Brent Renaud, an acclaimed filmmaker who traveled to some of the darkest and most dangerous corners of the world for documentaries that transported audiences to little-known places of suffering, was shot dead at a checkpoint in the Ukrainian city of Irpin, the U.S. State Department confirmed Sunday. He was 50 years old.
"We offer our sincerest condolences to his family on their loss and are offering all possible consular assistance," a State Department spokesperson said in a statement Sunday confirming reports of his death. "Out of respect for his family’s privacy, we have no specifics to offer at this time."
Renaud had been hired by Time magazine to work on a project about the global refugee crisis prior to his death, according to a joint statement from Time CEO Edward Felsenthal and Time Studios President Ian Orefice.
“We are devastated by the loss of Brent Renaud," the statement said. “Our hearts are with all of Brent’s loved ones.”
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Reports first circulated of Renaud's death after Andriy Nebytov, chief of Ukraine's National Police in Kyiv, posted that he had been killed during Russian shelling. Nebytov's post showed Renaud's passport and media badge, which was issued by The New York Times, but a spokesperson for the publication said Renaud was not on an assignment for The Times and that he most recently contributed in 2015.
NBC News could not independently verify the circumstances of Renaud's death.
Another journalist, Juan Arredondo, was injured and transported to Okhmatdyt hospital in Kyiv, according to a video posted on the Okhmatdyt hospital's Instagram page. In the video, Arredondo says from a hospital bed that he was shot at a checkpoint in Irpin. He said Renaud, who he referred to as his friend, was shot and left behind.
U.S. & World
Renaud has also previously contributed to NBC News broadcasts, but was not on assignment for the company, NBC said Sunday.
"We were deeply saddened to learn about the death of award-winning filmmaker and journalist Brent Renaud," NBC News said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends."
Responding to news of Renaud’s death, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists called for an immediate halt to violence against journalists and civilians.
“This kind of attack is totally unacceptable, and is a violation of international law,” the committee said on Twitter.
Along with his brother Craig, Renaud won a Peabody Award for “Last Chance High,” an HBO series about a school for at-risk youth on Chicago’s West Side. The brothers' litany of achievements includes two duPont-Columbia journalism awards and acclaimed productions for HBO, NBC, Discovery, PBS, The New York Times, and VICE News.
"The Renaud's have spent the last decade telling humanistic verite stories from the World's hot spots. Their film and television projects have covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the earthquake in Haiti, political turmoil in Egypt and Libya, the fight for Mosul, extremism in Africa, cartel violence in Mexico, and the youth refugee crisis in Central America," reads a statement on their website.
Renaud was also a 2019 Nieman fellow at Harvard and served as visiting distinguished professor for the Center for Ethics in Journalism at University of Arkansas. He and his brother founded the Little Rock Film Festival.
On "Face the Nation" on Sunday, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan called the killing "shocking and horrifying" and said the U.S. would respond with "appropriate consequences."
"This is part and parcel of what has been a brazen aggression on the part of the Russians, where they have targeted civilians, they have targeted hospitals, they have targeted places of worship and they have targeted journalists," Sullivan said.
Click here for complete coverage of the crisis in Ukraine.
NBC News and The Associated Press contributed to this story