Unarmed Ohio Woman Killed by Cop’s Negligent Discharge

Earlier today, we told you about the re-launch of Evolve which wants to be the sine qua non of firearms safety. And who isn’t for firearms safety, right? Though we don’t know what’s on the top of their current to-do list, they may want to consider getting into the business of remedial training of police officers in the four rules of firearms handling safety. It’s pretty obvious that the Chillicothe, Ohio PD has made an utter hash of it. Of course, whatever good Evolve can do in that area will come too late for Krystal Barrows, but we have to start somewhere, right? . . .

According to dailycaller.com,

A police investigation determined that the fatal shot had come from the weapon of Sgt. Brett McKnight. According to a police press release, the news came as a surprise to McKnight, who was allegedly unaware that he had even fired.

The department suspects that McKnight fired his weapon by accident, at the exact moment that the flash grenade was detonated. Flash grenades are used to create confusion for suspects as police initiate a raid, although in this case, the police were just as confused as the inhabitants of the trailer.

The thing about the four rules is, they’re easy to remember, simple to observe and you have to violate at least two of them for something bad to happen. Despite their basic nature, this travesty seems like a clear case of wanton neglect of rules two and three.

Fortunately for responsible firearms owners – i.e., the vast majority of them – this deadly negligent discharge was the fault of a police officer. Otherwise, Barrows’ wrongful death would have been trumpeted across the intertubes by people like Joe Nocera or Shannon Watts as an example of why firearms ownership should be restricted to responsible people like those in law enforcement agencies and the military.

But we won’t be subjected to any of that in this case. No, a story like this will probably make a quick exit from the news pages with relatively little attention given to it. Other than by the taxpayers of Chillicothe, of course, who’ll likely end up paying for the eventual large settlement to the family. Not that that will make this Christmas any happier for Barrows’ four children.

[h/t DrVino]

comments

  1. Good shoot, the cop went home safe and got a paid vacation.

    1. avatar John Boch says:

      As much as I detest kwikrnu, he’s spot on here.

  2. Nick should donate some chamber flags to that PD.

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      Heh.

  3. avatar tdiinva says:

    This cop scored more points than Mr. Walmart. Do the IGOTD rules allow you to rescind an award and give it to someone else?

    1. avatar William Burke says:

      I vote yes!

  4. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Well, I haven’t been able to find the source article yet. One relevant tidbit from the text above is that police used a flash bang grenade. If this was not a hostage situation, meaning that police were executing a no-knock and/or middle of the night search warrant, it demonstrates yet again why we have to stop no-knock and middle of the night search warrants.

    1. avatar Thomas Paine says:

      exactly.

    2. avatar Rich says:

      If I’m not mistaken the raid took place at 10:30PM. They don’t elaborate as to whether she was listed on the warrant. There were 11 people inside her mobile home along with firearms and heroin. I don’t remember how many people were arrested in the incident though.

  5. avatar Mack Bolan says:

    A police investigation determined that the fatal shot had come from the weapon of Sgt. Brett McKnight. According to a police press release, the news came as a surprise to McKnight, who was allegedly unaware that he had even fired.

    How does that even happen? Mystical recoilless guns?

    1. avatar the ruester says:

      Glock 17.

      Didn’t even know he had it.

      1. avatar RKBA says:

        If you are referring to the plastic gun referred to by John McClane in Die Hard, that is a Glock 7. 🙂

    2. avatar Marcus Aurelius says:

      Adrenaline, in a rush to raid the trailer, finger on the trigger and then flinching when the flash-bang goes off? Just a guess. I imagine that’s more analysis that will be made public by the PD.

  6. avatar Keith in TX says:

    “the news came as a surprise to McKnight, who was allegedly unaware that he had even fired”

    How could one NOT know they had fired a round?

    1. avatar William Burke says:

      Yeah… there is just some shit I refuse to swallow.

      And Dan, “made an utter hash of it” gets my monthly “Golden Cushion Award” for this month’s Top Understatement.

      They fucked it up royally.

    2. avatar Jay Dunn says:

      My guess is that the cop is lying. I know, hard to believe a cop would lie.

      1. avatar RKBA says:

        Cops. Lying? Paleeeze.

        I knew (very well) a police officer in California who’s department carried ‘drop guns’ in the trunk of every squad car.

        1. avatar Accur81 says:

          Sounds like LAPD or LASO.

