WALA-TV Mobile, Ala., got a beat on the story of the killing of a local 18-year-old man when the 24-year-old suspect turned himself in to the station.
"It was pretty bizarre," said Assistant News Director Randy Merrow, who added that the incident began with a phone call from Milton Lebarron Reed. "He identified himself as a murder suspect.
"He said he was staying at a local motel and wanted a camera there for protection when he turned himself in. He said he was afraid he would be abused by police. We found out he'd just been let out of another jail in December."
The call brought reporter Kiran Khalid and a crew to a local motel to film the surrender, but Reed's girlfriend told broadcasters and police-contacted by the station-that Reed had left to turn himself in. That was not the case, however, and neither the station nor police could verify Reed's whereabouts. That is, until he showed up in the station's lobby. "The switchboard operator called back and told us Reed was there," said Merrow. "She was very calm and we told her to be careful. I went out to the lobby. I was concerned that he was armed, and I approached him slowly. He seemed a little out of it. He said, 'I'm here and I'm ready.. 'I'm tired of getting shot at.'" Apparently, Merrow said, friends of the man Reed is suspected of killing had been looking for him.