Retired police officer shot, killed while helping protect San Francisco news crew

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A former police officer hired to provide private security for a San Fransisco area TV news crew was killed while the team was covering “smash and grab” thefts.

Kevin Nishita was a retired Colma Police Department officer who was frequently hired by local TV stations to guard crews in potential dangerous situations.

He was working for Star Protection Agency.

KRON, Nexstar Media Group’s MyNetworkTV station in the Bay Area, had hired Nishita through the agency to help protect its crew Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021.

The KRON news crew was covering organized retail crime in the area when an unknown person or persons allegedly attempted to steal camera equipment.

Nishita was allegedly shot in the abdomen during the incident.

“We are devastated by the loss of security guard and our friend, Kevin Nishita. Our deepest sympathy goes to Kevin’s wife, his children, his family, and to all his friends and colleagues,” KRON’s vice president and general manager, Jim Rose, said in a statement issued Saturday.

There is a reward of $32,500 being offered for information that leads to an arrest in the case.

“This senseless loss of life is due to yet another violent criminal act in the Bay Area. We hope that offering a reward will help lead to the arrest of those responsible so they can face justice for this terrible tragedy,” said Rose.

In addition to a wave of “smash and grab” organized retail thefts across the country, TV news crews have increasingly been targeted with violence and harassment while on assignment covering various news stories.

This has caused many stations, like in this case, to hire private security, which often includes retired or off duty police officers, to accompany crews on assignment — as both a way to protect the staffers and the pricey equipment and specially equipped vehicles these teams often travel with.

While increasingly unrest in the country means that TV news crews often venture into dangerous situations such as protests, there have been numerous reports of crews being harassed verbally or physically while covering a wide range of stories in relatively “safe” areas.

Perhaps the most infamous of these types of incidents is the 2015 murder of WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and videographer Adam Ward that occurred live on TV.

During the Jan. 6 Capitol Insurrection, multiple crews reported being attacked on the Capitol grounds. Multiples cases of vandalism to equipment, some of which had been abandoned as crews fled the violence, were reported.