        2. avatar Hannibal says:

          Gotta believe it since someone says it on the internet who heard it from someone else. :-O

  7. avatar Ralph says:

    Nice shooting by Sgt. McKnight! He put the lie to the base canard that cops can’t hit sh1t.

    Unless he was aiming at the dog.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      He was aiming at another trailer.

      1. avatar DB says:

        yeah they trailor his girlfriend was shacking up with another guy.

      2. avatar ChrisB. says:

        She was not “in another trailer” she was in the same smaller trailer with 10 people and massive amounts of heroin, cash and guns. She also has a record.

        This story is not the way it is portrayed here

        1. avatar Matt in FL says:

          All of that matters exactly dick in the final result. Nothing you said is relevant to the fact that she got shot in the head by an officer who never even knew his gun went off.

        2. avatar Guy says:

          Which means she deserved no right to privacy or due process, and should’ve been shot? What the hell, man?

        3. avatar DB says:

          She was a scumbag but even scumbags get their day in court instead of being summarily executed.

        4. avatar Matt in FL says:

          “Alleged” scumbag. Maybe she was there to sell Avon.

        5. avatar DB says:

          Good Catch.

        6. Not in amerikA. Hell, even judge Kosinski of the 9th circuit said there are problems in our courts. If there are problems in the court there are certainly massive problems on the streets.

          http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2013/12/10/10-36063%20web.pdf

        7. avatar Matt in FL says:

          That’s a pretty effed up situation.

        8. avatar Anonymous says:

          The usual – drugs, money, and guns. Did they kill anyone? Due process? Who was the victim? I see.

        9. avatar Accur81 says:

          A bad shoot is a bad shoot, and this certainly looks like it qualifies. Police need more practice, and more accountability. I’ve gone 38 years without saying anything as monumentally stupid as “I didn’t know my gun went off.” I pray that I never will, and that justice is served.

        10. avatar Chris Mallory says:

          Unless it was an active hostage situation I don’t care what was in the trailer. The cops should have knocked on the door and waited to be let in, and they should have been wearing dress uniforms, not combat BDUs and face masks.

        11. avatar Carry.45 says:

          To Matt in fl. She avoided the cardinal rule of avoiding stupid places with stupid people doing stupid(ILLEGAL) things. I try to not hang around heroine addicts or dealers. Do I think she deserved what she got? God, no. But she put herself into a hairy situation.

  8. avatar Sammy says:

    “I didn’t know till I read it in on TTAG!” sez Officer Obama.

  9. avatar cwp says:

    Otherwise, Barrows’ wrongful death would have been trumpeted across the intertubes by people like Joe Nocera or Shannon Watts as an example of why firearms ownership should be restricted to responsible people like those in law enforcement agencies and the military.

    New game: who can be the first to get Joe Nocera to unknowingly trumpet a shooting by a cop as an example of why firearms ownership should be etc.

  10. avatar DB says:

    I used flash bangs in Army training and I find it hard to believe that this officer didn’t know his service weapon had fired. Add to that, no one rushes into a building before the flash bang detonates. Which is what this guy apparently did. Something smells here and its not the drugs.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      Then again you’re not looking at the Gotham City PD here either.

    2. avatar Accur81 says:

      As did I as an 0311. Flashbangs just aren’t that hard to use.

      1. avatar Sheepdog6 says:

        And the training that keeps weapons pointed where a negligent discharge will cause minimal damage prior to beaching apparenly was inadequate.

  11. avatar dwb says:

    Well, lets be fair about this, she was in a trailer with 11 other people (6 were arrested), lots of heroin, drug abuse equipment, stolen goods, lots of cash and weapons, at the trailer is not all that big.

    While she had no record, I am thinking she was not Suzie Homemaker here. Not does it sound like a bad search. With guns and heroin in the trailer, I am thinking the polite knock might not have been the best or safest approach.

    http://www.chillicothegazette.com/article/20131212/NEWS01/312120009/Officer-s-errant-shot-struck-woman-head?nclick_check=1

    Sgt Tool should have definitely minded the equipment. On the other hand, hang out with stupid people long enough, stupid stuff happens. Hang out in a small trailer with heroin dealers, if the police dont shoot you, it could be rivals tomorrow.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Yes, she certainly deserved to be shot in the head by Sgt. D1ckless.

      1. avatar dwb says:

        Well, I do think a reasonable person could foresee that hanging out with heroin dealers will shorten ones lifespan considerably. It could be by Sgt D1ckless, or maybe someone panics during the raid and starts a shootout with the cops. Hanging out with a heroin dealer is an accident waiting to happen. Actually I am giving her the benefit of the doubt, suggesting she was not a dealer herself.

