All Nine Wounded in New York Were Shot By NYPD Officers

Reports now indicate that all nine wounded bystanders in the recent shooting near the Empire State building were shot not by the gunman, Jeffrey Johnson, 58, (left) but by police officers.

Witnessed have complained that officers appeared to fire “randomly” in the confrontation, but the NYPD insists that the officers acted appropriately in facing the gunman. Johnson began the shooting by walking up to his former boss at Hazan Imports, Steve Ercolino, 41, (right above) and shooting him three times.

Victim Robert Asika said that the officers appeared to be spraying shots and that he saw at least two other people hit by officers.
NYPD Commissioner Kelly said that Johnson drew his .45 caliber handgun as the officers approached. The officers proceeded to fire 16 rounds, but Kelly insisted that “These officers … had absolutely no choice.” Johnson never fired at the officers.

There has been a long controversy over the switch of police officers to automatic or semi-automatic weapons with the capability if firing dozens of bullets in a clip. Critics have charged that the rate of fire has increased due to the switch with rising numbers of bystander injuries.

The question is whether someone like Asika could sue. Courts generally treat such shootings as covered by immunity rules and thus insulated from civil liability. The wounded could claim negligence in the use of lethal force by the department, but the police tend to get a great deal of deference in facing a deadly threat, particularly with someone who has already killed an individual.

The most notable case was that of Ruby Ridge, Idaho. In 1992, police sought to arrest Randy Weaver. The confrontation resulted in the death of Weaver’s son Sammy, his wife Vicki, their family dog Striker, and Deputy US Marshal William Francis Degan. The surviving family members sued and secured a settlement of $100,000 for Randy Weaver and $1 million for each of the daughters. Twelve agents were later disciplined and both the investigation and prosecution of the Weavers were criticized by officials like FBI director Louis Freeh. FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi was indicted for manslaughter in 1997 by the Boundary County, Idaho prosecutor but it was later transferred to federal courts and dismissed on the basis of sovereign immunity.

Here is a video from the scene and the confrontation.

Source: Gaurdian

73 thoughts on “All Nine Wounded in New York Were Shot By NYPD Officers”

  1. Someone said, “Secondly, the NYPD has taken the semi-automatic Glock pistols and modified them to work on double action only, with a 12 pound trigger pull.”

    Glocks are by design “double action only”, NYPD did increase the trigger pull to prevent lazy finger accidental shootings.

    Combat shooting IS necessary for all officers today. Department that do not train this way certainly could be sued over “failure to train” issues.

    I have carried a gun almost daily since 1976. I went from a SW model 66 revolver to single stack 9mm’s to Glock 40’s; from shotgun’s to civilian M-4’s with an Eotech; and have always works where you TRAIN combat style.

    At the end of the day, good shots – bad shots, sometime you have to shoot in a clearly shitty situation.

  2. BTW, I hunt with a 4X scoped double action .44 revolver. I need be within 10 feet of whatever I want to hit if I have to get off a quick shot – it’s a long heavy pull to cock and fire the weapon. But when manually cocked and aimed and given a just a little trigger squeeze, I can hit a quarter at 40 yards (maybe not with the first shot, but there will be bullets left in the cylinder when I do).

    That’s the difference between double action and single on a revolver.

  3. I recall a FBI shootout back in 1986 — 2 bad guys, 7 agents; very close quarters, some blocked cars in the middle of a street. A 4 minute gun battle, 145 rounds fired. Bad guys killed, some agents as well, and only one person unharmed.

    Post shooting review had two notable findings concerning the bad guys. First, each bad guy battled on despite suffering several mortal wounds. No, they weren’t hyped up on drugs. Second, each had several wounds to their hands and forearms. The agents fixated on their weapons.

  4. i seem to remember that when most u.s. police depts switched from revolvers to semi-autos there were a number of accidental discharges into officers right legs. this may be the reason for the instituting the heavier trigger pull, not bystander safety.

    or not.

