A security guard working for a California news station died on Saturday, days after he was shot by armed robbers while protecting a news crew reporting on a recent armed robbery.
Ex-police officer Kevin Nishita was guarding the KRON4 crew on Wednesday as they covered a recent Oakland robbery. When someone attempted to steal their camera gear, Nishita attempted to block the assailant but was shot in the lower abdomen.
He was taken to a hospital in critical condition, while a bystander was treated for shrapnel wounds.
Police attributed the attack to “an extremely violent week” in Oakland and urged those with knowledge of the incident to come forward. The station is also offering a $32,500 reward for any information leading to an arrest.
“This senseless loss of life is due to yet another violent criminal act in the Bay Area,” KRON4’s vice president Jim Rose said in a statement. “We hope that offering a reward will help lead to the arrest of those responsible so they can face justice for this terrible tragedy.”
Local outlets in the area have repeatedly used security guards while out on field assignments due to a spate of thieves targeting camera equipment, ABC7 reported.
Businesses in the Bay Area are also reportedly beefing up security after a string of high-profile robberies, including smash-and-grab jobs at a Louis Vuitton store in popular Union Square and a Nordstrom in Walnut Creek.
Police believe the recent string of robberies may be related, and San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin said his office has charged nine people with felonies related to the thefts.
Nishita previously worked with Star Protection Agency, one of the largest private security firms on the West Coast, and was honored by the Alameda Sheriff’s Office for his past service as a police officer.
Tributes poured in from KRON4 reporters and others who knew Nishita, many of whom praised his kindness and condemned the senseless violence that took his life.
“He died protecting one of our own, a colleague reporting on the very violence that took his life,” said Mark Neerman, the director of local affiliate KPIX5, for which Nishita previously worked. “I know you join me in sending condolences to his family and in sending thanks to Kevin for standing up for us all.”
KRON4 reporter Will Tran tweeted how his “heart is broken” and remembered Nishita as a friend. “I’m scared for me. I’m scared for my colleagues,” he wrote. “He was our friend and now he is gone.”