There was no disagreement among stations on Aug. 27 about what was the lead story on newscasts — a mentally ill 44-year-old man was shot dead about Noon at a National City Bank near Bashford Manor. But the coverage of the accident varied widely, and WHAS-TV outhustled its competitors.
WHAS-TV videographer Ron Johnson captured Guy Ray III’s death at the hands of Louisville SWAT team members from 70 yards away, while the station’s helicopter filmed the same scene from above. The station, which blurred the image as Ray is hit and falls to the ground, was the only local station with the dramatic video of Ray being gunned down.
The video itself is clear and detailed. The station counted 11 shots in the 7 seconds it took for Ray to walk out of the bank with a rifle in hand, apparently with a death wish. And even though all local stations talked with Ray’s father, only WHAS clearly lableled it for what it apparently was: suicide by cop.
The station had this quote from Ray’s father: “Suicide by cop is exactly what happened today.”