According to NBC, an affiliate news crew in the San Francisco Bay Area was robbed and beaten by an unknown assailant early Thursday morning while they were trying to film a broadcast.

The KNTV crew was filming outside Pier 14 covering a shooting that had occurred the night before when they suddenly became the story. Via NBC:

As the two were about to go on air, a suspect pulled up to the curb in a black four-door BMW and approached the photographer and pistol-whipped him with a gun, shoved him to the ground, the photographer and reporter said. The suspect then grabbed the photographer’s camera gear, and as he was struggling to get it inside his getaway car, returned to pistol whip the photographer again, the news crew reported.

The reporter was not injured and the photographer suffered a cut to his ear. The photographer was checked out by paramedics along the Embarcadero and declared OK.

Although the action happened off-camera, it was apparently obvious something was amiss via the KTVU live shot.

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 camera operator Alan Waples, 54, were being robbed at gunpoint by a young man.

The assailant 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.

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.

The man then threw him 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.

The attackers apparently fled in a black BMW, leaving behind a sole ammunition magazine.

This type of attack on broadcasters is apparently common in the Bay Area, where the San Francisco Chronicle notes crews have begun to hire security teams when they go out in the field.

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