9 out of 16 Rounds Fired by New York City Cops May Have Hit Civilians

USA Today reports that New York’s Finest may account for nine casualties in the shootout between Jeffrey Johnson and the police on a busy Manhattan street. “The wounded include two women and seven men sent to two area hospitals whom Bloomberg said may have been accidentally shot by cops, who fired off 14 rounds.” So police may have had a “hit ratio” of 9/16—on innocent bystanders. That’s considerably better (worse) than average. Back in ’08 The New York Times reported that NYC police “hit their targets roughly 34 percent of the time.” I wonder if someone in the media will have the balls to confront Hizzoner on his “only cops (and celebrities) should have guns” policy. [NB: headline and text updated from 14 to 16 shots fired by the NYC PD.]

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

97 Responses to 9 out of 16 Rounds Fired by New York City Cops May Have Hit Civilians

  1. avatarAharon says:

    I hope all those innocent people heal quickly and fully.

    sarcasm on: Do the NYPD officers hold their pistols sideways in one hand when they aim and fire? sarcasm off.

  2. avatarChad Morrow says:

    Is the NYPD using Hollywood blockbusters as training aids instead of reinforcing the 4 basic rules?

  3. avatarjwm says:

    damn fine shooting. under stress of battle they hit 9 out of 14 shots fired. now if we can just work on their target recognition skills.

  4. avatarSammy says:

    I think Bloomberg is right about banning guns……………from the NYPD.

    • avatarJohn Clancy says:

      Autos for sure. Remember when officer’s carried revolvers? Marksman ship was important. They need some training at Thunder Ranch.

  5. avatarJSIII says:

    If you or I hit 9 bystanders during a legit DGU , any state of the union, even Texas we would be locked up faster than you can say oopse. The key would be thrown away and the media and brady bunch would run wild with it. Looks like a serious issue with NYPD training in regards to knowing whats behind your target. The 12# NY trigger doesnt help, I shoot probably 10 times as many rounds in a year than your average NYC flatfoot and I wouldnt even be hitting the barn with a 12# glock or sig trigger.

    • avatarmatt says:

      I doubt the NYPD trigger had much to do with it. I can shoot just fine with my 13lb FNP45T DA trigger, which also has a very long pull.

      If I were to speculate, I would bet they were not using their sights, point shooting at distance, and jerking the trigger.

      • avatarMr. Pierogie says:

        I put that NY trigger in my Glock once, it was terrible. I don’t know how anybody can be accurate with that thing, way too heavy.

        • avatarSean says:

          No one can be accurate with them. It leads to, well this bullshit. And the 10s of millions of dollars that NYC is going to have to pay out in legal fees, and judgements.

    • avatarpaul r says:

      I agree Matt! If they “knew” their trigger they would be plenty accurate. When I was at Frontsight recently I shot every first shot out of the holster in D/A (9.5 pound trigger) and was plenty accurate because I’ve practiced!

      Besides, I thought the NYPD Glock trigger was set at 10 PSI not 12. With those guys it’s strictly spray and pray.

  6. avatarGOOFA says:

    Are you really safe in the streets of New York, I think not.

  7. avatarJason says:

    Maybe they should come out with NY trigger #3 that’s about 150 pounds.

    I finally see the logic in banning high capacity magazines — at least for cops. It would directly correlate into fewer casualties per event.

    • avatarNathan says:

      Unfortunately not, it was two cops so they would have to be less than 7 rounds. Hmmmm, maybe that’s not a bad idea. Just give a good old .38 Special instead of a Glock. Then, since they’ll only have a capacity of 6, they’ll have to make them count instead of sprayin’ and prayin’.

      • avatarMashashin says:

        And have it be single action but still with a heavy trigger now bystanders would be safer from their protectors

    • avatartdiinva says:

      Double action/heavy trigger suck. While my wife and I like the M-9 we both hate the first trigger pull when the gun is decocked. I have missed the paper at 7 yards with a DA trigger pull. She will manually cock the hammer if she has time. Say what you want about a 1911, but the trigger pull on even the cheapest one is smooth.