        There are really five rules of gun safety in my book, the four you’ve heard of, plus #0: The don’t hang out with stupid people rule, and a heroin dealer is stupid people. In this case, both Sgt D1ckless and Ms Barrows violated a rule, so I am calling a draw.

        1. avatar Guy says:

          You’re certain she was there of her own free will? Women often get treated like property in criminal circles. I doubt she was innocent, but that doesn’t mean she was guilty either.

        2. avatar DB says:

          DWB,
          What about all of the people every year shot by cops who break into their homes because the cop was to stupid to turn the warrant right side up and get the address correct. They always say OOpps My Bad. What if it were you that got shot? True these people were scum but if cops start shooting people and lying about it when do they start just shooting people and not even bothering to lie?

        3. avatar dwb says:

          That would mean she was an addict. If you do heroin, you ll end up with AIDS, as a sex worker, treated like property, and you will likely have a short miserable existence. Dont do heroin.

        4. avatar dwb says:

          DB, thats not the situation here. You can significantly reduce your risk of being shot by D1ckless by not being where he is likely to be, like a heroin stash house.

        5. avatar Barstow Cowboy says:

          I’d be willing to bet that every single commenter on this page who’s calling this lady names and insinuating that she got what she deserved when she got shot because she was in a home with drugs has at least one person whom they count as a family member or a loved one who has at one point in their life used (or maybe IS presently using) an illicit drug or is taking a prescription medication WITHOUT having been prescribed that medication. For some of you it might be your mom or your wife, maybe for others it’s one of your kids, or maybe one of your friends has a kid who you know and care about who’s using drugs. MOST of the people I knew growing up had a period like this in their life, and some of the very responsible adults I now have as co-workers also went through a phase like this. Just about everyone who I knew that fit this description eventually grew up or came to realize the foolishness of their ways and went on to become responsible adults. To say that it’s okay for cops to be careless to the point of manslaughter just because they “only” killed a heroin user, or even a heroin dealer is a real stain on the so called armed intelligentsia that this site claims to have as its readership.

        6. avatar Frank Hill says:

          The point here is not that she was a squeaky clean angel who was simply watching TV in her fenced house while the cops raided the trailer next door. The point is: are the so-called “professionals” really all that professional? (Would a professional have violated any of the rules of safety, thus creating this incident? Or treated this incident with such aplomb? Or been unaware they’d even fired their weapon?) And what does that mean for the gun rights argument?

  12. avatar miserylovescompany says:

    Say what you will about the circumstances, but it is my observation (as opposed to opinion) that McKnight committed the perfect murder. He may well get away with it in this life but he’s gonna have some explaining to do before God in the next one. Of that I am completely certain.

    Tom

  13. avatar Chris75 says:

    Negligent homicide? Involuntary manslaughter? Oh nevermind just take a couple weeks vacation and come on back like nothing happened. The PD’s insurance will pay the family. If you or I did this we’d be looking at jail time.

  14. avatar Archon says:

    So can someone explain to me why cops can carry firearms ANYWHERE while us common folk who, in many cases, have just as much if not more experience with firearms than cops can not?

    1. avatar Accur81 says:

      Well, some of us have the wisdom and trigger control to stay off the news. Also, since gun ownership is so high in the US, it still seems appropriate to me for LEOs to be armed. This ain’t England.

      However, prison time is also appropriate for negligent discharges regardless if the shooter has a badge or not.

      1. avatar Keith in TX says:

        True. An armed society is a polite society.

        Being armed has that effect on those who carry.
        It’s there in case you need it but hope you never do.
        That’s where the politeness factor comes into play.

  15. avatar bgreenea3 says:

    The sympathetic reflex of tightening up his grip when the flash bang flashed and banged caused the ND. The Sgt should have kept his Booger hook off the bang switch…

  16. avatar Roger says:

    I’m sure he knew his gun went off. How would he not know? But since nobody else seemed to notice, probably due to the flash bang, he thought he’d keep his mouth shut. Probably wouldn’t have been noticed if not for the pesky fact that he shot this woman. Now to CYA he claims he didn’t know.

  17. avatar Anonymous says:

    Dan,

    Typo:
    “No, a story like this will probably make a quick exit from the news pages with relatively *little* attention given to it.”

