Journal Broadcast Group’s KTNV-TV (ABC) Channel 13 Action News Hawk helped police catch a robbery suspect 7/29 after he crashed into a house and took off on foot. “It’s not often Metro asks for our support, but we’re always more than willing to give it to them,” said photographer, Jason Harvey. Harvey manned the camera from above, while Roger Maynulet piloted the helicopter. Police say it was their quick thinking that helped catch Robert Kennedy, 35, who’s now in custody for robbing a Walgreens in that market. He’s charged with burglary and possession of stolen property.
“We want to thank you over at Channel 13,” says Metro’s Public Information Officer, Bill Cassell. “You gave use a great hand Friday morning. Normally, it’s the news talking about what our helicopters are doing. But in this case, it’s the news talking about what your helicopters did.”
Metro followed Kennedy to his home. In a panic, Kennedy crashed his truck into his house, jumped out, and ran from officers. That’s when the KTNV chopper team came through. Harvey said the heard one of the officers on the ground say ‘he’s running northbound across Russell Road,'” So, he and Maynulet headed that way in the chopper: “Then, I saw the guy in the backyard about a block north of Russell Road,” Harvey says. “So I called 911 myself, and kept filming it.”
“The suspect ran into the shed,” Maynulet recalled. “We were trying to talk the police into it, so I held the helicopter into a hover, pretty much right above the shed, so Metro could see where we were.”
Police surrounded the shed, and eventually got to Kennedy. Credit also goes to flight controllers at McCarran who helped relay information between the Action News Hawk and Metro ground units.
RBR-TVBR observation: As much as aiding the police with your traffic copter is a great deed, events like this can literally change a ratings book. Viewers change their perspective of the news team at a TV station when the breaking story actually involves the news team. After thousands in that market flipped over to see the live event, the station becomes top of mind for many for breaking local news. The goal, of course, is to keep that momentum going as long as possible in the way the stories are reported.