      • avatarJason L says:

        That is a training issue. Ben Stoeger shoots a 92 Elite (?) with no problems. Many in the military (SOF, mostly) learn to shoot fast and precisely with the M9.

  8. avatarSanchanim says:

    I say lets have a test. I mean this seriously.
    Ban all guns in NYC. No one including cops get em.
    Stop and frisk is now required across the board. Cars entering the city can be searched for firearms.
    Cops only get clubs, like in the UK.
    See how that goes for a while.

    • avatarST says:

      Fewer bystanders would be hit by the gang bangers’ gunfire versus the NYPD.

    • avatarPro Gun Brit says:

      Lets just say that in London this has been tried out for years without a great deal of success, in fact there are some no-go areas in most of the major cities. One of my college lecturers who was a former Royal Marine, said that he wouldn’t even dare take his old commando squad through those sorts of places.

  9. avatarT says:

    Not to be nitpicky, but this is kind of misleading:

    “may account for nine casualties in the shootout”

    That implies 9 people were killed. The main stream media does enough inaccurate reporting, I hate to see you guys be like them. :)

    • avatarDonS says:

      “Casualty” doesn’t imply “death”… at least, not according to Webster’s:

      http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/casualty

    • avatarSanchanim says:

      Ok not going to nit pic to much. ;-)
      I would call them injured instead as it keeps people from thinking the obvious, however according to websters the media is also correct in using the definition:
      a : injury or death from accident
      b : one injured or killed (as by accident)
      The word can be used for both, however it is most commonly used to describe someone killed, not injured. So I get your point, and agree.
      But hey it makes a grabbing headline doesn’t it!

    • avatartdiinva says:

      Wrong. Casualties refers to the total of KIA, WIA and MIA.

  10. avatarready,fire,aim says:

    sue the city and the mayor

  11. avatarMatt says:

    Amazing how Bloomberg seems to find civilian gun-shot victims an acceptable trade-off when it is done by police. Had it been a civilian who killed the perp and even ONE innocent bystander would have been injured or so much as wet their pants, I am sure THAT would be the story, not the gunman murdering his coworker.

    The police don’t need to be good shots. They just need to put down a threat before the magazine is empty because they know they will be protected. I’m certain a civilian with the gun knows he/she has no such protection and would certainly use more restraint and aim….err…smaller.

  12. avatarready,fire,aim says:

    mayor mc cheese better hope that his own personal security shoots better than that or he’ll end up getting sprayed….LOL

  13. avatarSammy says:

    Maybe these were the cops he was urging to go on strike.

  14. avatarAharon says:

    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/24/13457292-man-accused-of-nyc-gun-rampage-was-apparel-designer-cat-lover?lite

    “He was the nicest guy. I think he snapped or something,” she said.
    The building superintendent, Guillermo Suarez, 72, told The New York Times that Johnson would go out to a local McDonald’s every morning and come back with a bag from the fast food chain. He often would stay home for the rest of the day.”

    — I blame the McDonald’s food. We must ban or at least regulate fast food. Years ago a San Francisco cop shot and murdered the mayor of SF. It was all because he had earlier eaten a bunch of Twinkies. His lawyers used the Twinkie Defense. It’s all true.

    • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      You’re going to need to expand on the McDonald’s and Twinkie defenses for the younger readers. They’re too young to remember the howls of derision and disgust at the legal system in those cases…

  15. avatarSilver says:

    I hope the injured subjects smack Bloomy and his private army with a nice, high-profile lawsuit.

  16. avatarMoonshine7102 says:

    It seems that many of these events are perpetrated by so-called “disgruntled employees”. I propose a new law: it shall be illegal for any employee to be not in immediate possession of their gruntles.

    • avatarMark says:

      When you’re terminated for any reason, the company retains posession of any and all gruntles.

      • avatarMoonshine7102 says:

        We’ll change the law so that, while the company may retain possession of all company assets, severance gruntles must be issued upon termination.

    • avatarCarlosT says:

      Seriously though. When, oh when, will we have a meaningful conversation in this country about common sense unhappiness control?

      For the children.

