Brent Renaud shot dead Latest Update: Acclaimed filmmaker Brent Renaud shot, killed in Ukraine

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, died Sunday after Russian forces opened fire on his vehicle in Ukraine

The 50-year-old Little Rock, Arkansas, native was gathering material for a report about refugees when his vehicle was hit at a checkpoint in Irpin, just outside the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv

Ukraine's Interior Ministry said the area has sustained intense shelling by Russian forces in recent days

Renaud was one of the most respected independent producers of his era, said Christof Putzel, a filmmaker and close friend who had received a text from Renaud just three days before his death

Renaud and Putzel won a 2013 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University journalism award for "Arming the Mexican Cartels," a documentary on how guns trafficked from the United States fueled rampant drug gang violence

“This guy was the absolute best,” Putzel told The Associated Press via phone from New York City. ”He was just the absolute best war journalist that I know. This is a guy who literally went to every conflict zone

The details of Renaud's death were not made immediately clear by Ukrainian authorities, but American journalist Juan Arredondo said the two were traveling in a vehicle toward the Irpin checkpoint when they were both shot

Arredondo, speaking from a hospital in Kyiv, told Italian journalist Annalisa Camilli that Renaud was hit in the neck. Camilli told the AP that Arredondo himself had been hit in the lower back

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