Fox has broadcast a suicide live on TV, stunning viewers. The cable news channel was following live footage of a police pursuit when the suspect being chased suddenly jumped from his car and ran down a dirt track.
The news channel continued showing the suspect, who then suddenly fled onto a grassy patch, before pulling out a firearm.
Fox News Channel's anchor, Shepherd Smith, was providing a live commentary of the chase as all this happened. However, suddenly the suspect turned the gun on himself sparking Smith to call out, "Get off it, get off it," as he could see what was about to happen.
However, the news channel was unable to cut away from the scene in time, and the suspect pulled the trigger, shooting himself dead. Viewers could hear Fox producers gasping in horror at the sudden turn of events as the suspect slumped to the ground.
The channel then quickly cut to a commercial break as Smith attempted to re-compose himself. When the cameras came back a visibly shaken Smith issued an apology to viewers for showing the tragic event. He admitted, "That didn't belong on TV."
Smith said, "We see a lot of things that we don't let get to [the viewers] because it's not time appropriate, it's insensitive, it's just wrong and that was wrong and that won't happen again on my watch. And I'm sorry."
Fox has since explained that they intended to show a five second delay of the chase once the suspect had fled from his car. However, it appears as though the live footage was still rolling for Fox News viewers to watch.
That explanation appeared to make sense since Smith appeared to react to the shooting several seconds after the incident had already happened, indicating that he was being shown the delayed version of events.
It has often been debated whether news channels should show live police chases, and it has always been a fear that too much could be shown to live viewers when sudden tragedies occur. This incident is sure to re-spark that debate, and many are sure to urge tighter restrictions on live TV broadcasts of such events.
No details of the suicide suspect were made immediately available.