  17. avatarready,fire,aim says:

    you know thinking about this a little more mayor mc cheese is going on a rampage because this was at a famous landmark…. what would his story be if it was in the bronx or harlem ? i’m sure it would have been a whole different story

  18. avatarMark N. says:

    The NYT story linked above had an interesting one-liner: the NYPD has stopped reporting the number of bystanders injured or killed in police shootings. I guess we now know why.

    I suspect Bloomy wil praise these officers for their heroism. I would love to hear what he had to say to the hypothetical, well, mayor, what would you be saying if these had been two armed civilians?

    • avatarAharon says:

      “the NYPD has stopped reporting the number of bystanders injured or killed in police shootings”

      That is so detestable.

    • avatarJohn says:

      So if in New York the proper response to an active shooter is take cover, evade and not call 911 until past maximum flight range of police rounds.

      I’ll remember that if I ever have to go there – emphasis on HAVE TO GO THERE.

  19. avatarelliot says:

    So how are those special ny triggers working out? 9/14 I see.

  20. avatarJohn says:

    Does Bloomie understand that if some lunatic attempts to shoot him he may be in more danger of being shot by his bodyguards and the NYPD returning fire?

    I could Google this morons history but I’m too lazy. I’m guessing Mikey is way too stupid to be responsible for gaining his riches. I’d guess his greatest achievement is not being in the room when the dudes and dudettes that made him rich were being the deciders.

  21. avatarmountocean says:

    Not to be overly generous, but the 9 out of 14 ratio is the worst possible case based on limited information and doesn’t take any of the perp’s bullets (we don’t know yet how many he fired) into account.

    • avatarRobert Farago says:

      “There were conflicting accounts about whether Johnson fired at the police officers or just pointed the gun at them.

      Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly initially said the officers were fired upon, but later said police were investigating. Johnson can be seen on video reaching into a bag, pulling out a .45-caliber pistol and pointing it at officers, Kelly said.”

      washingtonpost.com

    • avatarScott says:

      From reports I’ve read, his “gun was equipped to fire eight bullets” and they found he “still had one in the clip.” Assuming that that meant there was one in the chamber as well, and three into the old boss, that leave three for the shootout with the NYPD.

    • avatarmountocean says:

      Looks like the facts are out and I stand corrected. I join the aghast masses.

  22. avatarhmmmmmmmm says:

    Can somebody help me here – if the police managed to wing up to 9 innocents in this confrontation, how would having 1 or more untrained concealed carry people also opening up have made this situation any better?

    Or would they have used their magical “situational awareness” and dropped the perp before he even drew?

    Of course I’m talking about the “average” gun owner here, not any posters on this board – who are obviously all trained to a better standard than the green berets because, like Ted Nugent, they can pop any watermelon that looks at them funny from 200 yards. No, I’m talking about the “average” gun owner, who possesses “average” intelligence, and “average” abilities – which is to say fully half of the nation is better than him in those criteria. Would having a few “average” gun owners shooting the place up really have helped?

    This is yet another situation where one group claim erroneously that more people carrying guns would have prevented it etc., when in actuality it would probably have made the situation worse.

    • avatarRobert Farago says:

      Sorry, but I don’t recall anyone saying that a citizen with a concealed carry permit—trained or otherwise—could have prevented Jeffrey Johnson from shooting his boss. Nor has anyone suggested that an armed citizen could have resolved the situation post-shooting.

      What’s being forwarded is that the notion underlying Bloomberg’s gun control agenda—that only cops are trained enough to carry a firearm—has just been exposed as misdirection.

      To be clear: civilians aren’t cops. They don’t have to apprehend anyone. But they have the Constitutionally-protected right to protect themselves with a gun. Which Mayor Bloomberg and others have abridged.

      • avatarhmmmmmmmm says:

        “What’s being forwarded is that the notion underlying Bloomberg’s gun control agenda—that only cops are trained enough to carry a firearm—has just been exposed as misdirection.”

        Sorry Robert, but that just isn’t true. The problem, as usual, is that there will never be a “control” event by which to compare the outcome to and objectively see if it is better or worse. For all we know this outcome was the optimum one given the circumstances – I don’t happen to believe that, but equally what you’re saying isn’t supported either.

