IRPIN, Ukraine — Award-winning U.S. filmmaker and journalist Brent Renaud died early Sunday after Russian forces opened fire on the vehicle in which he was traveling at a checkpoint in Irpin, just outside the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
Police said Renaud, 50, was fatally shot in the neck during the attack, which also wounded two other journalists, The Guardian reported.
Here’s what we know about Renaud.
Why was he there?
Juan Arredondo, Renaud’s reporting partner, told The New York Times that Renaud was documenting Ukrainian refugees fleeing across bridges in Irpin when Russian troops opened fire on their vehicle.
A video posted on the Okhmatdyt hospital’s Instagram page showed Arredondo discussing the shooting from a hospital bed.
Colleague describes final moments
Danylo Shapovalov, a surgeon volunteering for the Ukrainian territorial defense, told AFP, a Paris-based global news agency, that Renaud “died immediately” and that he had provided first aid to the other two victims, Vanity Fair reported.
Renaud frequently collaborated with his brother, Craig, throughout a distinguished career that repeatedly highlighted the “human impact of war and conflict,” the Times reported.
Vivian Schiller, who commissioned Renaud’s 2004 documentary series about the Iraq war for the Times and Discovery Channel, told the newspaper that his “tremendous heart…pervaded all of his work.”
Renaud’s professional credits included film and television projects for the Times, HBO, NBC, Vice Media and other companies, requiring his presence in conflict zones such as Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq, Mexico and Ukraine.
The accolades the brothers collected throughout the years included a 2012 duPont-Columbia University Award for the 11-minute film “Surviving Haiti’s Earthquake: Children,” and a 2014 Peabody Award for “Last Chance High,” a Vice News documentary featuring a Chicago school serving at-risk students.
Arkansas is proud of its native son
Renaud was a native of Little Rock, Arkansas, and one of his earliest documentaries, 2004′s “Off to War,” chronicled the training and deployment of Arkansas National Guardsmen to Iraq.
The powerful film “focused as much on the families ripped apart by war as it did on combat struggles,” the Times reported.
Some 15 years later, Renaud served as a Visiting Distinguished Professor of Journalism Ethics at the University of Arkansas in 2019.
Larry Foley, strategic media chair for the university’s School of Journalism, told KBHS that Renaud’s field experience left an unparalleled impression on students.
“It takes a special breed, a special kind of journalist who will have the courage to go to those difficult places, war zones, to report the truth. Not the stuff you might read on the internet, but what’s really going on. He was dedicated to that kind of work his entire career,” Foley told the newspaper.
“Brent was never afraid to cover the underbelly of life, whether that be in a war zone, or people in rural or urban America who were victims of addiction. He’d go for those stories, and I had great respect for him,” Foley added.
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