Beloved Los Angeles news anchor dead at 43; police investigating possible overdose

Posted at 12:00 PM, Dec 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-28 14:00:15-05

LOS ANGELES — Chris Burrous, a fixture on the KTLA 5 Morning News since 2011, passed away Thursday. He was 43.

The broadcaster was found unresponsive at a Days Inn in Glendale. His death is being investigated as a possible overdose, Glendale police said in a news release.

KTLA President and General Manager Don Corsini and News Director Jason Ball issued a statement Thursday night:

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Burrous family. Chris loved sharing the stories of Southern California and connecting with our viewers. He will be remembered as a great journalist and a wonderful friend to many. He brought a kindness to his work and will be deeply missed by the entire KTLA family.”

Burrous, the son of a farmer and a NASA engineer, launched his two-decade career after graduating from Chapman University with a degree in broadcast journalism.

Burrous came to KTLA in 2011 after spending 14 years as a reporter and anchor at news stations across the U.S. — primarily in California’s Central Valley, where one of his parents was from.

After stints at stations in the Bay Area and South Dakota, he joined KGET in Bakersfield in 1999 as a morning news anchor. It was there that he met his wife, Mai Do-Burrous, a fellow journalist.

The couple wed in 2003 and share a 9-year-old daughter, Isabella.

After anchoring the morning news at both KGPE in Fresno and KMAX in Sacramento, Burrous accepted his first job outside California with KTLA sister station WPIX in New York City, where he was an anchor.

Upon leaving New York for Los Angeles, Burrous told the New York Daily News he asked for a transfer so that his daughter could grow up near her grandparents. The family wound up settling in Porter Ranch.

At KTLA, Burrous helped extend to Morning News to seven days a week, anchoring weekends and covering breaking news on weekday mornings.

His weekend Burrous’ Bites segments, on which he highlighted the best hole-in-the-wall eateries Southern California has to offer, were a viewer favorite.

He was also an integral part of the news team that led coverage of the region’s recent devastating wildfires and ensuing weather hazards, as well as tragedies including the mass shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks.

Possible overdose investigation
Burrous was found unresponsive at a Days Inn in Glendale after a male he was with called authorities around 1:15 p.m. to report he had passed out and was possibly not breathing, Glendale Police Sgt. Dan Suttles said in a news briefing.

Paramedics who responded to the hotel, at 450 Pioneer Drive, located Burrous inside a room suffering from a medical emergency. The person he was with, who Suttles said “appears to be a friend,” was already administering aid when they arrived, the sergeant said.

Suttles said those on scene recognized the news anchor “right away, because everybody knows Chris.”

The male stayed at the scene and “quite honestly did a good job of trying to render aid,” according to Suttles.

First responders also administered CPR before transporting Burrous to a hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, officials said.

When the companion originally called police, he indicated Burrous had possibly overdosed, Suttles said.

“What we know at this point is that the call came in as a medical emergency, and that’s how it was handled,” he said.

There was no indication of suicide, he added.

“Glendale detectives are currently investigating the case and are thoroughly examining the unfortunate circumstances surrounding his death,” the department said in a news release.

Burrous’ body has been turned over to coroner’s officials, who will work to determine a cause and manner of death. Toxicology reports had not yet been completed Thursday night.

No further details on the investigation were available.

Burrous joined KTLA in 2011 as a reporter and anchor, helping to expand the Morning News to seven days a week, after previously working at other news stations across the U.S. He leaves behind a wife and daughter.

[Editor’s Note: KTLA-TV is a sister station of KSTU-FOX 13.]