        My point was that I don’t believe the “average” man would have done any better, in fact I believe he would have done worse. We will never know, as we can’t rewind time and place Cletus and Billy Bob in the same situation carrying their fully auto AR’s to see how they deal with it, but personally I would rather only have the police shooting off guns in a crowded public area. If nothing else the NYPD have more assets to sue for in court for accidentally wounding me than a busted up trailer and a Regan era Mustang on bricks in the front yard.

        • avatarRobert Farago says:

          There are no stats on civilian hit ratios during a defensive gun use (DGU). All I can offer is anecdotal evidence from scanning the web daily for the last three years.

          I cannot recall a single instance of a [non-drive-by gang banger] civilian shooting an innocent bystander during a DGU. (During a negligent discharge for sure.) I’ve pointed out this danger many, many times but never encountered a case in the wild. Not one. (I would have blogged it.)

          And there are plenty of YouTube videos of cops emptying their guns without hitting squat.

          We know for a fact that the NYPD are hitting their target in the mid-30′s percentage wise. As another commentator pointed out, Big Apple cops have stopped reporting on “collateral damage.” You may disagree with my perspective but I reckon that’s a pretty pathetic picture.

          Besides, it doesn’t matter. Americans have the right to keep and bear arms regardless of their skills. Regardless of where they are within our borders.

        • avatarhmmmmm says:

          Don’t get me wrong – today’s showing by the NYPD was utterly, utterly dismal. Shockingly bad, in fact. But I still have no reason to suppose that I as an innocent bystander in NY would have been any better off with Joe Public pulling out and unloading. And, as I said, the police have deep pockets.

          As for the right to bear arms – sure, and while it is in the constitution I support your right to do so. As I said in another post I even support your right to have as many hi-cap mags, fully auto rifles, and suppressors as you wish too – I can’t stand the end run that has been done on the constitution to take those away. I would point out though that owning slaves was also permitted under the constitution for a very long time in this country, not to equate the two per se, but to point out that laws change, and sanity does prevail sometimes, even if it takes a long time to do so.

          I am now going to enjoy a nice beer, which would have been illegal under the constitution at one point too. Laws change.

        • avatarjwm says:

          FLAME DELETED

    • avatarMichael B. says:

      No one’s claiming that. Do you have fun knocking down your own strawmen?

      Ban brutality against strawmen. For the strawchildren.

    • avatarjwm says:

      hm8, all of us have a finite amount of time on this planet. gun control is a dead issue. in fact we’re moving more and more away from gun control. you’re rooting for a lost cause. it’s your time to waste of course. but wouldn’t you rather use that time for projects that have some chance of success? you seem like an intelligent girl, hasn’t this occured to you before?

      • avatarhmmmmm says:

        They told Martin Luther King that he was fighting for a lost cause too…

        • avatarCarlosT says:

          Wrapping yourself in the mantle of MLK! Nice! A victim of racist gun control who was denied a carry permit solely because he was black.

        • avatarjwm says:

          Dr. King was fighting a rightous cause. and no the constitution did not allow slavery, “all men are created equal”, that issue was rightfully settled in 1865. you have much more in common with the men that held others in bondage by twisting the laws and their meanings than you do with Dr. King. and i might add, pretty arrogant of yourself to compare yourself to a man that put his life on the line for his beliefs. what have you risked, hurt feelings because of some of the rough comments here.

        • avatarjwm says:

          the arrogence of a person like you. Dr. King put his life on the line for his beliefs. what do you risk, hurt feelings from a rough comment on ttag? the constitution didn’t allow slavery” all men are created equal” men perverted the rule of law to their own ends and it was sorted out in 1861-65. you and mikeybnumbers have more in common with those that perverted the law to their own means than you do with Dr. King.

    • avatarGrasshopper says:

      Perhaps you can show us where a civilian using a gun defensively has shot 8 times as many innocent bystanders as bad guys. Hmm…the recent incident in Florida at the internet cafe comes to mind: armed citizen shoots 2 out of 2 bad guys and zero innocent bystanders. Discuss.

