U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

San Antonio TV video journalist shot at while covering suspicious house fire

Incident Details

Date of Incident
July 5, 2021
San Antonio, Texas


Was the journalist targeted?
July 5, 2021

Television video journalist Joshua Saunders was shot at while he covered a story about a house fire in San Antonio, Texas, on July 5, 2021.

A man with two handguns fired on Saunders and reporter Dillon Collier from less than 10 feet away as they spoke to the owner of the fire-damaged home. Saunders, an Emmy Award winner, and Collier work for KSAT News 12 in San Antonio. Collier’s assault is documented here.

Collier told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that he and Saunders were assigned to cover the fire after shell casings had been found at the scene and arson investigators were looking into whether someone had shot into the home or started the fire intentionally.

After an interview with the owner of the home ended they moved closer to the scene to shoot additional footage. Collier said that after Saunders — who didn’t reply to a request for a comment — had set up the camera, one of the female family members came running out screaming that her relative had a gun and was going to kill them. The journalists moved behind an SUV.

“The man then emerged from the home holding two large handguns, one in each hand. He said something to the effect of us not asking his permission to be there,” Collier said. “I remember him firing two shots at us from very close range, less than 10 feet away. I then ran to my left and headed east from the home along a sidewalk as the man fired shots in the opposite direction from me, toward where Josh was running.”

An SUV containing family members overtook Saunders, who was later rejoined by Collier. Both journalists called 911 to report the shooting.

San Antonio police officers then arrived and set up a perimeter, Collier said. A homicide detective interviewed everyone targeted by the gunman, as a standoff lasting several hours took place.

“A few hours later the San Antonio police chief showed up and informed the media that the gunman had been killed by officers after firing at them in the backyard of the home he went into,” Collier said.

The San Antonio Police Department didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Collier said KSAT management had repeatedly asked whether they were OK, and had offered them counseling.

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