Event unfolded on air

February 11, 2011 

The final moments of a bank robbery-turned-hostage situation in Cary were carried on the live local news Thursday afternoon, and two stations found themselves in a sticky situation when that scene turned deadly.

WRAL showed footage of the suspect leading a woman from the Wachovia bank and holding a gun to her head, and then cut away before the man was shot dead by police.

WTVD cut away from the scene too, but when they returned, they say they accidentally showed a replay that included footage of the suspect being shot. On subsequent replays, footage of the man being shot was not shown.

WTVD news director Rob Elmore says showing the video was a mistake.

"We had no intention of showing a man being shot, and certainly we didn't want to do that, and we regret that we did.

"I've directed all of our stations to never show that again," Elmore added.

WRAL news director Rick Gall said WRAL also intentionally cut away from the scene to avoid airing a live situation that might end badly.

"It appeared to the staff we have in the control room that one of the people exiting the bank was or might be the suspect, and usually that doesn't end well," he said. "Recognizing that, we intentionally cut away from the video so that we wouldn't show something that ends badly.

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