“All nine people wounded during a dramatic confrontation between police and a gunman outside the Empire State Building were struck by bullets fired by the two officers, police said Saturday, citing ballistics evidence,” nbcnews.com reports. So much for the police commish’s post-shooting contention that some of the bystanders were hit by ricochets and bits of anti-terrorist flowerpots in front of the building. Speaking to reporters at a community event in Harlem, Raymond Kelly reckons all’s well that ended more-or-less well. He told reporters the officers appeared to have “no choice” but to shoot Johnson. “I believe it was handled well,” Kelly said. NBC’s down with that . . .

The veteran patrolmen who opened fire on the suit-wearing gunman, Jeffrey Johnson, had only an instant to react when he whirled and pointed a .45-caliber pistol as they approached him from behind on a busy sidewalk. Officer Craig Matthews shot seven times. Officer Robert Sinishtaj fired nine times, police said. Neither had ever fired their weapons before on a patrol.

The question is: how much and what sort of firearms training did Officer Matthews and Sinishtaj complete before the incident? And what will the gun grabbers make of this? You’re not going to believe it . . .

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33 Responses to All Empire State Shooting Bystanders Hit by Police Bullets

  1. Perhaps, instead of worrying about everyone else, Bloomberg should restrict his police to low-capacity magazines. Maybe that’ll focus their minds enough so that they feel the need to practice.

  2. “Neither had ever fired their weapons before on a patrol.”

    This is my shocked face….

    Also, did the perp ever manage to get a round off at the cops?

    • “Neither had ever fired their weapons before on a patrol.”

      Neither had ever fired their weapons before.*

      *Fixed.

  3. Carlos had a great suggestion the other day: equip each NYPD officer with two single-shot revolvers one-round in each gun. I’d like to add that the bullets should be rubber. To scare the perps into compliance the NYPD can wear Rosie O’Donnel face masks.

  4. Wow I figured Bloomberg would have found a way to spin this to support his agenda, but then again it’s kind of hard to spin your cops shooting innocent bystanders.

    • Bloomberg might not have sunk so low this time, but you can always trust the NY Times to come through in a pinch.

      Here’s the money quote:

      In 2008, Al Baker reported in The Times that the accuracy rate for New York City officers firing in the line of duty was 34 percent.

      And these are people trained for this kind of crisis. The moral is that if a lunatic starts shooting, you will not be made safer if your fellow average citizens are carrying concealed weapons.

      So if a civilian uses a gun in defense of himself or others and ends up wounding innocent bystanders, that’s an argument for restricting gun ownership to cops and soldiers. If a cop uses a gun in defense of himself or others and ends up wounding innocent bystanders, that’s also an argument for restricting gun ownership to cops and soldiers. Because stuff.

      • “So if a civilian uses a gun in defense of himself or others and ends up wounding innocent bystanders, that’s an argument for restricting gun ownership to cops and soldiers. If a cop uses a gun in defense of himself or others and ends up wounding innocent bystanders, that’s also an argument for restricting gun ownership to cops and soldiers. Because stuff.”

        This is easily my favorite thing I’ve read here this week.

        The NYT fails to take into account that many of the “fellow average citizens” put more practice rounds downrange in a month than the officers do in a year. But I’m preaching to the choir.

  5. This was a cop’s worst nightmare…gunfight on a crowded street. Sometimes you win, sometimes you loose…even when you win. But the HITS will keep coming for your site…and that’s good for you Farago. And that’s the American way…I wish I’d have thought of this. Carry on………..

    • No, Joe, a cop’s worst nightmare is being placed in a situation that reveals him to be an untrained, easily panicked, incompetent protected by his union, instead a “blue knight”, a superior being who can alone be trusted with the tools providing lethal force, and whose judgment and actions are never to be questioned by mere citizens.

      I do agree with you, though, that this was just such a situation.

      • why????? in bloomers utopia, the masses are there to sustain the state, the police is above the law since they are an instrument of the state for ordely living/the individuals in the masses are cheap and easely replaced.

    • Still no responsibility need be taken by the police. It’s union first, the main brick in the blue wall. But it really slays me when the police complain about neighborhoods not cooperating with them, when the cops treat internal affairs the same way civilians treat the cops. Now Bloomberg can raise tolls and taxes to pay for the damages.

  6. Maybe its better to be shot by criminal. “Shot by police” leaves a stigma on your record. Future employers get the wrong impression. /sarcasm

  7. I think all 9 victims should be charged will interfering with police.

    Seriously, quit worrying about if I have a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds. Don’t worry about my guns or if I have a Big Gulp. I all ready got rid of my own salt shaker.

    If I had shot 9 bystanders I would be in jail!

