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ABC7 photographer Steve Chacon remembered

July 31, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Beloved Eyewitness News family member and talented photojournalist Steve Chacon has died at the age of 58.

Steve passed away Wednesday after suffering a stroke about two weeks ago. He was a member of the Eyewitness News team for more than three decades.

Steve was a strong presence in the Eyewitness Newsroom and he will be sorely missed. He was an outstanding cameraman who shot what he saw and spoke his mind fearlessly and with a legendary sense of humor.

Steve was something of a contradiction. To the uninitiated, he could be intimidating. But behind the gruff voice and the rough-and-tumble exterior, there was a kind man who loved to make people laugh.

"Every day, every day he made you laugh. It wouldn't matter, it was the littlest thing, always made you smile," said ABC7 Photographer Shawn McCarthy.

"As serious as what we do can be on any given day, he always could find a way to make light of it, to a point that made it easy to get through," said Mike Merle, ABC7 News Operations manager.

"No matter how tough it got, no matter how hard it got, he was always there to make you laugh," said ABC7 Reporter Carlos Granda.

Steve's coworkers loved him and newsmakers respected him.

"He had an opinion on everything and could talk on any topic. He had become such an icon around L.A. as a cameraman. Everyone knew him," said Lt. Paul Vernon with the Los Angeles Police Department.

"The memories that I'll always have of him behind that camera, taking those shots, and then watching on the news and saying , 'Yeah, Steve did it again. He captured that moment,'" said Dennis Zine, former Los Angeles city councilman.

Steve started working at KABC-TV in 1977. His hairstyle would change over the years, but his mustache was a recurring character.

"The first day I met him, this guy comes out of the door and he looks like 'Mr. Kotter' on steroids. He had this huge mustache, big bushy hair," said McCarthy.

Renowned for his storytelling and side-splitting sense of humor, Steve covered some of the biggest stories in the Southland in a career that spanned over 35 years.

But for all the history that Steve witnessed over the years, nothing could compare to the immense love he had for his family. He made it clear that at the end of the day, his role as a father and a husband was the only thing that really mattered.

"You saw him coming and all of a sudden it wasn't so bad to be at work, because you were with Steve," said Merle.

Sometimes your co-workers can be your friends. If you're really lucky, they become your family. That's what Steve was to us.

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