NYPD: Ricochets Wounded Bystanders in Jeffrey Johnson Shooting

The security cam video of Jeffrey Johnson’s final moments have hit the ‘net. At the same time ABC  is reporting that “[Jeffrey Johnson] was cut down in a hail of 16 bullets that left Johnson riddled with 10 bullet holes.” Sixteen (shots fired) minus 10 (bullet holes in the perp) leaves six (rounds). How did police fire wound nine bystanders? “Some of the 10 bullet holes were exit wounds, authorities said.” Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne added that it was “very likely” all nine bystanders were “hit by police gunfire or ricochets or fragments from the planters that were hit by bullets.” The media outlet’s reporting “significant damage” to anti-car bomb cement flower pots lining the nearby curb. Will we ever know how many injuries were caused by ricochets and how many by direct hits?

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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.

57 Responses to NYPD: Ricochets Wounded Bystanders in Jeffrey Johnson Shooting

  1. avatarJ. Rogers says:

    Do police in New York use hollow point bullets?

    I know NJ bans them for regular people and NY probably does too.

    Does that ban extend to police?

    It is my understanding that HP bullets are less likely to ricochet or exit the initial target….

    Anyone know?

    • avatarAharon says:

      As I understand the law here, my state of Oregon calls for civilians (not sure about police) to use HP and not solid nose bullets just the opposite of NJ. If a civilian uses a solid FMJ then the shooting incident gets bumped up from a police investigation to the grand jury level. FYI, these are issues that I’ve read about and I’m not 100% sure if it is correct.

      Yes, you are correct that HP are “less likely to ricochet or exit the initial target….”

    • avatarMike S says:

      The NYPD carries 124gr Speer Gold Dot JHPs, as I understand it. (Glock 19)

  2. How about this, ANY misses at that distance are unacceptable.

    • avatarRobert Farago says:

      Unacceptable how? Legally, morally, practically? For both cops and civilians?

      • Unacceptable in every way. And the sad reality is, other than you fanatical and paranoid guys who practice all the time, the average gun owner is just as bad.

        • avatarRobert Farago says:

          So you’re saying that being paranoid and fanatical is a GOOD thing? That lawful gun owners aren’t paranoid and fanatical enough? Do I sense some common ground or did you just hoist yourself by your own petard?

        • Yeah, I guess you could say that. The problem is, guys like you who practice all the time are a tiny fraction of gun owners. Most are sloppy and lazy and dangerous like the cops.

          Thanks for not taking offense, by the way. I appreciate your tolerance of my opinions.

    • avatarKendahl says:

      Do you know anything at all about shooting? If all of Johnson’s wounds were through and through, the two cops hit him with 5 of 16 rounds. As police shootings go, their performance was above average. By the way, civilians with concealed carry permits do better.

    • avatarSomeone says:

      I am sad and shocked that I agree with MikeBNumbers.

      The officers were 5-10 feet away from the subject when firing and missed…a lot.

      I take pride in my shooting and practice constantly.

      I only keep guns I can shoot extremely well, meaning 50/50 in the X at a standard silhouette at 3/5/10 yards slow shoot (1 second per shot) and 50/50 in the 8s and above during a rapid fire (as fast as possible).

      I also DO NOT BELIEVE in crappy triggers for duty guns. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire and practice. The only thing a “safe” heavy trigger gets you is poor accuracy and officers who do not want to practice with the gun.

  3. avatarST says:

    The RAND corporations evaluation of the NYPD’s training and tactics section can be viewed here:

    http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/2008/RAND_MG717.pdf

    Page 35 neatly explains how 9 bystanders could be shot from a distance of less than 7 yards.

    ***Refresher Firearm Training and Requalification***

    The semiannual firearm requalification consists of three parts:

    Practice: An opportunity to fire 45 rounds of ammunition at stationary targets at
    7-, 15-, and 25-yard distances. Practice is unscored on a tactical pistol course.

    Requalification: his included firing 50 rounds at stationary targets at 7-, 15-, and
    25-yard distances. A minimum of 39 hits is required to qualify ********************************************

    50 rounds of practice shooting heavy trigger DAO pistols every 6 months? The prosecution rests its case, your honor.

    • avataranonymous says:

      50 rounds a year?

      Probably more than most civilian gun owners shoot in their lifetime.

      • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        And yet, most civilian gunowners involved in defensive gun uses don’t spray the attending crowd as the NYPD did here.

        If you were trying to make a point against civilian gun owners, you failed.

      • avatarMike S says:

        I just did the math and I shoot, at bare minimum, 2500rnds per year.

