U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Man robs and briefly kidnaps NBC affiliate reporter at gunpoint

Incident Details

July 7, 2021 - Update

Man sentenced for kidnapping, robbing Washington state reporter

The man who robbed and briefly kidnapped a KNDU-TV reporter at gunpoint in Kennewick, Washington, was sentenced to prison on July 7, 2021, according to court documents reviewed by the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.

The unidentified reporter was parked at the Kennewick School District building in August 2019, preparing to cover a planned teachers’ strike, when 19-year-old Karlo Domingo Medina got into the back seat of her car, pointed a gun at her and told her to start driving. After she had driven a few feet, Medina told her to stop the car and jumped out, taking her microphone with him.

Medina was arrested later that day and charged with first-degree robbery, attempted robbery and second-degree kidnapping. He pleaded guilty to all three charges and was sentenced to 129 months in prison and 18 months of community custody, a form of probation, as well as $500 in restitution.

August 27, 2019

A reporter for NBC Right Now in Kennewick, Washington, was robbed and briefly kidnapped at gunpoint while covering a local teachers strike on Aug. 27, 2019.

An undisclosed reporter had set up her video camera in the parking lot of the Kennewick School District ahead of a planned teachers strike, YakTriNews reported. At around 5:45 a.m., as she was sitting in her news vehicle waiting for the rally to begin, a man got into the backseat of her car, pointed a gun at her and told her to drive.

She complied, but after driving a few feet the man “got spooked,” NBC Right Now reported. Kennewick Police Lt. Aaron Clem told the Tri-City Herald that the man told her to stop the car, then got out of it and ran across the street and toward some apartments.

YakTriNews reported that the man took the journalist’s microphone with him when he fled. NBC Right Now reported that she was uninjured.

A 19-year-old identified as Karlo Medina was arrested in connection with the incident later that day, and has been charged with first-degree robbery and second degree kidnapping, in addition to burglary and attempted rape in an unrelated incident the day before.

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