The first thing Dan and I said when we heard that multiple police officers were injured during the infamous shootout with the brothers Tsarnaev: “friendly fire.” OK, we didn’t exactly call it that. But there was no doubt in either or our minds that cops shot each other. The chances that Tamerlan Tsarnaev wounded the po-po with one handgun were lower than Liz Hurley’s neckline. And now the truth comes out about the incident. Well, some of it. Here are the bullet points from “two police sources” quoted by cnn.com . . .

— Police fired nearly 300 rounds of ammunition within five to 10 minutes as they confronted the suspects — 100 more than initially reported. And that included one round that nearly killed Massachusetts Transit Police Officer Richard Donohue. (Others bullets struck the Tsarnaev brothers, seriously injuring Dzhokhar and contributing to the death of Tamerlan.)

— Tamerlan was the only brother armed with a handgun. The only other weapons they had were the homemade explosives that police say the brothers tossed out of the hijacked vehicle, including a few that detonated.

— Police accidentally fired on an unoccupied black SUV during the mayhem. “In the chaos, an officer or trooper (or some combination of personnel) mistook it for one of the two suspect vehicles,” David Procopio of the Massachusetts State Police told CNN.

Now you could say fog of war, exigent circumstances, etc. But I’m not gonna. Not until I see the official police report on the shootout. Which could be never.

“That shoot review, which is ongoing, will include examination of any potential friendly fire incidents,” [Massachusetts State Police spoeksman [David] Procopio said. While Donohue was the only officer seriously injured in the Watertown shooting, another officer was also grazed by a bullet.”

As far as we know.

72 Responses to Officers Injured by “Friendly Fire” in Tsarnaev Shoot-Out

  1. You really should not have included the link to Liz Hurley’s neckline; I had a hard time focusing on the story after looking.

  2. It seems modern LE tactics is to mag dump in hundreds along the compass bearing of the threat,and then let statistical probability do the rest.

    So be it.I paid good money for the sights on my pistol,and I intend on using them should matters require it.

    • Easier said than done in the heat of the moment. That moment you realize that someone is shooting at you can be rather profound.

      • I’m not jeering Law Enforcement out of a misplaced sense of superiority. I served active duty Air Force and unfortunately had to reach for my gun twice in self defense since I got my carry permit.

        When the flag flew I was too focused to be scared or have any emotions. That came AFTERWARD, when the incidents were over and the implications of what just happened hit.

      • The evidence is strongly suggestive that neither brother was armed. There are tapes – publicly available – of the brothers shouting, “CHILL! WE SURRENDER!!” repeatedly to the cops.

        But surrender wasn’t in the cops’ script.

        • Where? I’d like to see them.

          Not enough to troll the intertubes for hours looking, but I do like to judge these things for myself rather than trust the opposing fictions of either right-wing conspiracy or the MSM.

        • Or the guy the cops made get naked before they arrested him, which looked just like the older brother. Funny how they still havent publicly stated who that person was.

          Or how nothing happened to the cops who were caught yelling ‘burn it down’ in the manhunt for chris dorner. Dont ya love how they can dole out extra-judicial executions whenever they want.

        • The video from the second story window showed one of them with a hand gun, so I don’t know where you got your info. Plus I thought it ironic that CNN is now tagging that the brothers only had one handgun, when all during the first week or so, Wolf Blitzer (SP) kept saying they had a Bushmaster AR 15 just like used in Newtown and Aurora.

  3. Rule Four as practiced by the police: have a vague inkling of your target. What’s behind it can FOAD.

  4. As the details reluctantly are pried loose from our Government, I will state it again: I would have rather dealt myself with younger bomber boy hiding in a boat in my backyard than hundreds of kitted-up and adrenalined-up LEO’s swarming my neighborhood. I really doubt that any forthcoming details will change my mind.

  5. from the CNN link:
    “Police accidentally fired on an unoccupied black SUV during the mayhem”

    — It’s Boston LE racism I tell ya! Racism!

    • And it’s also a deception…firing on purpose at a misidentified vehicle is not an “accident”, it’s gross negligence and incompetence. And these are the only people statists and their moronic supporters want to have guns.

      • No, it’s sound police tactics. If you want to lull your intended adversary into a false sense of security, you shoot the sh*t out of the black SUV that’s right NEXT to theirs. It distracts them, and then you can sneak up on ’em in relative safety.

        It’s similar to the LAPD tactic during the Darden incident of shooting the sh*t out of a different-brand/different colour imported pickup full of white women, and you can see how effective that was on Darden–he immediately got all confused and ran off and hid in the mountains, where he could be surrounded and then appropriately toasted to a golden brown with only one more good-guy fatality.