    • avatartdiinva says:

      Look sport I don’t know any CHL holder who would have taken a shot in that environment. Private citizens get prosecuted for good self defense shoots so if they spray bullets all over the place they are headed for prison. It makes us more selective when it comes the use of deadly force.

      The fact is if this happened in Afghanstan the troops involved would be on their way to court martial. Members of the NYPD do this all the time because they are seldom held accountable. Show me where civillian DGUs have this kind of collateral damage.

    • avatarCarlosT says:

      Well, one thing the average gun owner wouldn’t have done is bought a Glock and then make the trigger almost three times heavier than stock.

      The NYPD had a choice when they were converting over from double action revolvers to Glocks. They could invest in training and teach their officers the weapon, and how to run it safely and effectively. Or they could use their purchasing power and make Glock put out an edition that basically shot kinda, sorta like a revolver with a huge capacity. They went for what was behind Door Number Two. Now they have a large population of officers with inferior training carrying guns with crappy triggers. Add to that a culture that far too often shields officers from any negative consequences and you have a police force that sprays and prays with horrible accuracy at the drop of a hat.

    • avatarGreg Camp says:

      This incident is an illustration of why gun control people are either dishonest or delusional. We hear all the time about how well the police are trained and how poorly trained we private citizens are. In many cases, especially for those of us who practice regularly because we enjoy doing it, the reverse looks likely to be true.

    • avatarcz82mak says:

      mikeb#? Is that you?

  23. avatarST says:

    “Welcome to New York City, where only criminals are permitted to use their weapon sights”

  24. avatarKelly in GA says:

    Worst part, we’re giving these cops a 9/16 hit percentage, but that’s only if the bystanders were all ONLY HIT ONCE EACH. We don’t know that there aren’t multiple bullet wounds for any of them.
    I hope they get better soon, and sue NYC into bankruptcy.

  25. avatarTommy Knocker says:

    This is typical NYPD response. Look I have nothing against cops, other than a ridiculous pension plan. But I’ve lived in and around NYC for all my life.

    Cops first of all have zero fire discipline. They have next to zero training. Then the real reason that they do the high round count has nothing to do with the threat. The street cops all understand that when there is a shooting, everyone is expected to shoot a couple of rounds at the bad gun. This way they are all protected on review.

    Finally they have no self control when crap happens. I pointed this out on a prior post. Compare the NYPD shooting a couple of weeks ago in Times Square to what happened in South Africa. As Warner Wolf says, “let’s go to the video tape”. The SA cops wait, the charge of the miners comes towards them, they shoot. The commander doesn’t shoot, but gains a firm control of the situation with a “Cease Fire” command and hand signal. In the NY tape the cops are running about, frantic and out of control. No one is in charge. I’ll bet today was similar.

    Finally regards today, one report that I heard was that the cops were literally 8 feet away from the guy. Not 8 yards, not 80 feet. So all the gunfire was a little over an arms length away. Like I said, its just typical for NYPD.

  26. So the Bloomberg Gestapo shot more innocent people than the murder did. New Yuck’s dictatorial dwarf needs to start a campaign to keep guns out of their hands . . .

  27. avatarScott says:

    My, my, my, it looks like the boys in blue get full credit.

    “They say Johnson’s .45-caliber weapon held seven rounds. He fired five times at Steven Ercolino, killing him. One round was still in the gun, and one was ejected when officers secured it.”

    http://news.yahoo.com/nypd-no-evidence-yet-gunman-fired-officers-223957976–finance.html

  28. avatarJoseph says:

    It’s sorta kinda easy to stand on a gun range and shoot at paper/cardboard/metal targets. A real gunfight is just a TAD bit different, and to those who have been there, the opinon of those who have not is utterly irrelevant.

  29. avatarJ says:

    Mayor Bloomber released this statement: “In the war on crime, you can’t make an omlet without breaking a couple of eggs. Except in NYC where you can’t make an omlet because eggs and cheese contain too much cholesterol.”