        • avatarMoonshine7102 says:

          Same here. I’ve burned up 2400 so far this year, and there’s still 2 months left in the competition season here in MN.

      • avatarjwm says:

        you don’t know any civilian gun owner’s , do you.

      • avatarDracon1201 says:

        Wow, really, through my .45 this morning I put 500 rounds through it. Between my AR-15, pump .22 and shotgun I put in another 1050 rounds. I just put in in one day what these cops do in a year, and I shoot regularly too.

      • avatarDon says:

        I hope this was meant as a joke. I only get to range every other month and I easily burn through 800-1200 rounds of 9mm a year. If you include .22, .380, and .45, then add another 800 rounds a year, primarily .22. Are you talking about people that own guns, but don’t carry them?

    • avatarJoshinGA says:

      So they can shoot 190 rounds per year, total, and still be “qualified”? No wonder they hit 9 bystanders.

  4. avatarsquashpup says:

    These idiots walked right into the open and let the shooter have a clear shot at them.

    There was cover. According to one story, those flower pots are designed to stop a vehicle. They’d probably stop a bullet, too. Do they not train their officers to use cover?

    Plus, had the officers crouched behind them, their line of fire would have been directed upward. Less chance of hitting an innocent person.

    Of course, the crowd who thinks that we should not be allowed to carry guns because we might end up shooting innocent bystanders praise these guys as heroes even when they end up shooting innocent bystanders.

    Bloomberg: “There’s no doubt that the situation would have been even more tragic but for some extraordinary acts of heroism.”

    Think he’d have said that if the situation had been identical, but a CCW or two would have taken out the perp, injuring some 9 people with friendly fire?

    • avatarOHgunner says:

      Bloomberg: “There’s no doubt that the situation would have been even more tragic but for some extraordinary acts of heroism.”

      There heroism turned a targeted attack on a single person into a mass casualty situation. Not the desired outcome. “know thy target and what lies behind it”

      • avatarJoe says:

        I wish Bloomberg would call it what it is – a situation that worked out, but could have been dealt with better. With perfect hindsight, this guy was focused on killing one individual. He was not a mass murderer. NYPD has done what’s done too often, “fix” the equipment, and not the person with the 13lb trigger. In NYC, there’s no safe direction – even up is not safe. Better to work on trigger discipline, than to have rounds go off target.

  5. avatarChris Dumm says:

    Any responsible armed civilian will fire three TO TEN times as many rounds in each six months as the NYPD are required to fire. Amazing.

  6. avatarLoyd says:

    Ricochets and cement planter fragments? Skeptical Loyd is skeptical.

  7. avatarLoyd says:

    Watched the video and all I can think about are the 4 Rules, especially number 4:
    Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

  8. avatarTommy Knocker says:

    Just some additional info for those not familiar with big city “planter pots” like you see on the video. After 9/11 barriers of all kinds started to show up everywhere. First came the highway road barrier things which were too ugly for a big city. Reminded everyone of Beirut or Israel. So they came up with these planters. They are constructed of concrete. The sides of which of are around 4 inches thick. I think there is rebar in them also. As you can see in the video they are about 3 to 4 feet in diameter and 3 feet or so high. The pot is filled with dirt. The city or the local stores plant nice pretty flowers in them. They weigh probably around 500 lbs or more. You need a forklift to move them. They are intended to stop a car. I have no doubts that they provide positive cover for small arms fire.

    My other point is that I’m reminded of the adage: “you fight as you train”. Says it all to me. NYPD is not composed of Delta force guys. These are young guys who took a civil service test and had a clean record. Period. They are then put on the street for the next 20 years.

    Another thing to remember, is that there are NO ranges in NYC worth a damm. Shouldn’t come as a surprise but it is not a gun friendly environment. If a cop wants to practice moving and shooting (IDPA stuff) it ain’t on a public range. There are all sorts of stupid rules to follow. No fast firing. No more than 5 rounds in magazine. No targets with pictures on them. No drawing from holster. etc etc. Rodmans Neck is the police range. It is a state of the art range in the Bronx. But I understand funneling 30K plus cops thru it, whenever they want, for intense personal training, is just not practical. The NYPD hosted the World Police and Fire Games for pistol shooting at this range. You can see it on this youtube video…

    • avatarjwm says:

      good points all t.k. also how many nypd cops are people of the gun. i have observed with a lot of cops that the only gun they own is what the department requires and the only range time they get is what’s required. not a good formula for successful police shootings.

