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PHOENIX (Reuters) - Fox News apologized for a "severe human error" that resulted in viewers seeing a suspected carjacker fatally shoot himself after a police chase.

The coverage of the Friday incident, which sparked outrage on social media and a quick on-air apology by anchor Shepard Smith, showed a man stumbling from an allegedly stolen car into the desert near Phoenix on Friday.

As a camera in a helicopter provided live coverage, the man s topped a short distance away, pulled the trigger of a gun pointed to the right side of his head and crumpled face-forward into the ground.

"We took every precaution to avoid any such live incident by putting the helicopter pictures on a five-second delay," said Michael Clemente, Fox's executive vice president for news editorial.

"Unfortunately, this mistake was the result of a severe human error and we apologize for what viewers ultimately saw on the screen," he said in a statement issued on Friday.

The Phoenix police department on Saturday identified the man as Jodon F. Romero, 33. Authorities said he fired at officers and a police helicopter at one point during the pursuit, and died at the scene from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. In a statement, the department said Romero had a prior history of numerous violent crimes. At the time of his death, he was believed to be wanted on at least one warrant for felony parole violation on a weapons charge, and may have been sought on a second warrant. (Reporting by Colleen Jenkins and Tim Gaynor; Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Eric Walsh)

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