Wednesday, March 23, 2011

KTRK 13 reporter tackles suspect on camera; the story behind the classic clip

Earlier this month I showed you this amazing report that ran on KTRK 13 in the late 80s. It features former Houston TV reporter Carlos Aguilar tackling a suspect trying to escape police. I found out former KTRK photographer John Miller shot the amazing footage.

Since I posted the clip, which resurfaced on YouTube after an earlier post where I attempted to recall the event, I've talked with Carols Aguilar in person and his wife over Facebook. Charlotte Perry Aguilar gave me this very detailed account of the video.

THE FOLLOWING IS WRITTEN BY Charlotte Perry Aguilar:

Aguilar after tackling the suspect near I-10. 
"I can tell you with certainty that it is from 1987; I believe it was August. I know this because I had just moved to Houston from L.A. and was ready to hatch our first child, who was born in September.

Carlos had called me during the day to tell me about the awful story he was covering. He was especially moved because we were very baby-minded and it involved a newborn baby (who did suffer serious brain damage, he learned later). I was watching live coverage that evening, and Carlos was reporting from the hospital, showed the taped report of what had happened, and said the guy had escaped custody.

Apparently several people nearby saw the live shot, had spotted the suspect hitchhiking along I-10 and ran over to tell Carlos. There were no guards or cops around but Carlos ran smack into the suspect trying to make his getaway, and that's what you see. I nearly gave birth on the spot, watching this unfold. (My best friend from California was visiting and watching with me and wanted to take me back with her because she decided Carlos was seriously crazy.)

Despite KTRK's cautionary "don't copy this" follow-up coverage with dear Stephen (Gauvain), this video was as viral as anything could be in those days. The station made promos of it and put Carlos on every public affairs show. It ran on CNN. He received a commendation from Mayor (Kathy) Whitmire.

To this day, people still recognize Carlos and bring up this incident. We hadn't seen in since then, and I thank you greatly for helping it resurface. Our two children (now grown) and Carlos' two older girls had never seen it, and they're getting quite a charge out of Gonzo Dad. But the important thing, to me, was that he didn't know the camera was rolling. Carlos just has a very strong sense of justice and that's what was captured on tape -- not some reporter trying to showboat."
- Charlotte Perry Aguilar

Charlotte also told me the clip was spread to ABC and all of its stations too.


- Former KTRK 13 reporter Carlos Aguilar debuts new TV show
- TV reporter breaks up fight on camera COMMENT: Click to leave your thoughts on this post here