Rockford, Illinois — July 5, 2017 — The Fireworks are supposed to be a time of family celebration, fun and appreciation for our freedom but like so many other freedoms we’ve enjoyed, there is always someone who does their damnedest to try and ruin it. Unfortunately for many who attended the July 4th celebrations in Rockford, that’s exactly what they experienced.
Aaron Rice is a camera man for WTVO out of Rockford, Illinois. His LinkedIn actually says he’s a Promotions Manager. In a Facebook post made the morning of July 5th, Aaron said last night’s July 4th event was the first time in 20 years he felt that he and his crew and co-workers were in a dangerous environment.
“…a lot of live shots have the “goofballs” in the background who jump, make goofy faces or embarrass their parents in some way…but”, he adds, “It’d not warrant a post from me if it was just that”.
Aaron says during Rockford’s fireworks show his team was spit at from the parking deck above them. He said his crew also had water bottles dropped near them during a live broadcast and also set off a very large firework or cherry bomb right next to their stage. He says they even set one off inside the parking garage him and his crew were set up in.
“I’m so disappointed with what happened tonight during what should have been a fun and family-friendly evening for people in the Rockford area”, he said on his public post.
“During Rockford’s fireworks show, people were lighting fireworks in the street, roughly 100 or so feet from where we were broadcasting from.”
“There were several fights during the fireworks, and again, about 100 feet or so from where we were set up, people were throwing fireworks at the police officers who were trying to keep everyone safe.” Aaron even said that some of his co-workers were sending their kids into the live trucks to get them out of the chaos and into an area that they hoped would be safe.
In Chicago over the July 4th holiday Fox 32 Chicago said there were 100 shot all told over the weekend. Fox 32 reports fourteen people were killed and 86 others were wounded in shootings across Chicago between Friday afternoon and Wednesday morning.
In just the last 72 hours according to gunviolencearchive.org somewhere in the neighborhood of 330 people have been shot or killed across the U.S .
Aaron said this was his 9th year working downtown to provide television coverage of Rockford’s fireworks show. He said it’s sad for him to think that kids who just wanted to enjoy the fireworks couldn’t.
“… it simply wasn’t safe for our crew to be there. I don’t know what’s wrong the people who do these kinds of things, but I sure hope they grow up quickly.”
Below is a video that was shot by Steve Frank, one of the stations engineers. Frank was above where Aaron and his crew were filing. This was posted at 1:56 a.m. on July 5th.
Posted by Aaron Rice on Tuesday, July 4, 2017
This is the second video posted at 6:22 a.m.
Posted by Aaron Rice on Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Rockford Scanner captured this footage of the brawling happening in downtown Rockford.
“It’s rough directing a show when you see nothing but police lights and large groups of people running around”, Aaron wrote.
“I’m really proud of the team of people I work with. Thank you for putting up with this crap so that others who can’t make it out (or choose not to go) can enjoy this in the comfort of their own homes.”