Suspects Arrested After News Crew Robbed, Security Guard Shot While Covering California Teachers Strike

A news crew covering a teacher’s strike in California over the weekend was robbed by two people.

KPIX-TV reporter Joe Vazquez and photographer John Anglin were at the Oakland Library on Feb. 24, conducting interviews when a car pulled up and two people got out, one holding a gun. The people told Vazquez and Anglin to give them their car.

The news crew gave up their equipment. Then one of the robbers exchanged fire with security guard Matt Meredith, wounding Meredith in the leg.

“John abandoned the camera, took cover inside the news van where I was and told me to get down,” Joe Vazquez wrote on Twitter. “We heard a flurry of loud gunshots. Very close! More shots, I saw a guy drag the camera away and saw our guard Matt was hit. Quickly called 9-1-1.”

Vasquez posted video footage from the scene showing paramedics treating Meredith and said the wounds weren’t life-threatening. Meredith is a retired Berkeley police officer who was serving as a guard for the news crew.

Alameda County Sheriff spokesperson Sgt. Ray Kelly told CBS that one of the suspects was arrested about an hour after the robbery.

The 21-year-old, who has not been publicly identified, walked into Highland Hospital seeking treatment for several gunshot wounds.

Deputies detained the man and he was arrested by Oakland police officers in connection with the shooting.

About two hours later, Oakland Police Department officers spotted a Lexus believed to be involved in the shooting, leading to the driver crashing. The driver was arrested.

Surveillance footage showed the sedan traveling at a high speed and weaving through traffic before slamming into parked cars.

Oakland Police spokeswoman Johanna Watson said that officers recovered the stolen camera. On Monday, KPIX said in an update that Meredith is recovering in the hospital.

Guards

Assaults in the Bay Area have become so common in recent years that news agencies have taken to hiring armed guards like Meredith to ride with news crews, reported the Associated Press.

There were five robberies of television news crews and still photographers in 2012, two in 2013, three in 2014, and three or more in 2015.

In addition, several vehicles were stolen.

“We don’t know what the market is for these cameras,” San Francisco Police Sgt. Michael Andraychuk said previously. Cameras cost upwards of $50,000 each but could be difficult to sell on the black market.