion, 38, is described as a hardworking and dedicated employee. He had just been promoted to sound supervisor.

Dion was a native of Lawrence, Massachusetts, but had been living in Santa Monica, California. According to his IMDB page, he worked on Cops since 2009.

Cops producer Langley Productions released this statement:

We are deeply saddened and shocked by this tragedy and our main concern is helping his family in any way we can. Bryce Dion was a long-term member of the Cops team and a very talented and dedicated person. We mourn his passing. An investigation is ongoing and we are cooperating with local authorities.