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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 1:15 am 
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Out of respect for the victims, I waited a bit before posting this topic.

OK, you reality-based self-defense experts and gurus of combat. Please explain how all this collateral damage (injuries and fatality) happened. After we get some posts, I will comment.

Professionals (like Van) not allowed to post until others register their opinion. ;)

- Bill

Wall Street Journal wrote:
Updated August 24, 2012, 2:35 p.m. ET

Two Shot Dead Near Empire State Building
Man Shoots Ex-Colleague Outside Empire State Building; 9 Bystanders Wounded

By TAMER EL-GHOBASHY, SOPHIA HOLLANDER and PERVAIZ SHALLWANI

A laid-off apparel designer allegedly gunned down a former co-worker outside the Empire State Building on Friday morning, prompting a confrontation with New York police that killed the shooter but left nine others wounded on a crowded rush-hour Manhattan sidewalk, authorities said.

The bystanders were most likely wounded by police in the 9 a.m. incident in the shadow of one of the nation's most recognizable landmarks, authorities said. All but one—a 35-year-old female tourist from North Carolina—are New York City residents. They are expected to live; six were discharged from the hospital Friday.

Tourists and harried commuters ran in fear when shots erupted in the packed Midtown district. "I heard the shooting and people started running toward here," said Mohamad Ragab, a breakfast vendor. "I jumped outside my cart to take a look. I saw one body."

New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly identified the gunman as Jeffrey Johnson, 58, a Manhattan man who was fired about a year ago as a designer at a women's apparel firm, Hazan Import Corp., on West 33rd Street across from the Empire State Building. The victim was identified as Steven Ercolino, 41, a Hazan account executive, by his sister-in-law.

Authorities said Mr. Johnson blamed Mr. Ercolino for the loss of his job, accusing him of not doing enough to sell the T-shirts and women's accessories that Mr. Johnson designed. A building official said the men once had a physical altercation in the building, and Mr. Kelly said the two men had filed formal harassment complaints against each other in April 2011.

Dressed in an olive-green suit and tie and carrying a black bag, Mr. Johnson hid behind a van outside the firm's office, then approached Mr. Ercolino and shot him once in the head with a .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun, authorities said. Mr. Johnson then stood over the body and shot several more times, authorities said. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr. Johnson walked "very calmly" away from the scene, said police spokesman Paul Browne, but was followed by two construction workers who called for help to two police officers posted at the front entrance of the Empire State Building. The officers confronted Mr. Johnson, who took out his gun and pointed it at them from a distance of about eight feet, authorities said.

"He had the gun out and he pointed it right at them," Mr. Kelly said, citing surveillance video. Officers "returned fire when he pointed the gun at them." The officers fired a total of 16 rounds, striking Mr. Johnson at least seven times and killing him, authorities said. Police were still investigating whether Mr. Johnson fired at the officers.

According to his online LinkedIn profile, Mr. Ercolino worked at Hazan Import since December 2005. "He had an incredible life ahead of him. He was an incredible person," said a woman who identified herself as his sister-in-law, Andrea.

Mr. Johnson was a Coast Guard veteran, serving from 1973 to 1977 with an honorable discharge, the Coast Guard said. A law-enforcement official said Mr. Johnson had no prior criminal record. Neighbors said he lived alone in an apartment with his cats. He bought the Spanish-made .45 semiautomatic handgun legally in 1991 in Florida, but wasn't licensed to possess the weapon in New York City, the official said. Mr. Johnson was carrying an extra magazine of ammunition in his bag, the official said.

A Hazan employee who answered the phone at the office Friday declined to comment. Malkin Holdings, the controlling owner of the Empire State Building, said the building remained open throughout the day.

