Sunday, August 26, 2012

Moronic NYC cops -- as big a problem as the crooks

Officers' gunfire injured nine passers-by while gunman fired no more bullets; Evidence shows Johnson did not fire at police; One victim shot by police, Robert Asika, said officers were 'firing randomly'

New York police are coming under fire for their handling of Friday’s shooting near the Empire State Building after officers injured nine passers-by as they targeted a gunman who’d shot dead his former boss minutes earlier.

When two armed police confronted Jeffrey Johnson, 58, minutes after he’d fatally shot his ex-boss, Johnson drew his caliber .45 handgun.

However, ballistics evidence suggests that Johnson did not fire his gun, as witnesses previously testified, meaning that all of the injured by-standers were hit by police gunfire - either stray or ricocheting bullets.

'It appears that all nine of the victims were struck either by fragments or by bullets fired by police,' New York's police chief, Commissioner Ray Kelly confirmed today.

The incident began around 9 a.m. yesterday morning when the disgruntled employee hid behind a car and then pulled out a pistol and shot his 41-year-old ex-boss Steven Ercolino in the head. After Ercolino fell to the ground, Johnson stood over him and shot four more times, a witness told investigators.

The gunman tried to escape but nearby police - alerted by construction workers who'd witnessed the assassination - gunned him down.

Kelly, the police commissioner, said the officers who confronted Johnson had 'a gun right in their face' and 'responded quickly, and they responded appropriately.' 'These officers, having looked at the tape myself, had absolutely no choice,' he said.

Acting immediately, the officers discharged 14 rounds and killed the gunman.

Johnson was struck at least seven times, of which police said some may have been exit wounds.

Johnson's gun held seven rounds, ballistics evidence showed. He fired five times at Ercolino, one round was still in the gun and one was ejected when officers secured it, authorities said.

None of the passers-by's injuries were life-threatening, police said. The seven men and two women injured - whose ages ranged from 20 to 56 - were whisked away to nearby hospitals. Six of the victims had been released by Friday evening.

In the aftermath of yesterday's terror, victims and witnesses are now suggesting that the police were too indiscriminate with their firing.

23-year-old Robert Asika was one of the nine injured; he was shot as he sold tickets for City Sights. He accused police of ‘shooting randomly’ and told the Guardian: ‘If you wanna aim at the target, you got to know what you're doing because it's the street. I could have been dead right now. I could have been dead.'

Asika said that he didn’t start running when he saw others fleeing because he wanted to know what was going on. He was then shot in the right elbow.

Terrified for his life, Asika tried to crawl to the other side of the street. The 23-year-old told the Guardian: ‘I’d never been scared like that in my whole life.’

While being treated in hospital, Asika was visited by Mayor Bloomberg but confirmed that he has received no apology from police.

Robert Neequaye was also among the victims caught up in the shooting. His colleague, Rufai Mohammed, told the Wall Street Journal that he hoped the police ‘would be a little more cautious next time.’ Mohammed added that he knew the police were doing their work and said he wasn’t blaming them.

Another victim, Media Rosario, 43, had just emerged from the subway when she was shot, reported the Wall Street Journal.

Erica Solar, a mother-of-two who works as a receptionist on East 37th Street, was headed to a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts when a stray bullet hit her in the back of her left knee.

Solar’s neighbour, Christopher Collins, who coincidentally stumbled upon her as she lay bleeding in the street, recalled to the Journal how she was nervous and kept asking if she would survive.

The chaotic shootout in one of the busiest intersections in Manhattan was captured in shocking video footage.

Original report here

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