BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - A news reporter who interviewed Riccardo McCray moments before he was arrested and charged in the City Grill mass shooting denied exploiting the suspect.
Rich Newberg, reporter at WIVB-TV, told jurors that he was doing his job when he questioned McCray on camera.
Newberg testified on the fifth day of the murder trial.
"You chose to get the story?" asked McCray's defense attorney Joseph Terranova.
"Yes," Newberg responded.
"You took advantage of my client," Terranova said.
"No, I did not," said Newberg.
"You knew this was one of the biggest crimes in the City of Buffalo?" Terranova asked during cross-examination.
"Yes," said Newberg.
"But all you thought about was getting the story," said Terranova.
"I thought about my role as a reporter," said Newberg, who has worked at WIVB-TV for 33 years.
Newberg said community activist Darnell Jackson arranged to bring McCray to the station's North Buffalo studios to voluntarily surrender in front of news cameras on August 25.
Later that day, Jackson told Eyewitness News he brought McCray to a TV station to ensure his safety.
The jury watched 30 minutes of unedited video from one of at least three cameras which were rolling when McCray arrived at the station at around 2 p.m.
In the video, Newberg questions McCray about the events inside and outside City Grill Restaurant on August 14, where eight people were shot, four fatally.
Jackson can be heard off-camera asking Newberg to wait for McCray's attorney to arrive, but Newberg continued to ask questions.
In the video, McCray said, "I just got down on the ground" when he heard gunshots outside the restaurant.
"Once I heard the shots, I got down," McCray said in the interview. He added that he did not see the shooter.
The video may be the only time the jury hears McCray tell his side of the story in his own words. It is still unclear if McCray will take the stand in his own defense.
At least four people have identified McCray as the gunman during the trial, including Gerry Davis, who testified on Thursday that he was riding with McCray in the getaway car on the night of the massacre.
McCray faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted. He faces three counts of first-degree murder, one count of second-degree murder and four counts of first-degree attempted murder.