Off-Duty NYPD Shot Cop Stays in the Fight

From TTAG reader Hasdrubal:

After the often poorly regarded NYPD shooting of a murder suspect at the Empire State Building—in which nine innocent bystanders were wounded—it is refreshing to see another incident with the NYPD where the officer involved seems to have done nearly everything right. Of course not all the details are available. And even a few items in two separate NY Post articles (here and here) conflict slightly, the main story and the video supporting it are fairly clear . . .

Ivan Marcano [above], off duty and riding in a car with his girlfriend, witnessed a mugging in progress in the Bronx. He reportedly jumped out, identified himself as a police officer, and was shot in the chest for his trouble.

Depending on which story you read, Marcano then got back in the car and either pursued the suspects, who were fleeing in a Mustang, or started going to the hospital with his girlfriend driving.

The wisdom of pursuing an armed suspect while wounded, with no body armor, no radio, and only whatever ammunition you normally carry off duty can be debated, but Marcano was able to re-engage them some distance from the scene. Marcano is apparently one of those who believes you’re not out of the fight just because you’ve been hit.

Here’s where the video begins . . .

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The suspects in the white Mustang can be seen striking a black cab, and Marcano can be seen jumping out of his Infiniti. Marcano then advances, moving laterally to take cover behind a parked car, the cab, and then another car parked on the other side of the street. The cab driver gets out and then quickly gets down, possibly because of reports that Marcano was yelling at everyone to do exactly that.

With no sound, we can’t be sure when exactly Marcano fires, but we do know that he was holding his off hand to his chest, applying pressure to his wound. We also know he struck one of the suspects in the head, and despite no published information on how many shots hit compared to how many were fired, there are no reports of anyone else being struck by a bullet, shrapnel, or anything else.

So, we have quite a few good things to consider here, and only one or two possibly bad that I can see. Looking at those first, and this can be debated, why identify yourself as police, or call attention to yourself in any way if you witness a lethal threat scenario?

Strictly speaking, police are not allowed to use force that much differently from non-uniformed citizens. In practice due to unions, prosecutors, and questionable tradition, it may not always work that way, but in many places you are not required to give a warning before using lethal force to defend yourself or others. Yelling at a threat is asking for trouble, and sometimes you get more than you bargained for.

Uniform or no, verbal commands are for those seconds or minutes before the threat becomes lethal.

As Marcano saw someone being pistol-whipped, he had a judgment call to make. Had he made it the other way and shot without warning, he would have likely faced complaints by the public but no legal action. And he would likely not have had a bullet pass very near to his heart.

That being said, if faced with the same situation, unless the suspect’s weapon was being pointed at the victim, I like to think I would have done it the same way as Marcano.

Second, if the story that claims Marcano and his girlfriend were pursuing the suspect vehicle is true, rather than the other story which says they happened to be on the same road on the way to the hospital, then it can be debated if he should have placed the girlfriend in that situation.

Some people on this site have made comments about how police signed up for whatever danger we face on the job, and that’s true. Our families did not sign up for the same danger. Still, we don’t know exactly what the case was here.

And the good things? Marcano refused to give up. That’s the biggest thing you can take away from this, and it’s not just limited to police.

The mindset to stay in the fight, to not yield to weakness, to hunger, to cowardice, to fatigue, to superior odds, is something that can’t be bought at any price (while hunger wasn’t mentioned in the article, I couldn’t resist. Some of you will understand).

Also, the lateral movement to cover and telling bystanders to get down shows real thinking and not just the red mist of target fixation. One-handed shooting under stress isn’t easy even for those that train for it regularly, and the lack of any reported bystanders hit shows (hopefully) that he had a decently clear backstop when he fired.

Admittedly we can’t be certain of that last point, but there’s certainly nothing yet to show otherwise.

After the shots were fired and the remaining suspect had escaped, Marcano walked to a nearby ambulance, which happened to be parked nearby, and got him the rest of the way to the hospital.

My biggest complaint about the whole thing: Mayor Bloomberg’s comments. “Just think — people trying to protect us, [this] police officer wants to go home, puts his life on the line and God was just with him this time,” the mayor said. “The next time God might not be there.”

Whether you believe in God or not, sometimes what matters is whether you believe in yourself. Ivan Marcano is an example of what men can achieve when they do. If he finds himself in harm’s way again and God or Mayor Bloomberg happen to be distracted, my money’s on him doing just fine.

comments

  1. avatar ChuckN says:

    This is a nice refreshing change from other stories about the NYPD.

    1. avatar sanchanim says:

      Got that right. Usually we hear the bad things, but not when someone does something right. Hopefully he will recover quickly.

      1. avatar wolfpack 46 says:

        this officer is worth a million/ about bloomers comment/ I take offense since he seems to believe that doing your job is to go home alive.

  2. avatar Mike Taylor says:

    Quite frankly, it is good to read about an officer in the big apple doing his job (without shooting bystanders).