    On a side note: just think, a couple of weeks ago the media said people shouldn’t be allowed to carry concealed because had civilians engaged the Aurora theater shooter there would have been too many bystanders hit in the cross fire.

  30. avatarNWGlocker says:

    “be aware of your target and what’s behind it”. Might be hard to be mindful of what’s your backstop in the middle of a fight though. On the flip side, how many bystanders:
    – are clustered in the area?
    – might have been in condition white?
    – know what real gunfire sounds like rather than thinking “are those firecrackers?”
    – know how to escape a threat?
    – know what cover is?

    One of the downsides of an anti gun city is its citizens might not know how to react. I didn’t until I started some training. For the reasons above.

  31. avatarAharon says:

    I think it’s time to experiment with equipping the NYPD with single-action .45 cal revolvers backed up with Bowie Knives. For the safety of the good people of NYC…

    • avatarCarlosT says:

      To be truly safe, I think we should make them single shot. Each officer gets two each.

    • avatarjwm says:

      gonna play the devil’s advocate here, aharon. you’re an innocent citizen going about your life when the nypd busts loose with their sidearms. if you get hit by an errant round would you want it to be a 9mm or a 45.

      • avatarAharon says:

        hhmm, good point. Perhaps we should change the caliber to .32 and require the actual projectile to be a piece of solid rubber?

        • avatarjwm says:

          actually, when teddy roosevelt was commishiner of the nypd he standerdised their sidearms as 32 caliber revolvers.

      • avatarGreg Camp says:

        They like heavy triggers–how about we give them Nagant 1895 revolvers. Also, each cop gets one bullet that has to be carried in the shirt pocket.

  32. avatarSlappy says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but does anyone else see the irony in Nanny B’s lack of comment with regard to the “need for stricter gun control”? I mean, had this incident occurred in Boston or Pittsburgh he no doubt would have been immediately been squealing like the pig he is about how this could have been prevented if the NRA did not have every Pol under mind control.

    Because it happened in his gun-free utopia……nothing, zip, nil.

  33. avatarAharon says:

    There are some really snarky smart-azz comments about the shooter ‘s possible sixuality and being a woman’s fashion designer at the free republic site.

  34. avatarbuzzy243 says:

    Drudge has a link to a video of the shooting. The sidewalk doesn’t look all that crowded and quite of few of the people leave in a big hurry when the shooting starts, so those cops are just really unlucky or really dumb.

  35. avatarCellude says:

    Well the video is out and wow, the cops were really close. Maybe they were using FMJ ball target ammo and over penetrated.

    http://cnn.com/video/#/video/crime/2012/08/24/ac-nypd-surveillance-video-released.cnn

  36. avatarAndo says:

    Just watched the video about ten times. The officer closest to the shooter apears not to see the shooter and fires all his rounds into a completely different direction, then grabs for something, a reload maybe? The officer who drops the shooter draws and engages one handed while crouching and backing away.

  37. avatarNam Marine says:

    Since when do the cops open fire into a crowd! This was stupid and careless.
    I smell a huge law suit!

  38. avatarMark says:

    I know this is bad and everybody makes mistakes. try putting your life on the line for a change for a lousy salary and not much recognition. It has to be hard. Lets lift up our brothers in harms way who have commited to protect us from the REAL bad guys and support them. We need to not have such a bad reputation for guns, they really do help keep the crime down. I am not a peace officer or anything of the sort but I am interested in building this country back up instead of being part of whatever movement that is tearing it down. Hold these guuys accountable like everyone else and quit bad mouthing our own.

    • avatarparamedic70002 says:

      The boys in blue protect us by shooting us? The shooter was a threat to NO ONE until they approached him. I risk my life daily riding unrestrained in the back of a speeding ambulance but I don’t make stupid mistakes that get people hurt and possibly killed.

  39. avatarT E Rea says:

    I think the “Barney Fife” method would be better in NYC. One round per cop. Less damage would ensue.

  40. avatarWilliam says:

    Can we stop with this “civilian” claptrap? PLEASE?? A civilian is someone who’s NOT IN THE MILITARY, NOT someone other than a cop or a soldier….

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