School of Communication alumnus Bryce Dion, M.F.A. ’04, was shot and killed Tuesday, August 26, while covering a shootout between police and an armed robber as a sound supervisor on the television show “COPS.”

The School of Communication extends its deepest sympathy to Dion’s family and friends, and shares this remembrance from Associate Professor John Soliday, who was Director of Graduate Studies and led UM’s Film Directing Program when Dion received his M.F.A.

Bryce Dion was one of my all-time favorite graduate students. I recruited, enrolled, and advised Bryce. He was part of a very special group of classmates who remained close while fulfilling their dreams. Every time I flew to L.A., the group got together. Our last group lunch was in Malibu, overlooking the Pacific Sur at sunset.

Bryce was a real jewel. He was such a generous, caring artist. I received the news from his close friend and University of Miami graduate, film director Brian Cavallaro. We are all just devastated. Bryce leapt at every opportunity to lend a helping hand.  He was so bright, so career-focused, soaking up information and sharing an infectious laugh that brought the rest of us to our knees.

Bryce’s insightful questions were always focused on the “real world” and how he could carve a career that might change it. He was fulfilling that dream! Few film artists have been as successful in giving the world a sense of what police officers go through to protect us all.

I’m sure this tragedy will lead to soul-searching and questions within the field. How do we protect artists who provide us with the reality of reality TV? Bryce’s death reminds every one of the dangers and personal costs of crime news coverage. As artists continue to communicate the dangers and tensions of police work, we must remember the dangers and tensions of providing it.

Bryce loved “COPS.” He relished working with law enforcement, being embedded inside a group of professional police officers, recording the dangers and rewards of their work. That he appears to have been killed by friendly fire from people who were clearly friends is so tragic. Our hearts go out to everyone involved.