    • If I had shot 9 bystanders I would be in jail!

      That’s only because the cops wouldn’t have enough ammo both to shoot you and injure 81 other bystanders for proportion’s sake.

  8. Clearly the cops will get a pass on wounding so many people that ordinary folk would not get if just one person was nicked by a round.

  9. From my police training experience, it appears that only about 10% of officers are actually interested in guns and training.

    Much of those 90% never shoot, except for their annual quals.

    I would bet all of the 90% have never training under stress, or with simulators.

    This is proof of the lesson that professional trainers have be stating for years:
    Training is a must, and training under stress is a must. Simulation training and Force-on-Force training is the best training available.

  10. Actually, truth be known, I have made it my life’s goal to shoot as many innocents as possible anytime I have the slightest provocation to discharge my firearm.

    Thanks, I feel better now.

    • joseph, get over yourself. in america we are not restricted in our freedom of speech, not much anyway. i asked you once before , yesterday. if a civilian had shot the badguy and 9 innocents would you, as a cop, have supported him or arrested him? i am pro police, x military and i’ve been shot at. but attempting to spin or protect screwups in training, tactica and judgement doesn’t solve any problems. and the police are just citizens like the rest of us, if anything they should be held to a higher standard. but they should suffer the same penalties for their actions that we civvies do.

  11. 1.  I’m glad that the cops weren’t carrying M-4s with 30-round magazines or, perish the thought, selective fire full automatic capability.

    2. Also, and this is about human nature, I fail to understand why anyone in any profession does not want to invest the time, effort and money to become as proficient as possible with the tools that are both fundamental and critical to their success. For me, it’s a matter of pride and responsibility.

      • I’d be very interested in some proof to your statement. Why/how is improving one’s gun skills “onerous” for a member of the NYPD? Please remember that high proficiency could be the difference between life and death–for the police officer and his/her partner, not to mention the numerous reported innocent bystanders or mistaken victims who are shot in NYC every year. In that context,  “onerous” seem like an excuse.

        • 1) neither of these guys had ever fired their gun while on duty. I’m guessing most police officers don’t worry about it that much, because it’s just not that common. out of sight, out of mind. 2) unless they just plain enjoy it, they’re not going to train to be better at their job unless they’re being paid to do so, and i highly doubt many departments pay officers to spend time on the range or provide extra training while on the clock. maybe they should, because I doubt too many of us who are hourly workers spend too many hours working on skills to make us better at our job when we’re on our own time.

          As people who enjoy shooting and training, instead of vilifying police for not doing so, I think now would be a very appropriate time to point out to everyone that the training officers get is not adequate and offer up some suggestions on ways to improve that. I honestly feel for officers if it’s left up to them to hone the skills needed to do their job. They should be trained and put in position to succeed, not left to themselves to figure it out. Maybe some of you instructors could offer up some free classes for your local police force? too easy to just knock cops for not training more… won’t help a thing. if we’ve got it all figured out and they don’t, maybe we should work a little harder to build some bridges in this area. if you approach people with humility and a desire to help and not a “let me tell you how to do your job” kind of attitude, I bet a lot of people would be open to that.

        • @TD

          Its getting harder to get most employers to pay for updates in training, or training in general. They just don’t want to pay for it… it hurts their budgets and profit margins. The employees are expected to train on their own time and dime. When there’s an employer that doesn’t follow that, you know you got an employer that’s interested in more than just profits and budgets.

          With that said, I’m not so sure that free training, even when presented in such a way as that it the Cop who feels that it would be good, would be enough for them to do so. After all, SOME still have families and some just don’t care. (Although those who have families should probably look at it as taking the training = increased chance of coming home everyday instead of a drain on their time.)

  12. Other than shooting skill, anyone care to comment on the actions the police officers took? While it is hard to tell from the clip, it seems that when BG pulled his gun, the leading officer flinched. The second officer was immediately behind him, and apparently oopened fire. The lead officer then draws and fires. Neither seem to go for cover; they just stand there and shoot it out. And it seems like the lead officer backs into the second officers line of fire. SAnd it seems like they went for headshots instead of COM.

    I am no expert; what do the experts think?

    • I’m no expert, but people are being a little hard on these two officers. They’re responding to a call with imperfect knowledge or even bad info. It could have been a mass shooting that they were running to stop. They looked completely surprised running into the shooter. They probably expected him to be barricaded and holding hostages. They look to be out in the open without time to get to cover, hence the shootout in the open. Knowing what we know now, the shooter wasn’t going to shoot – I think he had only 1 round left. He wanted to commit suicide-by cop. I don’t question their courage or sense of duty. I criticize whomever thought 12lb triggers with minimal training is a good idea.

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