      • avatarTommy Knocker says:

        Actually things may have changed, but at one time NYC police were NOT ALLOWED to own anything other than their service weapon. Had to get higher up authorization to be even a possibility. So like I said things may have changed but you can see that as an organization it wasn’t gun friendly.

  9. avatarMark says:

    If they can afford it, I can supply NYPD with the “Urban Safety Sidearm System” which consists of a large frontal area projectile which exceeds .40 caliber and travels between only 800 and 900fps to make it more likely that the expanding projectile will stay inside the suspect to avoid over-penetration and richchet. In addition, the launcher system uses magazines containing only seven cartridges. This encourages conservation of ammunition and promotes more careful aim, further limiting collateral damage. The complete system is available now and could significantly increase public safety.

    • avatarDon says:

      I seem to remember when the FBI was looking at the .380/9mm/.40/10mm they ignored over-penetration as a factor since the ratio of hits on target was so low anyway.

  10. avatar.9mm says:

    Check out the officer on the right with that one handed technique.

  11. avatarAharon says:

    Based on the video, it does look like the shooter pulled out his gun and pointed it at the police giving police the right to use force. Yet (and I’m Not defending the shooter) something about his body language imo gave me the sense it was more of a ‘get away from me leave me alone’ desperate reaction. Then again, maybe at that point he wanted to be shot.

    There seems to be way too much excuses using exit wounds and flower pots as reasons for the wounded civilians. Based on the mass media and NYC government stories and little real facts that I can compile, this case reeks of incompetent police shooting and cover-up. It also reeks of incompetent mass media reporting and probable bias in favor of supporting the NYPD side of events. The mass media used to be thought of as the Forth Estate to help keep government powers in checks and balances.

  12. avatarSilver says:

    Frankly, I’m downright shocked the NYPD is admitting this. It’s not in their nature to tell the truth.

    Bloomy must be foaming at the mouth that the peasants would dare to question the actions of his private army.

  13. avatarMike S says:

    Out of everyone in the video, I’m most impressed with the two guys that were sitting on the bench near the gunman. 0-60mph in a fraction of a second when they saw a gun. That’s a situational awareness win right there!

  14. avatarJoseph says:

    Keyboard commandos never cease to amaze me.

  15. avatarRalph says:

    The cops did not freak out and spray the neighborhood with gunfire. They did not shoot at an innocent person with a comb who made a “furtive movement.” They killed an armed bad guy, a murderer. The collateral damage was the result of police training — of rather the lack thereof. Whose fault is that?

    When cops f^ck up, I’m the first guy to call them on it. Not this time. This time, it’s on the brass. They won’t spend the time or money to train their officers and so put everyone in danger, including their own officers.

    • avatarDan Zimmerman says:

      What Ralph said. The guy points a .45 at two cops…and they make a split-second decision. The right one, in my mind.

      At that time of day in that location, there was no direction the flatfoots could shoot without hitting bystanders – not from where they were when the gun was pointed at them. There were probably 500 people within a 200 foot radius of them at that intersection. It’s a water-into-wine level miracle that no one else died.

      Give cops guns with 12 lb triggers that they get to practice with once a year (I’d be shooting on my own – a lot – if it were me) and the hit rate under stress yesterday was pretty damned good and very predictable. To get better performance will take administrative level changes ain’t gonna happen any time soon.

    • avatarSnachnim says:

      I agree Ralph. I don’t blame the beat cops, I blame mr Bloomberg and the chief for assinine laws and not enough training.
      But seriously ricochettes? I guess the magic bullet would fly this time around!

  16. avatarJR says:

    Anybody notice the cop on the right is shooting with one hand?

    Anybody ever shoot IDPA, 1 target (not moving) at a distance of seven yards with one hand, while you yourself aren’t moving. It’s hard.

    Now make the target move. Now you move. Now add a NY Glock trigger pull.

    It should not be surprising that there were misses.

  17. avatarMotoJB says:

    I’m still wondering how the hell they ended up surprised by a gun in their faces, 5-7 feet away? This, after they were told there was a murderer around the corner?? I’m assuming they didn’t know who they were following/pursuing? If so, running through a crowd like that was RECKLESS and stupid. If they had NO idea who the perp was, their stupid run into the danger zone caused the “surprise” situation and they reacted by spraying bullets with reckless abandon. If they DID know who they were following, they need to be stripped of their badges immediately. Yeah, why was that one cop on the right shooting with one hand? WTF? I also agree that a serious lack in training (or severe stupidity) can only be blamed here. The only positive thing here is that POS is deader than dead. I feel sorry for the victim, and the civilians caught in the crossfire. NY is going to be writing some big checks for this incident.

