A photographer and a reporter in a television news crew were robbed at gunpoint in Chicago — while they were reporting on a string of robberies in the city.
According to the Chicago Tribune, a photographer and reporter for Spanish-language TV station Univision Chicago were filming just before 05:00 on Monday in the 1200 block of North Milwaukee Avenue, in the city’s West Town neighborhood when three men wearing ski masks and brandishing firearms robbed them at gunpoint.
“They were approached with guns and robbed. Mainly it was personal items, and they took a camera,” the vice-president of news at Univision Chicago, Luis Godinez, tells the Chicago Tribune.
Godinez said that the television news crew was filming a story about robberies in the West Town community that was set to run on the morning news. He said that the footage they shot was in the stolen camera, and the story consequently never made it on the air.
Chicago police said that no one was hurt in the incident and no arrests have been made yet. The police have identified the victims as a 28-year-old man and a 42-year-old man. Police said that the pair was outside when the three men drove up in a gray sedan and black SUV.
After the armed robbers stole the camera and personal items from the television news crew, they fled the scene in their vehicles.
Growing Safety Threat to News Photographers
According to Bloomberg, the Chicago Police Department reported a string of robberies in the area earlier this month. In several instances, armed offenders wearing ski masks were driving stolen Kia and Hyundai vehicles and stopping to steal victims’ belongings.
The episode was the second robbery this month involving a Chicago news crew, after a WLS-TV photographer was assaulted and robbed on August 8 while preparing to cover a weekday afternoon news conference on Chicago’s West Side.
The robberies prompted the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians Local 41, which represents TV photographers in Chicago, to warn about the growing safety threats to those who cover the news.
“Our news photographers and reporters provide a very important public service in keeping our community informed. We are committed to making sure that their safety comes first,” Raza Siddiqui, president of the union local, says in a statement.
Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.