A&E Real Crime asked Live PD analyst Tom Morris Jr. for his take on the most shocking, exciting moments from the show this year. Here, in his words, are the moments that had the studio gasping in shock and cracking up laughing.
1. The most shocking moment on the show so far has to be the car chase in Richland County, South Carolina on July 8, where Deputy Chris Mastrianni ended up in a life-and-death struggle with a man who crawled out of his overturned vehicle holding his 2-year-old daughter.
An audible gasp erupted from the master control room that we could hear down the hall in the studio. I think I must have gasped too because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing unfold live! Dep. Mastrianni fought the man bare-handed, freed the child and subdued the suspect and in the process became a hero and law-enforcement legend.
2. One of the moments that both surprised me and put a smile on my face went down in Calvert County, Maryland on April 14. That night Corporal Tony Moschetto responded to a report of black males fighting in a parking lot.
When he pulled up on the scene, there was a car with the music blasting and a bunch of guys dancing. He asked them what they were doing and they said, ‘We are having a dance off!’
Moschetto watched and learned something new, as did our viewers. It was a fun moment and our cameras documented the joyous event. You couldn’t help but smile and be relieved that there was nothing violent going down—just a hip-hop moment for the culture.
3. Being on the air on weekend nights, we often see couples who are out on a date when the blue lights start flashing. During the November 24 episode, Pinal County (Arizona) Deputy Jeff McElwain got into a brief vehicle pursuit that ended with the male driver bailing out on foot, leaving his date—who’d only known the guy three days—shocked and trying to explain what happened.
After a few minutes in handcuffs, her story held up that she wasn’t a criminal. The woman most certainly didn’t expect to get into a car chase with cops and end up face down on the asphalt in a miniskirt and cuffs on her date.
When the cops finally caught up with the driver, it turned out the car didn’t even belong to him.
4. The December 2 episode kicked off with a neighborhood-disturbance call in El Paso, Texas. Officer Heather Ponce responded to find a middle-age couple sitting in their car in the driveway, clearly under the influence of some things—alcohol for sure and possibly other substances. They were allegedly throwing beer cans at a neighbor’s house in an attempt to get the man’s tennis shoes back.
When officers pulled the man out of the car, one “Mr. Rocky,” we witnessed some of the most bizarre antics ever seen on the show. He started mouthing off nonsensical gibberish and flicking his tongue in and out like a serpent. Needless to say, Mr. Rocky ended up in the pokey that night and his female friend got a citation for having an open container. If you saw it, you won’t forget it.
5. There are incidents we witness on the show that I like to call “Live PD Teaching Moments for America.”
The state troopers are always in drug-interdiction mode and bust a lot of large-scale shipments of marijuana passing through their state from weed farms in California destined for points east. I am always amazed when a trooper pulls over a driver—who’s put a lot of planning into hiding the weed in secret compartments—for something as simple as having illegal dark tint on their vehicle.
We saw that go down on December 2 when troopers pulled over a van for bad tint, and were immediately overwhelmed by the reek of 54 pounds of marijuana stored in hidden-floor compartments and duffel bags. The driver was busted for ‘ridin’ dirty’ with hundreds of thousands of dollars of weed because of a $200 illegal tint job.
—Tom Morris Jr.