  18. avatarRambeast says:

    Anyone notice the woman walking with (what appears to be) her daughter? She bolts and doesn’t grab, push, or even attempt to get between the girl and the danger. I do believe the sheeple training has taken just fine to the general populace. Overriding maternal instinct even…

    • avatarmatt says:

      Why would she? She can always make another. Children are perfectly expendable, and supposedly rather tastey, look at what happened during Holodomor.

  19. avatarJoseph says:

    Moto…how many bad guys…I mean really bad guys that may kill you…have you ever gone after? I’m betting the number is zero. You do, however, make one hell-of-a excellent Saturday morning quarterback.

    • avatarCarlosT says:

      Saturday morning quarterback? Is that like a Monday morning quarterback for psychics?

    • avatarMotoJB says:

      Hey Joseph…since you asked…ONE. Back when I did security detail on the side, A “bad” guy that ended up pulling his knife on me, came at me, cut me up in the arm and shoulder before I tossed him (which disarmed him) and I proceeded to full mount him (as in MMA mount) and break his face badly (nose, eye socket) with about 5-6 well placed elbows. He went out…we cuffed him…and he went back to prison. I went to the hospital for stitches. That only came after years of training martial arts (Modern Day Arnis – stick and knife techniques)…and truly sucked. Knives up close and personal are darn scary. Fortunately never a DGU situation.

      How about you? I bet NONE.

      I still think that given the situation, those cops didn’t know who the perp was, and ran right into the lion’s den – in a way that was too reckless. Oh and btw – KMA!

  20. avatarlilly says:

    There would be an anti-constitution witch hunt if an American shot all those people. Alas, it was the State who shot ‘em all. Nothing to see here, Bloomers. Move along.

    No pets were available to shoot. Thank God for small favors.

  21. avatarJoseph says:

    Moto…there is a reason why I get a bit perturbed at people who’ve never been in an armed confrontation who second guess those who have. As Ralph noted…when the bullets are flying, to say it’s different than the range or training is an understatement.

    As a cop for almost four decades I’ve been in six deadly encounters where shots were fired. In two of them, due to various circumstances, I was shot at but never had a chance to return fire. In the other four I did fire at the suspect. Of those, two were hit. Another was saved when projectiles were stopped by truck doors and a couple of seats. The other was an armed robber that I fired on after he got out of his car and pulled a gun. I missed him by about five inches, but the bullet striking his car made him reconsider and he surrendered. It all happens in seconds.

    None of that makes me a hero of any sort, but it does cause me to not second guess anyone who finds him/herself involved in a deadly encounter, because I know for a fact that no situation is the same; because things happen faster than you can think so you better be trained; and that sitting back and analyzing a situation in a cool non-threatening atmosphere with plenty of time – without tunnel vision, without hearing occlusion – without adrenaline causing the loss of fine motor skills; and fear running through your veins, is probably unfair to the people who were actually there.

    I’m glad your encounter worked out well for you.

    • avatarIFR says:

      All of this does not matter.

      There is a double standard. Those who wear a badge and those who don’t.

      If anything those with the badge should be held to a higher standard than those without, not get a free pass because of it.

    • avatarMotoJB says:

      Well, that certainly qualifies for a lot of experience…and I’m glad to hear you made it out of those in one piece.

      I’m not denying or saying that I don’t agree with your points Joseph, and I fully recognize that in that scared, adrenaline dumped situation, one is far less likely to have the same focus, nerves and therefore accuracy.

      My main point; I’m still pretty sure that they rushed into the danger zone a bit too quickly or recklessly (since it doesn’t appear that they knew who the shooter was)…which caused them to be surprised by the shooter drawing on them at extremely close range. They had absolutely no time to think.

  22. avatarMotoJB says:

    The latest…perhaps if they had aimed for center mass however, the first volley of fire would have taken him out more quickly. Hmmm.

    Empire State shooter hit 5 times in head by police bullets
    http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/26/us/new-york-empire-state-shooting/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

  23. avatarSammy says:

    From what I see there is one more deficiency. Please correct if wrong, but I only see the officer on the left use 2 hands while firing. That might explain the inaccuracy of the shots (have they determined who the “bad shot” was by ballistics tests?) I think it is imperative the negligent shooter be, even if only internally by the force,identified . Every course I’ve taken teaches 2 hands. Or is that being over critical. I mean when they get the badge aren’t they being declared professionals? After this I can’t wait to see what SS, DHS, et all do with those 1B+ H/Ps.

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