Brent Renaud, an award-winning American journalist, was shot dead in Ukraine Sunday, and his colleague was injured when their car was fired on near a checkpoint.
Ukraine's Interior Ministry said that Renaud was killed in Irpin, an area near Kyiv that has come under intense Russian shelling in recent days.
The 50-year-old filmmaker, from Little Rock, Arkansas, was in Ukraine to collect material for a documentary on refugees, The Associated Press reported.
Renaud was traveling in a vehicle with Colombian American photojournalist Juan Arredondo when they came under fire.
Arredondo, who was injured in the attack, described the assault in a video taken in a Kyiv hospital by Italian journalist Annalisa Camilli.
"We crossed the first bridge in Irpin, we were going to film other refugees leaving,” Arredondo says in the video, which was shared online. “We crossed the checkpoint, and they started shooting at us.”
Arredondo says that Renaud was hit in the neck. Both he and Renaud were Nieman Foundation for Journalism fellows at Harvard University from 2018-2019.
Kyiv regional police released a statement saying that Russian troops had opened fire on the journalists.
The U.S. State Department, United Nations and former colleagues paid tribute to Renaud on Sunday.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price described the attack as “another gruesome example of the Kremlin’s indiscriminate actions.”
“We are horrified that journalists and filmmakers — noncombatants — have been killed and injured in Ukraine by Kremlin forces,” Price said on Twitter. “We extend condolences to all those affected by this horrific violence.”
Director-General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay condemned the killing and reinforced that media should not be targeted.
“Journalists have a critical role in providing information during a conflict, and should never be targeted,” Azoulay said in a statement. “I call on the respect of international humanitarian standards, to ensure that journalists and media workers are protected.”
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said the attack on Renaud and Arredondo is “a violation of international law.”
“Russian forces in Ukraine must stop all violence against journalists and other civilians at once, and whoever killed Renaud should be held to account,” CPJ’s senior program director, Carlos Martinez de la Serna, said in a statement.
Renaud contributed to several news outlets including HBO, The New York Times, VICE and PBS.
In a statement Sunday, TIME magazine said Renaud had been in the region working on a TIME Studios project on refugees.
“We are devastated by the loss of Brent Renaud. As an award-winning filmmaker and journalist, Brent tackled the toughest stories around the world, often alongside his brother,” a joint statement from Edward Felsenthal, editor-in-chief and president of TIME and TIME Studios Ian Orefice, read.
“Our hearts are with all Brent’s loved ones. It is essential that journalists are able to safely cover this ongoing invasion and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine,” the statement said.
Renaud and his brother Craig Renaud won a Peabody award in 2014 for their HBO series “Last Chance High” about a school on Chicago’s West Side.
Christof Putzel, a filmmaker who together with Renaud won a 2013 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University award for their documentary on gun trafficking, paid tribute to his friend’s dedication to reporting.
"Nowhere was too dangerous," Putzel told the AP. “He was just the absolute best war journalist that I know. This is a guy who literally went to every conflict zone.”
"It was his bravery but also because he deeply, deeply cared," Putzel added.
Russia troops are reported to have targeted several journalists covering the war in Ukraine.
Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders on Saturday said that Russian soldiers fired at a vehicle carrying Victoria Roschina, a reporter for the Ukrainian media outlet Hromadske UA, then robbed her.
Swiss photojournalist Guillaume Briquet was fired on and robbed March 6. Like Roschina, he was in a car clearly marked “Press.”
Local media reported that his attackers took Briquet’s passport, cash, laptop and other equipment.
Sky News on March 5 broadcast dramatic footage of its five-person news crew being fired on as they flee their car and look for shelter. Two of the journalists were hit in the attack.
Some information for this article came from The Associated Press.