—Jennifer Maloney, Laura Kusisto and Andrew Grossman contributed to this article.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 1:59 pm 
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I'll bite Bill. :D First I hesitate to comment on an article that says "The bystanders were most likely wounded by police." That being said, in the fog of war things are seen differently. As someone who has some law enforcement experience, I can tell you that, when a firearm is pointed at you from eight feet, everything looks different. Tunnel vision sets in, survival sets in, and all you see is the barrel of that gun pointing at you (at least in the first second or two). And from eight feet you're luck to have a second or two to react. In their minds (speculation only) these two cops could either allow themselves to be shot (there still being no guarantee of crowd safety) or draw and fire instantly. After that it all comes down to how good they were at the range that year qualifying.

Steve


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:37 am 
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Steve Hatfield wrote:
I hesitate to comment on an article that says "The bystanders were most likely wounded by police."

You are a wise man.

Let's just say that no police have disputed this general account or the story. So at least we can accept this as a reasonable hypothetical - if not truth.

Steve Hatfield wrote:
in the fog of war things are seen differently. As someone who has some law enforcement experience, I can tell you that, when a firearm is pointed at you from eight feet, everything looks different. Tunnel vision sets in, survival sets in, and all you see is the barrel of that gun pointing at you (at least in the first second or two). And from eight feet you're luck to have a second or two to react. In their minds (speculation only) these two cops could either allow themselves to be shot (there still being no guarantee of crowd safety) or draw and fire instantly.

Thank you for your learned perspective, Steve. And you are spot on.

Steve Hatfield wrote:
After that it all comes down to how good they were at the range that year qualifying.

Hmm...

There's a little something missing here. ;)

- Bill


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:32 pm 
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Highlighted below (emphasis my own) is the key missing piece. Note how Steve covered pretty much everything else.

Quote:
The Physiology of Close Combat

An understanding of the stress of close combat begins with an understanding of the physiological response to close-range interpersonal aggression. The traditional view of combat stress is most often associated with combat fatigue and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which are actually manifestations that occur after, and as a result of, combat stress. Bruce Siddle has defined combat stress as the perception of an imminent threat of serious personal injury or death, or the stress of being tasked with the responsibility to protect another party from imminent serious injury or death, under conditions where response time is minimal.

The debilitating effects of combat stress have been recognized for centuries. Phenomenon such as tunnel vision, auditory exclusion, the loss of fine and complex motor control, irrational behavior, and the inability to think clearly have all been observed as byproducts of combat stress.

{snip}

- Physiology of Close Combat

So picture the scene. Bad guy goes into a crowd during rush hour, wearing a suit and hiding his gun. Construction workers are alerting police. A group of police officers surround him. Bad guy draws his gun.

It won't be like in the cowboy movies where Roy Rogers shoots the bad guy in the hand. Far from it. What happens next can't be a pretty sight. Human physiology just doesn't work that way.

If you are ever in such a situation, hit the dirt or run for cover. Even if wearing a uniform and armed, you're just as likely to get hit by friendly fire as by the bad guy.

What happened to innocent civilians here is tragic, but understandable and predictable.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:44 pm 
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http://live.wsj.com/video/video-shows-a ... 4E0D72275F

Slightly longer but with commercials...
http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/08/24/ ... -building/

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Last edited by MikeK on Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:47 pm 
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"There's a little something missing here."


You are absolutely correct Bill. Forgive my brain fart...........

One of the first things we are taught in confrontation is to create distance and take cover where possible "as" we are drawing our weapon. Duck and cover probably should have been the first reaction (hard to say without being there).