  18. avatar Anonymous says:

    “A police investigation determined that the fatal shot had come from the weapon of Sgt. Brett McKnight. According to a police press release, the news came as a surprise to McKnight, who was allegedly unaware that he had even fired.”

    He must have one of those recoilless pistols.

    “McKnight has been placed on paid leave for the time being.”

    I would expect nothing less than a paid vacation for this guy.

    So what was wrong with knocking on the door? Why not just surround the trailer and knock on the door? No… we had to go the flash bang grenade route with bullet holes to the head. Congratulations fellas. Any chance of the officer getting a manslaughter charge?? I think we all know the answer to that. ND resulting in death from a “regular” citizen would merit nothing less.

  19. avatar mikeywb1983 says:

    There is no such thing as an “accident” with a firearm. It is either negligence, a malfunction or purposed use. Just as there are no car accidents. They are collissions due to negligence or a malfunction of the vehicle or an ulawful act. To assume anything else is to infer that no one is to blame. There is only one place for the term gun control to be applied. It is that the person utilizing a firearm is the one in control at all times. Anything else is blatantly negligence on that individuals part or a willful act of violence. Guns don’t just “go off”. The trigger is pressed in realesing the firing mechanism either by intent or neglect of gun control of the individual, or by malfunction of the firearm. Any other reason is a blatant falsification of reality and truth.

  20. avatar Henry Bowman says:

    I would rather live in a world of complete drug legalization and deal with the probability of encountering drug-addled scum bags, than live with this institutionalized violence, waste, corruption, and systematic infringement of liberty we have now, courtesy of this ridiculous “War on (Some) Drugs.”

    Prohibition Does Not Work!

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      But a whole lotta people (I use the term loosely) are making mucho dinero from it. It will go on as long as there’s a buck in it. Just look at what alcohol prohibition did for “Honey Fitz” Kennedy. And the FBI.

    2. “I would rather live in a world of complete drug legalization and deal with the probability of encountering drug-addled scum bags”

      Me too. At least if a criminal commits a crime there is the possibility of jail or winning a civil suit. Most civil suits against law enforcement fail because of immunity and forget about them going to jail when they commit a crime.

  21. avatar Orton Fallswell says:

    The junkie he shot was worth more dead anyway, the family will sue and get an “undisclosed sum” in settlement.

  22. avatar rawmade says:

    Why is being a drug user deserving of being murdered to some of you?
    Believe it or not, many good people get addicted to drugs, especially opiates. Not everyone who uses is a “drug addicted scumbag”
    Ive had a few friends who got addicted to entry opiates like Lortabs and eventually moved to oxy then heroin, none of them scumbags. All were good people, who eventually got clean and are still good people.
    Using drugs does not equal scumbag deserving of being murdered

    1. avatar Orton Fallswell says:

      Because your experience dictates the average population of heroin, meth or crack junkies are “good people” who dont steal to support their habit? Or kill? They are just misunderstood, like Trayvon Martin? You might trust junkies but thankfully your experience does not form reality.

      1. avatar cigardog says:

        Heroin, meth, and crack addicts are dirtbags. (Based on my daily interactions with them, at any rate.)

        However, they aren’t automatically deserving of summary execution.

        And remember, one of these days Officer Friendly could be throwing a flashbang into YOUR residence based on faulty information (or faulty reading of a search warrant, or for any number of reasons.)

        1. avatar Keith in TX says:

          Does your list of dirtbags include those that smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol and caffeine drinks?
          Do you drink coffee in the morning, a few sodas during the day and have a beer or two after work or a toddy and a cigar before calling it a night?
          Where does one draw the line, on legality?
          Who drew that legal line and why?
          Your big daddy government did.
          Is that where you draw your moral line on dirtbags based on what the government says is and is not legal?
          If the government made all firearms and ammo illegal tomorrow would you be a dirtbag or a complacent little sheople?
          Would it be wise to base your moral standards on the laws created by a government that has no moral standards?

        2. avatar cigardog says:

          I suppose if I knew someone who was using meth recreationally and wasn’t addicted, I wouldn’t consider them a dirtbag. However, someone who is addicted to meth (or heroin, or crack, or alcohol, or prescription pain medication) is, in my humble estimation, a dirtbag.

          I am 100% unequivocally opposed to the War on (some) Drugs. Meth, heroin, crack, etc. need to be (re)legalized. And once they are legalized, anyone who is addicted to them is still not someone who is going to be in my circle of acquaintances. Sorry.

