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So two Long Island NY cops shot a fairly bizarre fellow in his home when he charged the po-po with a large knife. If so, fair enough; although one has to wonder if said perp had the knife over his head, if he was “charging” towards the officers, how far the cops were from the bedroom door at the time, and all the other second guessing stuff that will no doubt proceed some sort of civil lawsuit. And then there’s what happened next, “eight to thirteen minutes” later . . .

The MTA officers were assisting county cops with mop-up duty when Nassau County Special Ops Officer Breitkopf arrived in a car with his partner, according to Nassau County Police Benevolent Association president James Carver.

As Breitkopf walked toward the house in plain clothes with a rifle slung over his shoulder and his badge around his neck, an unidentified retired NYPD sergeant from the neighborhood — milling around outside — cried out, “Gun!” Carver said.

One of the MTA cops tried to wrestle the rifle away, while the other, Glenn Gentile, fired a single shot, hitting Breitkopf in the side, Carver said.

Gentile and his partner were then trying to handcuff the dying officer on the lawn when his hysterical partner ran over and cried, “He’s one of us,” according to Carver.

As always, a cascade of mistakes led to the tragedy. Although the version of events ends with Carver sharing his colleague’s anger with the MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority) cops, one wonders why a plainclothes cop feels the need to carry a rifle slung over his shoulder to the scene of a crime, just minutes after a gunfight? No one thought that could be a problem?

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  1. I disagree that it’s the presence of a gun or the environment that caused the incident. It’s the presence of IDIOTS. Shooting a guy for open carrying a gun in a nonthreatening manner is exactly the wrong response… period.

  2. Officer Breitkopf was a member of Nassau County Bureau of Special Operations (BSO). It’s not made public why they were in the area at the time, but one possibility is that Congressman Peter King’s office is nearby and there may have been some concern about “fallout” from the hearings (on domestic radicalized Muslims) he was conducting last week.

    The civilian who was shot and killed by MTA Police seemed to be a rather disturbed individual. It may have been a case of suicide by cop. He seems like a candidate.

    Still a lot of unanswered questions. Either way, one family will have to live without a loved one and another man will have to live with agonizing guilt, regardless of how much or little at fault he may have been.

  3. Well, a few things occur to me right off the bat:

    1. There’s an old saying that “too many cooks spoil the broth.” Maybe if we didn’t have so many different police agencies, with overlapping jurisdictions, different mandates, different training levels, different recruitment standards, and SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) this sort of thing would not happen as often? MTA = Metro Transit Authority, yes? So, did this happen near a subway or bus stop?

    2. Maybe a plainclothes officer shouldn’t be carrying a shoulder weapon (for this very reason – he could easily be mistaken for a Bad Guy?)

    3. It seems to be a (sadly common) urban phenomenon to assume that only two kinds of people have guns: Cops and bad guys. Since the victim here wasn’t in uniform, and had a gun, he was, by implication, a bad guy until proven otherwise. Somehow I think if this had taken place in Wyoming or Texas, the mere presence of a long gun would not have caused the retired cop to freak out.

  4. I’m with KW on this. Why are cops trained to view an object as threatening rather than a behavior? I should be able to wander around town with a slung rifle and get ignored by the cops.

    “Maybe if we didn’t have so many different police agencies, with overlapping jurisdictions, different mandates, different training levels, different recruitment standards, and SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) this sort of thing would not happen as often? ”


    How about we reduce the number of Police agencies to 1 federal police agency, say the Marshals Service, for rounding up suspected federal felons. 1 State agency, maybe a State Police, or SBI, or a State Highway Patrol, and one Sheriff’s Office in each county.

    I have no problem with an FBI, but I don’t think that they should have arrest authority. I think that city police should be disbanded entirely and their job returned to the Sheriff, who was elected to fulfill that role.

  5. I’m sure that Officer Gentile truly believed that Breitkopf was brandishing a comb, which as we all know is legal grounds for an officer to use deadly force on civilians as well as their brother officers. People need to learn that personal grooming is dangerous. May I also suggest that if confronted by police for any reason anywhere, the only reasonable thing to do is kowtow at their feet, thereby placing the tushy in the perfect position for what comes next.

    • You forgot to mention you should turn your open palms upward in a supplicating manner so the officer can see you are holding no weapons or cameras. Otherwise you’re lookin’ to get shot.

  6. I’m confused as to why the first reponse to someone carrying a long gun, slung over his shoulder, is to jump him and wrestle for the gun.

    Second, I’m confused as to why you’d shoot someone WHILE your partner is wrestling with him.

  7. He shot someone who had a shotgun Slung Over His Shoulder? I mean, some sling positions look more aggressive than another, but, wow.

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