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News crews robbed, assaulted in San Francisco

News crews from two Bay Area television stations were robbed at gunpoint and a cameraman was pistol whipped during live broadcasts this morning.

The robbery and assault occurred at about 6 a.m. Thursday along the city’s waterfront, SF Gate reported. Several camera crews were broadcasting live reports for local morning shows about a killing that occurred nearby Wednesday night.

KTVU reporter Cara Liu was reporting live when someone ran up and stole camera equipment belonging to KNTV, which also had a crew on the scene.

During the incident, KNTV camera operator Alan Waples was pistol-whipped.
KTVU anchor Brian Flores was introducing the story and preparing to go live to Liu when she appeared startled and said, “Hold on, hold on, wait,” before disappearing from the screen, as KNTV reporter Kris Sanchez and Waples, 54, were being robbed at gunpoint.

The assailant, one of three suspects, came up behind Waples, who was was adjusting Sanchez’s lighting, and put a gun to his head.

“Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!” Sanchez yelled.

The KTVU camera that was stolen.
Photos from the San Francisco Police.

Waples said, “Take the camera!”

He recalled later that he was waiting for the click of the gun.
“I thought he was going to kill Alan,” Sanchez said.

he man then threw Waples to the ground and hit him with the gun in the ear, causing a large gash and leaving a big bruise on his upper arm.

All of this unfolded quickly as KTVU was broadcasting live, although the incident wasn’t audible.

One of the robbers.

“Cara, you still there?” Flores asked.
“Sorry, there’s an incident out here,” she replied as she and KTVU photographer Keith Crook left to tend to the stricken KNTV crew.

“What’s going on out there, Cara, doing OK?” Flores asked.

The robber drove away in a black BMW with two cameras and two tripods from stations KTVU and KNTV.

Two other camera crews on the scene weren’t robbed.

Waples was examined on the scene and wasn’t hospitalized.

The gun used in today’s robbery.

Local television and newspaper crews have been robbed several times in recent years, though usually the incidents occur in Oakland.

Many crews travel with armed guards when reporting in high-crime areas.

Wednesday’s murder and Thursday’s robbery occurred at Pier 14 along the Embarcadero, a popular spot for tourists and locals.

San Francisco police were first called to the pier at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday where they found a 31-year-old woman wounded with a gunshot to the upper body.
Police detained a “person of interest,” but released no further details about the shooting. The woman died later at a hospital.

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