  5. I have a nice story too.
    I was vacationing this summer in Florida, in a rental car, when a policeman pulled me over,: Mam do you know the speed limit here ” Yes 30 ” are you
    aware that you are going 35 ? ” Yes Sir ” I showed him my Danish drivers License, and he said : don’t do that again !
    Wow he saved my life. How eternal grateful am I.

  6. Someone I know very well tried the suicide by cop. He had a weapon and could easily have shot them. He survived b/c the cops had better things to do than kill a man who was hurting. I wasn’t there so don’t know the details, but no shots were fired. This was in a rural community where everyone knows everyone else, not the big bad city where everyone’s a stranger.

    1. The fact that I was referring to, was from April 18th ’12 in California and the man shot dead was George Ramirez,- may God rest his soul,- and was unfortunately one randomly chosen story which there are soooo many of.
      Too many.

  7. I know this is old, but it is a prime example of shoot first and often. Nothing has changed.

    Diallo: innocent, unarmed
    Johnson: murderer, armed, pointed gun at officers

    Sorry, not the same. And, damn right this was an example of shoot first. Does anyone really think that when a murderer points a gun at a cop, the cop should wait to shoot second?

  8. Lona, you are right. One should say *good* training. It seems from your example–I remember reading that case–that “training” may now mean instruction on how to overreact, because the most important thing is that the police officer goes home that night…

  9. It all became so confusing with all the detailed descriptions of guns, tactics etc, while the problem started out simple. : Police have a too loose hand on the triggers, proven over and over and over on this site and dozen of others.
    Now it’s been boiled down to the excuse, that they are not trained enough, and not experienced enough !! Hello….. How can they be trusted and given a gun ? Why ?
    This parent to a suicidal son, called 911, they came, tazed the boy to the ground ( parents ground ) he was on his knees, unarmed, tried to get up, and ups got shot in his stomach and died…… in front of his chocked parents, they called to get help to their suicidal boy !………

  10. Otteray Scribe, I beg to differ, and thank for inviting people to do so.

    I think you are very correct about the vast difference between going to a regular range and combat shooting training. A range with shooting lanes is intended to make shooting about as taxing on the brain as bowling (orderly rows, paper targets, good lighting, etc.), while real combat shooting is extremely taxing. Combat training should teach combat skills, including movement and reacting to changes in the environment (and not including things like picking up brass, at least until long after the shooting’s over).

    I have to disagree about the modified trigger pull making the firearm more dangerous to bystanders, not less. First, I believe that the NYPD trigger pull was created because someone decided (wrongly) that light trigger pulls are more dangerous. The correct answer is that all guns are dangerous, whether they are target guns with light trigger pulls or double-action guns with heavy pulls. Some very accurate revolver shooters actually put heavier springs on their guns so that they can shoot faster. What really makes the most difference between a hit and a miss is training, training, and training.

  11. Storm Troopers have better aim. At least they hit nothing at all instead of innocent people.

    bettykath, the old police commissioner from then claimed on his radio talk show that “PEOPLE DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW IT WORKS. IT’S REALLY EASY TO EMPTY A CLIP INTO A SUSPECT”. Yeah, that was his reasoning for that shooting – a lot of cops all scared and they all had to fire all of their bullets at a guy. Right.

  12. Amadou Bailo Diallo (September 2, 1975 – February 4, 1999) was a 23-year-old Guinean immigrant in New York City who was shot and killed on February 4, 1999 by four New York City Police Department plain-clothed officers: Sean Carroll, Richard Murphy, Edward McMellon and Kenneth Boss, who fired a combined total of 41 shots, 19 of which struck Diallo, outside 1157 Wheeler Avenue in the Soundview section of The Bronx.
    Less than 50% accuracy but even so 41 shots by officers NOT in uniform to disarm a man who was armed with a wallet.

    I know this is old, but it is a prime example of shoot first and often. Nothing has changed.