        Our government does the same thing every day; TSA searches the sh*t out of elderly white women and small children and maimed veterans in wheelchairs, which lulls the young Middle-Eastern male terrorists into thinking that nobody’s looking for them at all, which makes them feel small and insignificant and causes them to make a mistake eventually like blowing up a public event instead of an airliner.

        See?

  6. Here is my favorite part:

    The gunfight in Watertown was so intense that bullets came flying through a home about a half a block from the shooting scene.

    “They landed right near our staircase, near the pedestal and the other near our closet,” said Harry Ohannesian, who showed CNN several bullet holes in his house. “They went through one, exited, went through another closet and landed under the staircase.”

    Gee, would have sucked if someone had been between the bullet and the staircase at that moment. Good think the cops are so highly trained, huh?

    • And this is yet another reason why I never want to hear mindless blabber about “overpenetration” of this round versus that round. MOST BULLETS FIRED–at least as seen in the latest police death blossoms in L.A. and Boston–NEVER HIT THE INTENDED TARGET IN THE FIRST PLACE.

      Overpenetration… pshaw!

    • Yeah, just like the LA boys…100 holes in a truck with two innocent ladies delivering papers? How about the NYPD dropping 9 innocent bystanders in front of the Empire State Building? Aren’t the boys in blue supposed to be on the side of the innocent? Or, maybe that went out the window with “Protect and Serve”. Maybe they need much smaller mags.

  7. And another favorite:

    “The chaos in Watertown that led to the friendly fire shooting of Donohue can be compared to a war zone, DeCarlo explained.

    “Things (that) occur in the very dynamic moments of a situation like this … are not necessarily — no matter how hard police work — what they are trained to do,” said the former police chief, noting that none of his remarks are intended as criticism of police.”

    Okay, so maybe when this sort of extremely rare situation manifests, perhaps we should call in folks who are trained for this sort of thing rather than asking guys who spend a majority of their time working traffic details and writing speeding tickets to do it.

  8. Holy shit. They just found some random SUV and unloaded into it?

    These guys are dangerous. Anybody could of been in there and the police had no clue what they were shooting at.

  9. 300 rounds? That is 10 “illegal for the serfs” 30 round magazines dumped at two targets with few hits. With all of those rounds, it still took an SUV driven by “Gilligan” to forever immortalize “Speedbump”.

    • I’m glad you didn’t name these two cowards by their given names. I used to like Suspect #1&2. I now prefer your given monikers. Well done. Now we just need to get the MSM onboard.

      • I just refer to them as Dead Bomber and Live Bomber. Unfortunately, I doubt we’ll be able to refer to them collectively as the Dead Bombers until Live Bomber dies of old age.

        • Gilligan may only spend a three hour tour in jail when inmates figure out he is there.

        • If he goes to a joint without a strong muslim organization presence he will be sold for a carton of cigarettes at the earliest opportunity

  10. I saw a study 1 time that said that people under stress in a shooting situation routinely shoot until their weapon is empty irregardless of the effect the fire is having on their target. When police officers were routinely equipped with 6 shot revolvers when confronted with a deadly threat fired 6 shots and some continued firing even after their guns were empty. Sort of like the civil war soldiers that loading round after round into their muzzle loaders without firing.

    Fast forward to when people now routinely carry guns with 16 bullets in them and guess what? They fire until slide lock when put into a shooting situation.

    I saw some of this in my military days. We come under fire and we were equipped with m16’s with full giggle switches. It didn’t matter how many shots were fired at us, sometimes just 1, it always became a mad minute.

    Some of the posters and commentors for TTAG have never been shot at. And I hope you never are. But, and I’m not beeing insulting here, if it does happen most if not all of the training you have will be discarded in a primal urge to survive.

    I was lucky the first time I was under fire, I had experienced men around me that could keep a noob from doing something stupid that got him killed.

    • Perhaps so. While being shot at must no doubt be a frightening situation, I do not subscribe to the belief that someone trying to kill you automatically triggers a reflexive mad dumping of fire.

      Observe the incident at Fairchild AFB in 1994. An Air Force SP with a cool hand and experience with his platform smoked a MAK-90 packing psycho spree killer at a DoD confirmed distance of 71 yards, using the manstopper elite round that is 9mm FMJ 124gr. NATO.

      Do not tell me being under fire while scared for your life means you lose the ability to aim. These officers were incompetent, and that incompetence could have very well killed someone.

        • Being a former SP, I have to add that we were held accountable for our mistakes. We were responsible for every round. We were taught to identify our target, and taught not to shoot unless we had a clear shot that would not risk the life of an innocent. We had very precise rules governing the use of deadly force, and we knew we could not cross that line. Personally, at the time, I was more scared of screwing up than taking a bullet….and really, I think that all SPs should have thought that way…for we didn’t have a get-out-of-jail-card like so many civilian police seem to have.

      • Generally would agree with you ST but when I was in VN, it was generally accepted doctrine that when taking any incoming fire, think ambush and fire up any all the cover/concealment anywhere near the threat axis. You can’t maneuver until you have fire superiority. But that was in the jungle not in a major suburb of Boston where you could end up shooting at each other. With cops converging from all directions…well, the perfect scenario for incoming “friendly fire” which isn’t “friendly”.

        • And Bob2 makes a very important point: “Identify your target”… and know what’s behind it.

    • And yet we routinely read stories of armed citizens repelling home invaders, burglars, and the like with controlled fire from their guns. Not all–or even most–are primal mag dumps. In fact, listening to the occasional 911 call where a shooting occurs on tape indicates that it’s often a single blast or maybe two.

      Now military conflict may be entirely different since one is up against a trained and coordinated opposing military force. But what these cops are up against is MUCH more akin to the burglar/home invader scenario of going after one or two bad guys at most and they have the backup of their buddies to boot.

      I’m calling bravo sierra on the “under fire” scenario as faced by the po-po.

      • Obviously the homeowner is not going to randomly shoot/ventilate his own property by aimlessly (literal) firing dozens (or hundreds) of rounds. The gov’t guy has not such limits on his enthusiasm for making things go bang. Doesn’t even cost him 50cents for the round. Typical worst case outcome is he gets a few days off (with pay).

  11. In 2005 in Haqlaniyah, Iraq I was in a fire fight. I heard enemy bullets whizzing past within a few feet of my head (between me and one of my Marines within arms distance while we were talking about getting stretcher teams) and I didn’t fire back into a mostly barren landscape because I couldn’t tell which of two houses the fire was coming from. Presumably the innocent home should be spared. That was how we were trained and that was a typical response at that time and place I the war. We eventually sent a squad to investigate.

    I guess in America we have less concern for our own citizens.

    • First thank you for your service.
      Second the difference is if a solider in Iraq shoots up a house of civies by accident we try to hang him, if the police shoot up a car filled with two middle aged latina women during a hunt for a large african american man then the unions, PD and media all cover for them.

    • Thank you for your service.

      I want to add a similar experience. 22 March 2003, during our “road trip” (my unit was one day behind the main assault up to Baghdad) we were driving down a road just outside of Nasiriyah (we went by before the Jessica Lynch deal went down) and we took fire from a small group of buildings. It started as fairly inaccurate fire, and we stopped and dismounted immediately after clearing the “ambush.” (no such thing as an up armored HMMWV for us, We had taken the plastic doors off of mine so we could get out faster). We very well may have just sped (as fast as our crap HMMWVs could speed) away from the area all together, but 2 of our vehicles stopped short of the initial area where we took fire and we were having trouble accounting for the personnel. Very quickly the incoming shifted to us and got more accurate and several of our now empty vehicles started getting hit. We fortunately were all in defilade on the opposite side of the vehicles, where there was a shallow ditch running the length of the road.

      At this time, nobody started firing wildly into the group of buildings or emptying magazines or going cyclic on their SAW. Give credit to our few NCOs that had been under fire before. The building the shots were coming from was easily identified and our support element moved to engage the target with their Bradley. They had been traveling both ahead of our convoy and behind. One of them leveled the building with their Bushmaster. Long story short, we didn’t have any casualties on our side, and we didn’t shoot unnecessarily into the surrounding buildings. I use this as an example of how we didn’t just “mag dump” the whole group of buildings without knowing what we were shooting. There were 50 (give or take a couple) of soldiers there that day, ranging in rank from E-1 to O-3. It was later told to us that there were about 12 enemy firing at us from the “house.” At the time we probably could have gotten away with leveling the whole place instead of just one building, ROE were pretty open and we were “invading a hostile nation.”

      Were we fearless and brave? No I wouldn’t consider us that. My own heart was beating so fast you could probably feel it through the ground I was laying on. But even our group of “non-combat MOS (POG)” soldiers showed self restraint.

      In honor of as much disclosure as I can think of, I’ll point out that this was all at a pretty long range. As in, 200 – 250 meters. And, we didn’t have to return fire to save ourselves because we had our buddies in the ACPs to do it for us.

      • Perfect example.

        The difference is that cops are not very well trained, I think. Or they are trained the wrong way. They don’t think of fire discipline, they are trained to operate all alone and not as part of a unit. When some of them get together, they don’t think like a team. And they panic when they hear others shooting.

        At least, that’s the charitable answer. There are other, less charitable possibilities.

  12. Mag dumps and a reload (17 round Glock .40s I believe) are the norm around here. But on the other hand, the hit ration tends to be high as well, with only a few fliers in any given incident. Part of this, though, in mindset (or training?) rather than adrenaline. In one incident here, three officers fired 37 rounds at a single subject, with three fliers that fortunately did not hit any bystanders. When I commented to a Marshall (bailiff) at the courthouse that it seemed to me to be an awful lot of rounds fired, he said “Not enough.” Similarly, in a Florida shootout in 2006, with a suspect who had already killed a police officer to get his guns and ammo, police fired over one hundred rounds, almost half of which found their mark. When asked why they fired so many shots, the Sheriff responded, “That’s all the bullets we had.” I have a feeling that the current case as well as the Dorner incident are evidence of the same.

    • The problem with the Dorner case is they shot two innocent people and nearly shot a third who had nothing at all to do with the case except they drove pickup trucks. Not even the same model or color pickup trucks.

      I have no problem with shooting a legit bad guy 100 times, You don’t know if he has body armor on, you don’t know if he is going to suddenly spring up and shoot again.

      I DO have a problem when innocent people or officers are getting shot by their own people due to cowboy spray and pray tactics.

    • Its a matter of failed mindset and insufficient training.

      Observe the several cases of modern and older lawmen who used the fundamentals of good trigger control and sight picture to end the fights, and without expending 100+ rounds in the process either. One case in Washington involved a cop with a 6 shot .357 magnum blowing away 3 armed scumbags who tried to murder him on the side of the road. As I recall, the passengers apiece had an illegal Mac 11 full auto and a S&W submachine gun, and the driver had a Colt 1911.

      The outcome of that fight was three dead scumbags and one state trooper with 3 shots left in his duty revolver. The suspects mag dumped into the officers car, for all the good that did them.They all died with new .357 sized holes in their heads.

      • I guess it’s easier to train people just to shoot in a direction until empty than to teach each and every one good marksmanship.

        I’ve never been in a gunfight, but I assume it takes a lot of good quality training to be able to stay calm and apply shooting fundamentals under fire even if you theoretically know them. In other words, you must have internalized them, which takes practice and commitment.

        From that point of view, it’s understandable that the majority of police are trained the “easy” way. Understandable, but no less disquieting in what it says about today’s priorities…

        • Elmer Keith had an expression for this:

          “Taking your time in a hurry.”

    • “police fired over one hundred rounds, almost half of which found their mark.”

      In a remote location is one thing but in a residential area like Boston? Where’d the other 50 go? “Geez, we really feel bad about shooting the guy taking a shower in his own bathroom, half a block away. Just a little collateral damage”. Yikes!

  13. And these are “trained” individuals as the gun grabbers would pontificate to the rest of us. Sounds like they need a little more training…

  14. A LEO in todays America handling their firearm in a professional manner is becoming rare if not non-existent.

  15. To me the obvious question is, does there need to be a change in strategy for how the police handle an active shooter situation? It seems that there’s a tendancy to “pile on” or join the scrum by every officer within 5 miles. Reminiscent of pee wee soccer, otherwise known as “swarm” soccer. The fire departments seem to have a method of determining how much man-power & equipment should be scrambled for an incident. What about police? Why not have 3-4 “shooters” with accompanying “eyes” watching the hind-quarters, handling communications? Etc, etc. I’ve got no background in this sort of thing so feel free to tell me to “F***-off!” if I’m off base. Just seems like some adjustments are needed to the tactical procedures when so often the target is not hit and other police/civilians are hit.

  16. Well, well, well…. What have we here?

    Same incompetence, same reckless endangerment that we saw in LA recently… different coast.

    Oh, and who is going to be paying for the cleanup, medical issues, etc? That’s right, the taxpayers. The same people who were told to sit on their asses, not making any money for a whole day, while the police got to play at being ‘operators’ in their ninja costumes.

  17. If it was a “War on Terrorism”, the cops were laying down suppressive fire. It seems to be standard, when one cop shoots, all the cops shoot.

    Just like Waco. Look at the agents on the roof. Most of the shots hitting them and the building walls beside them were (un)friendly fire. No wonder the bodies were buried quickly without the usual examination. The truth would have been very embarrassing to a number of agencies and individuals.

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