Quite some time ago (can't remember that many years back) we were taught that the average "gun battle" was fought from 6 feet or less, "all" of our rounds were discharged (that was back when we had revolvers :oops: ) and none of them hit the intended target. Not sure if that was completely accurate. I also remember that we were taught to do a "double tap" and then check to see if we hit the target and neutralized it or not. I always thought that would be hard to do in the fog of war. I thought more inclined to empty my weapon and then check :oops:

Good points Bill


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:56 pm 
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Interesting video Mike. After watching it a couple of times I don't believe they really had time to do much more than they did. Then the only question becomes, what did they know prior to approaching him. Were they aware that he had killed someone? Did the construction workers say "hey that guys got a gun" or "hey that guy just shot someone" Not sure if it would matter. I don't believe waiting for backup would have helped. This fella seemed quite intent on shooting first if confronted. Again, I don't want to do too much monday morning quarterbacking.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 8:47 pm 
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More information on the shot accuracy.
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162- ... -accuracy/

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:00 am 
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From Mike's link: "It turns out that the officers' "hit ratio" on Friday was almost twice as good as the department's average."

They had to act, and it's a miracle more people weren't hurt. What I don't get is why they didn't try to simply follow the guy until he wasn't in the middle of a busy area. They already had more than one cop there, so maybe they could have done something other than direct confrontation (It's my understanding that the guy drew when he was confronted by the police) at the time. I'm not saying those uniformed police officers were at fault for what happened. Police have to walk a fine line and follow every letter of the rule or get run over by their superiors, so maybe that had a part in this tragedy.

Bottom line, once again being alert will save a ton of heartache. If cops are shooting, get to cover. Sometimes fleeing will get you run over by the mob, and you can't stay where bullets are flying. Unless the cop(s) is/are down and out, there's no reason for you to get involved. They won't be able to seperate you from the bad guys. You're just another threat.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 3:02 pm 
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Hello, Jason! Thanks for dropping by.

Jason Rees wrote:
They had to act, and it's a miracle more people weren't hurt. What I don't get is why they didn't try to simply follow the guy until he wasn't in the middle of a busy area. They already had more than one cop there, so maybe they could have done something other than direct confrontation (It's my understanding that the guy drew when he was confronted by the police) at the time. I'm not saying those uniformed police officers were at fault for what happened. Police have to walk a fine line and follow every letter of the rule or get run over by their superiors, so maybe that had a part in this tragedy.

All true.

Woulda, coulda, shoulda. As you know, Monday-morning quarterbacking is an exercise for those who weren't there.

As I see it from multiple views of multiple videos...

  • The alleged murderer - dressed in a business suit and sporting some kind of briefcase or bag - is walking on a busy New York street.
    ...
  • Police approached him in numbers. From the standpoint of force, they abided by Sun Tzu's classic recommendation - they approached him with overwhelming force.
    ...
  • The alleged murderer sees the approaching police. From a hidden area he draws a weapon and points it at them. It doesn't look like he had (yet) fired. He just drew and pointed his weapon.
    ...
  • The police draw their weapons and fire.

So answer this, Jason. Where was he going? What was his next act? If you don't know...

Jason Rees wrote:
Bottom line, once again being alert will save a ton of heartache. If cops are shooting, get to cover. Sometimes fleeing will get you run over by the mob, and you can't stay where bullets are flying. Unless the cop(s) is/are down and out, there's no reason for you to get involved. They won't be able to seperate you from the bad guys. You're just another threat.

All this is true.

There's a greater learning opportunity as well. Most of us here are warriors - albeit largely amateur. One day we too could be in a life-threatening situation, and we will need to act decisively. Armed with what we now know from both anecdotes and peer-reviewed science...

- Bill


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 12:34 am 
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Jason Rees wrote:
From Mike's link: "It turns out that the officers' "hit ratio" on Friday was almost twice as good as the department's average."

They had to act, and it's a miracle more people weren't hurt. What I don't get is why they didn't try to simply follow the guy until he wasn't in the middle of a busy area. They already had more than one cop there, so maybe they could have done something other than direct confrontation (It's my understanding that the guy drew when he was confronted by the police) at the time. I'm not saying those uniformed police officers were at fault for what happened. Police have to walk a fine line and follow every letter of the rule or get run over by their superiors, so maybe that had a part in this tragedy.