      2. avatar rawmade says:

        No, i said they arent ALL dirtbags. Many are. My point was because doing a drug doesnt automatically turn you into one, an addict being murdered isnt “okay” just based on them using.

      3. avatar Andy says:

        Why is it ‘fortunately your experience does not form reality’?? Seems to me that reality is quite a bit WORSE than Rawmade’s experience. I would much rather his experience be the norm than your counter…

    2. avatar Accur81 says:

      I for one use caffeine on a regular basis and have the occasional nightly scotch or two. My drugs just happen to be legal. I don’t want to be shot in a nightly raid either. Heroine and meth are garbage, and they don’t tend to make model citizens. Regardless, they don’t warrant summary execution.

      1. avatar Orton Fallswell says:

        Go on, keep coddling tweakers and junkheads. They are “good people” deserving respect and adoration, just like Breaking Bad taught us how cool they are. Anybodywho gets on meth or smack or crack becomes a scumbag with a death wish, its irrelevant what they were before the first hit, do them a favor and put them out of their misery before they break in your house and kill your mom for the cash in her purse. Waste them all, and dont forget the illegal cartel dirtbags who are flooding the streets with this crap, and maybe we will turn this mess around. No mercy on junkies, once a junkie always a junkie. Give that cop a cigar.

        1. avatar Guy says:

          Wrong, jerk- they are created equal, and have inalienable rights. Like Thomas Jefferson taught us.

        2. avatar Accur81 says:

          You got me, bud. I spend all my nights coddling meth heads and crack addicts. We watch Oprah re runs and eat crab cakes.

          /sarc

          Listen, lethal force is only when justified. That’s it. There are a host of other enforcement actions for lesser offenses.

    3. avatar Marcus Aurelius says:

      I suspect that your friends are more likely exceptions than the rule.

      However, you are correct, heroine use does not warrant death.

      The bigger issue here is that a cop killed someone and is on the usual course to suffer no consequences. Using the addicted status of the victim to justify it opens the door to justify such a fate for others involved in lesser degrees of undesirable behavior.

  23. avatar Jim says:

    I’m thinkin the problem here is the gov’t must be stripping the trailer hitches off of the MRAPs theyre handing out. Just wait til everbody inside is good and geeked then drag the whole damn crime scene right down to the local PD.

  24. avatar Hannibal says:

    Interesting photo, I guess provided by family… probably looked as much like her as the little kid photos of Trayvon. The woman was in a trailer full of guns and drugs. Doesn’t mean she deserved to die- maybe she did, maybe she didn’t- but the (metaphorical) picture presented above seems a bit touched up.

    That said, there’s a lot of ‘what the fuck’ involved here. Not realizing you fired a shot…? Possible, I guess, particularly with a pistol caliber carbine, loud noises and adrenalin. Didn’t see what type of weapon he had. They’ve gotta have ear protection or suffer some short-term hearing loss with the FB. Still… a lot of stuff has to line up and I wouldn’t say it’s the most likely explanation.

    Even assuming he didn’t know… or “didn’t know”… still a monumental fuckup. I don’t know what’s worse, shooting someone you incorrectly think is a threat, or shooting someone without even realizing it.

    1. avatar Chris Mallory says:

      In all probability, I would guess the guns were in bedroom closets. It is SOP for the cops to pull any gun, no matter where it was, and use it to enhance charges.

      Time to disarm government employees and end this idiotic war on (some) drugs.

  25. avatar Tom says:

    I think this police officer should be indicted for negligent homicide.That is what would happen if it was a private citizen with a careless discharge of a firearm

  26. avatar scott says:

    The gun did it.

  27. avatar peirsonb says:

    I can’t help but be a little saddened by the comments above. Was she hanging around with stupid people doing stupid things? Yes. Did she pay an incredibly high stupid tax for it? Yes. Did she deserve it? We probably won’t ever know because she wasn’t afforded due process.

    It makes me worry because we frequently use the meme: Gun grabbers count 1,3,4,5……

    Seems some in the comments here count: 1,2, 3, 8, 9, 10….

    1. avatar DaveL says:

      You’re being generous if you’re willing to spot them the Eighth Amendment.

      1. avatar peirsonb says:

        I got distracted trying to remember the html to bold the 2….

  28. avatar Chris Mallory says:

    In 2012, 27 cops were killed by “gunfire” . I would imagine if they weren’t cops, then many of those would be considered good shoots.

    So far in 2013, cops have murdered 500 innocent citizens.

    It is time to disarm government employees.

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