U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

CBS San Francisco news reporter robbed at gunpoint, security guard shot

Incident Details

Date of Incident
February 24, 2019
Location
Oakland, California

Assault

Was the journalist targeted?
Yes
KPIX/Joe Vazquez

This screenshot from California-based KPIX 5 reporter, Joe Vazquez, shows the news team's security guard being transported after receiving a gunshot wound to the leg. He is expected to recover.

— KPIX/Joe Vazquez
February 24, 2019

Joe Vazquez, a reporter for San Francisco-based local CBS KPIX 5 News was robbed at gunpoint early in the evening on Feb. 24, 2019, while covering the Oakland teachers’ strike.

Having just finished gathering interviews around 5 p.m., Vazquez was standing outside his news van with photographer John Anglin when two men pulled up in a car, KPIX reported. The men got out and one held a gun to Anglin’s head, demanding their camera.

According to a tweet from Vazquez the men took cover in the news van with Vazquez, telling him to get down.

In July 2015, NBC Bay Area reported that two of their journalists and a reporter from KTVU were attacked and robbed in the early morning while preparing to go on air at Pier 14, a popular tourist designation, in San Francisco. A KPIX photojournalist was also attacked and robbed by a group of young men after broadcasting live in front of a school in Oakland in November 2012.

Watson confirmed that multiple suspects have been arrested in connection with the Feb. 24 robbery, but neither the names of the suspects nor charges will be released until the District Attorney’s Office formally files charges.

Watson told the Tracker that at 5:15 p.m. on that day a suspect walked into a nearby hospital seeking treatment for several gunshot wounds and was arrested in connection with the robbery and shooting. Later that evening Oakland police pursued another suspect driving a car connected with the robbery and detained the driver.

As a result of the arrests, the stolen camera was recovered, and the investigation is ongoing.

“We heard a flurry of loud gunshots. Very close! More shots, I saw a guy drag the camera away and saw our guard Matt was hit,” Vazquez wrote.

Matt Meredith, a retired Berkeley police officer, was accompanying the news crew as a private security guard. Meredith exchanged fire with the suspect and was shot in the upper leg before the suspects fled.

“The security guard says he turned to run to retreat, there were no words exchanged, the gunman came straight up and shot him,” Vazquez told KPIX.

Meredith was transported to Highland Hospital where he was treated. He has since been released and is expected to recover, Oakland Police spokesperson Johnna Watson told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.

This is not the first time that a news crew has been targeted for theft in the San Francisco area. Violent robberies targeting news crews became a consistent problem beginning in 2011 during the Occupy Wall Street movement, KPIX reported, which has motivated many Bay area television stations to hire private security to accompany their teams in the field.

As a result of the arrests, the stolen camera was recovered, and the investigation is ongoing.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected]