A Denver talk radio host has been fired after he said he wanted “a nice school shooting” to interrupt coverage of “the never-ending impeachment of Donald Trump.” The firing came just hours after a father who lost his son in a school shooting in Colorado earlier this year said the host should be fired.
Chuck Bonniwell, cohost of a talk show on KNUS 710 AM, made the comments Tuesday afternoon coming back from a commercial break before being immediately interrupted by his cohost and wife Julie Hayden.
“No, no, don’t even say that!” Hayden said. “Don’t call us! Chuck didn’t say that.”
Bonniwell immediately seemed to backtrack, saying he was talking about shootings in “which no one would be hurt.”
KNUS announced Wednesday night that Bonniwell and his wife had been fired.
“Given the history of school violence that has plagued our community, 710 KNUS confirms that an inappropriate comment was made on the Chuck & Julie show by co-host Chuck Bonniwell,” the statement said. “A programming decision was made to end the program immediately.”
The host issued a statement on his Twitter account, saying, “I made an inappropriate comment meant as a joke. I’m sorry it was not received that way.”
The comment was made about 22 minutes into the pair’s show, and was on the KNUS website‘s archive a day later, before being taken down Wednesday afternoon.
Some of the most infamous mass shootings in U.S. history took place in Colorado, including the 1999 Columbine High School massacre that left 12 students and one teacher dead, and the July 2012 Aurora theater attack that killed a dozen moviegoers. In May, two students attacked the STEM School Highlands Ranch south of Denver, killing senior Kendrick Castillo and injuring eight others.
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Earlier Wednesday, Castillo’s father told ABC News that Bonniwell should lose his job.
“I’m furious that anybody in media or politics would suggest a school shooting to distract from a presidential impeachment or any other rhetoric in the media,” John Castillo said. “This is totally unacceptable inexcusable and wrong.”
When called earlier in the day Wednesday, KNUS Vice President and General Manager Brian Taylor told ABC News he had just been made aware of Bonniwell’s remark and could not yet comment. The firing came hours later.
The radio station is owned by California-based Salem Media Group. Phone calls and emails to Salem spokesman Evan Masyr were not immediately returned.
The story of the offensive comment was first reported Wednesday by the Colorado Times Recorder.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated to confirm that KNUS pulled the recording off its website archive.
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