  13. bfm, ” And, apparently, many of those wounded were hit by ricochet which would seem to be fundamentally unpredictable.”

    They might not have known where the ricochets would go, but surely they should expect ricochets and, on busy NYC streets, they should expect that ricochets would hit innocent bystanders.

  14. Frankly: The question isn’t police ‘self defense’ (what? no bullet-proof vests?). The debate is over the fact that EVERY one of the nine injured were shot by the POLICE, NOT by the nut-case suspect.

  15. I don’t think anyone is blaming the individual officers as much as their supervisors and those at the top of the food chain. Make the pistols hard to use and hit a target, combat shooing training nonexistent as far as I can determine, and lack of required practice. I am aware that some police officers may belong to gun clubs and participate in combat shooting competitions, but those would be the exception and not the rule.

    The hardest scrutiny should be focused on the decision makers, not the street cops who do the best they can with what they are given.



    Nearly $1 billion has been paid over the past decade to resolve claims against the nation’s largest police department, according to an investigation by The Associated Press. The total spending outstrips that of other U.S. cities, though some smaller cities and departments also shell out tens of millions of dollars a year in payouts.

    Taxpayers foot the bill – New York officials say the payments cost less than insurance would, and officers themselves don’t usually bear personal responsibility.

    The $964 million in payouts covers everything from brutality cases to patrol-car wrecks to stationhouse accidents, and it includes settlements and trial awards. Some police officers have been sued again and again – including one officer at least seven times on excessive force and brutality claims. Some law firms have made it their primary business to sue the city.

  17. I first started carrying my 9mm Glock 17 in 1990 and it was my duty gun until I retired this year. So after 40,000 or so rounds or so fired through it I would still consider it to be something to rely on.

    One of the reasons I selected this gun was because I had been accustomed to carrying revolvers, as the S&W Model 66 .357 was what I carried previously. I did not want to get into a stress situation and revert back to revolver style firing, forgetting the various external safety releases and others. Plus the higher magazine capacity was a big plus.

    One advantage of revolver type action is that one can cock back and lock the hammer which will cause the trigger to retreat backward and this results in a very light and short trigger pull. The primary reason for this is accuracy. Otherwise to pull the trigger Double Action style is significantly longer and heavier but it is much faster.

    With a Glock pistol the production behavior does not allow this function. But the trigger pull is about medium.

    A good aid in shooting accuracy is to to rest one’s chin on the shooting arm at the top of the arm with the back of the jaw against the shoulder. This fixes a person’s head and eyes against the back sights of the gun and minimizes paralax from the hand moving the sights to the side. I use this with a modified Weaver stance. However the drawback to this is that one cannot be as nimble with the gun during combat shooting due to the linearly locked position as it forces the shooter to move his entire upper body to turn.

    I don’t know what method was used in this shooting. 1 suspect and 9 bystanders? something is horriblly amiss here.

    1. @Darren Smith

      I think you have made some good points and I don’t really disagree with you.

      But it would seem that the number of citizens wounded would have to be considered in relation to the conditions. NYC sidewalks, especially in mid town, are usually packed all through the day. And, apparently, many of those wounded were hit by ricochet which would seem to be fundamentally unpredictable.

      It was truly a terrible situation. And I hope part of after action is to consider what could have been done better.

      But I am not sure I can reasonably criticize the officers on the scene.

  18. Otteray Scribe, NYC is probably self insured up to a certain dollar amount and then insured for over that amount. That’s the way many cities operate anyway.

  19. The M1911 is one of the best combat shooting firearms out there. So what if the magazine only holds seven rounds. It is a comfortable pistol to shoot, and the big subsonic .45 slug is not likely to cause as much collateral damage, even as it has much more stopping power than a 9mm. And as for reloading, the seven round mag is not a handicap in a combat situation if the officer practices speed reloading as taught by Cpl. Travis Tomasie.

Comments are closed.