    1. avatar rosignol says:

      Doing his job while off-duty, even.

      Could use a few more like that.

  3. avatar Paul McCain says:

    Wow, that’s one tough cop.

    Good on him!

  4. “Just think — people trying to protect us, [this] police officer wants to go home, puts his life on the line and God was just with him this time,”

    Just think, Bloomie, that ordinary law-abiding citizens want to go home too, and if they had the capacity to protect themselves we’d need fewer officers putting their lives on the line.

    Meh.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      And by the way, Bloomy, what about the guy who was being pistol whipped? You don’t care about him? Because he’s not one of your boys in blue that just want to go home at night?

  5. avatar jwm says:

    Good job. I’ve been critical of the NYPD’s poor shooting record in the past. But this time I have nothing but praise.

    The bullet just missed his heart and he stayed in the fight. Good man. I wander what caliber he was shot with? There’s really no such thing as a majic bullet with handguns. It’s all about shot placement.

    1. avatar Hasdrubal says:

      .380 found in the car, according to the news.

  6. avatar Mikeinid says:

    I didn’t see his car w/girlfriend, so if they were following, it didn’t look close… I don’t think he took any risks with her safety. It appears, even wounded, he was well in command of the tactical situation and all its intricacies. This man should be commended, loudly, and in no uncertain ( Bloombergian) terms. What he did was brave, and should be praised and emulated.

    I am still waiting for the indictment or firing of the two clowns who shot 9 bystanders. Keep in mind what happens to our soldiers in Iraq and Afgan if they shoot 9 bystanders. Manslaughter charges, at minimum. These clowns screwed up, massively. They should be punished.

    Support and commend the good, punish the bad. If police want respect, they must earn it. Mr. Marcano earned it in spades, these others subtracted it.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      You only get charged with manslaughter if someone dies. Not defending the cops that shot 9 bystanders but manslaughter would not be appropriate in their case.

      1. avatar Mikeinid says:

        You are right, I wrote that poorly– the point I was trying to make is that our armed forces are heavily prosecuted for mistakes in a war, and our police are not usually subject to the same degree of legal oversight.

        Again, kudos to Mr. Marcano — an amazing performance.

  7. avatar Aharon says:

    “Ivan Marcano” My profiling failed today. He does not look Russian-Spanish/Italian to me. I was going to guess that the officer is African American. Good job and glad he is ok.

    “Marcano walked to a nearby ambulance, which happened to be parked nearby”
    — This is getting to be too good to be true. Is this a made-for-the-media set-up by Bloomberg?

    Did he use his police pistol or a personal handgun? If a personal gun then he did not have to struggle with the NYC po-po heavy trigger.

  8. avatar accur8one says:

    Excellent work! As a cop who drives an Infiniti off duty and occasionally gets into other people’s business, I positively respect his actions. This guy is a hero in my book, and I am impressed by his courage and tenacity.

    Since the video would not load on my iPad or iPhone, I am curious what gun Marcano was using, and if his accuracy was not unnecessarily hindered by the ridiculous 12 – pound NYPD trigger.

    I have also identified myself as a police officer off duty. I’m not sure what Marcano’s reasons were, but I do it for legal reasons. Specifically, defense attorneys have argued that their client would never have shot at / fought with / ran away from / etc. the police officer who arrested them if their client knew it was a police officer at the time of the undercover / alternate uniform / plain clothes arrest. This is one of the many reasons why I don’t trust lawyers a whole lot. I’m sure the Armed Intelligentsia wouldn’t be fooled, but many juries are.

    1. avatar jim says:

      I need to know, “As a cop who drives an Infiniti off duty”.. what Infiniti? G35, G37, M45? This site is run by the guy who used to run “the truth about cars” so I think it’s a fair question. If it’s an M45, my hat is off to you, sir, for very good taste.

      1. avatar Accur81 says:

        CPO G37S. The M is damn sexy, and I like the 5 series, too, but I’m married. (And I greatly miss my red Mustang GT…)

        1. avatar Jim says:

          Every time I see a G37, I get a little bit jealous. Very nice car. And thanks for being a cop, please don’t check to see if I have warrants outstanding 🙂

  9. avatar Ralph says:

    Officer Marcano has huge stones, and he shoots pretty good, too.

  10. avatar Hal says:

    The Infantryman’s Creed…

    1. avatar Hasdrubal says:

      Finally, someone got it. I did four years active, three National Guard. Yourself?

  11. avatar Michael B. says:

    He behaved heroically when he just as easily could’ve ignored it and driven away.

    We need more men like him and the two heroic security guys who died at Benghazi because the government turned their backs on them.

    DO WHAT’S RIGHT. ALWAYS!

  12. avatar stifledbf3 says:

    Definition of sheepdog. Those bastards weren’t going to go free just because they shot him in the chest!

    1. avatar wolfpack 46 says:

      + 10

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