Steve Harrigan has ducked for cover in the middle of gunshots in Afghanistan, been smack in the middle of deadly flooding in New Orleans during Katrina, and risked reporting in the middle of rocket fire between Israel and Hamas.
But Monday night in Ferguson, Missouri was different than anything the Fox News correspondent has ever seen before.
“It was worse than the camera showed last night,” Harrigan told TheWrap in an interview while still on the ground in Ferguson. “Last night was really bad, the whole street was on fire at one point, and you couldn’t even breathe….I thought I was going to drop at one point there was so much smoke.”
Harrigan and his cameraman were attacked by a protestor wearing a mask after the decision not to indict Darren Wilson came down. The protestor yanked the camera and slammed it to the ground (watch below).
“We pretty much got surrounded quickly by maybe, 10 young black men, who started taunting us and saying, ‘You look like Darren Wilson, you’re Darren Wilson,’ that’s when you have the uh-oh moment.”
“I was afraid, and I gotta tell you I feel terrible–I’ve had fear moments in Pakistan when I’ve been surrounded because I’m an American and chased out of town and I had a similar fear moment in Missouri. And there’s a group of Americans who surrounded me and scared me–it’s rotten.”
Harrigan told us his fear of violence toward he and his crew naturally collided with his instinctual passion to stay on-air and tell the story. One won out:
“When you hear the shots, I was basically screaming at my cameraman to back up…I really had to pull him back at that point,” Harrigan said.
“You’re just dying to stay up. For some people, it’s just tremendously interesting to see the drama of the picture unfold; when someone’s smashing a window with a bat, and people are fleeing and it’s pure chaos, it’s just an unbelievable picture and it doesn’t come along that often…maybe once a year.”
In the end, it’s about telling the story, Harrigan told us.
“You can just safely find your spot, stay really calm, get the picture out, and just say what you’re seeing–no right, left, no explanation of what’s wrong with America,” he added.
“I think that’s the best television there is.”