Bottom line, once again being alert will save a ton of heartache. If cops are shooting, get to cover. Sometimes fleeing will get you run over by the mob, and you can't stay where bullets are flying. Unless the cop(s) is/are down and out, there's no reason for you to get involved. They won't be able to seperate you from the bad guys. You're just another threat.


Those questions are a great start Jason. Once the reports of the officers involved get out hopefully we'll be able to add more information to what's going on in the video. Other questions from watching the video, did the officers verbally engage the shooter before he visually noticed them? If so, could the officers have stayed quiet and have subdued the shooter by using overwhelming physical force? Which officer hit the shooter the most and which missed the most, the officer who stayed still or the one who was moving while shooting? Given that NYC is a target for terrorists, are officers of the NYPD adequately trained in single, two man and team tactics for responding to a shooter or shooters? Given the numbers of civilians out on the street in Manhatten in the day time, are there other options available to that should be considered and trained?

http://www.businessinsider.com/man-hit- ... ity-2012-9

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 4:18 am 
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Hi Bill,

Good thread and excellent comments.

Where did the bullets and fragments that wounded pedestrians come from?

Fairly easy to determine by the relative positions of the wounded to bullets trajectories.

The shooter had a .45 pistol [usually 7 rounds in magazine plus one in the chamber, if at all, equaling 8 rounds.]

He fires one to the head of the hapless supervisor, then three more rounds into his prostrate body, before walking away. No ricochet or frags there in my view.

The shooter walks away _ then points his pistol to police when challenged, but does not get a chance to fire before being felled by a police volley_ 16 rounds in a horizontal angle of fire _10 going into the shooter's body_6 going astray_

I think the investigation will show police rounds as causing the wounds to bystanders.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 4:19 am 
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What did the police know, and when did they know it, that resulted in their decision to stop that suspect 'now' rather than later? Police did see a man shot dead on the ground before being steered in the direction of the shooter. Was it reasonable to open fire upon the sight of a gun being pointed at them?

Should they have foreseen gunfire exchange when challenging the suspect the way they did…that could endanger bystanders the way that ultimately did? What could the police reasonably have done to protect the public in that situation? What were they thinking upon proceeding in that course of action?

Were they following department tactical procedures?

With this in mind, did _they do right_ in 'pre-empting' the shooter's intent to fire at them_ without first some sort of verbal command?

A gun being pointed at you means you are staring at death in the face and only have split seconds to react in some way.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 4:23 am 
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And when we, the police officers, anybody, perceive a deadly threat…we all experience body alarm reactions one way or another.
Quote:
Fight or Flight. The survival reflex is not a matter of personal "courage" or lack thereof. It is a profound and complex physiological event designed to prepare the animal within to either fight or flee for its life:

When fear explodes inside of you, your sympathetic nervous system instantly dumps a variety of natural drugs and hormones into your body to cause a high arousal state known as fear. You are literally under the influence of these natural chemicals, so your body operates differently, just as it would under the influence of a chemical you deliberately ingested.

These chemically induced changes take effect immediately and last for a "significant" period of time.They have specific implications for one's ability to effectively use a handgun without needlessly endangering the lives of innocent persons.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 4:26 am 
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Quote:
One common effect is distortion of perceived time, called tachypsychia. "An event that takes milliseconds may seem like minutes as everyone and everything appears to move in slow motion." Other physical changes typically include pounding heart, muscle tension, trembling, dizziness, nausea, dry mouth, tingling sensations, the urge to urinate and defecate, and hyperventilation and fainting in some cases. Several of these effects specifically, directly, and dramatically degrade the handgun owner's ability to use his weapon. For example, temporary paralysis—"momentarily freezing as your body is desperately trying to catch up to the sudden awareness that your life is in danger"—is an obvious inconvenience.

This is a serious problem because "the firing of the gun is dexterity intensive. You can't change that." In short, the use of fine motor skills for tasks like firing handguns is not part of the body's survival design: "Our bodies have not yet adapted to the possibility that fighting may involve a delicate trigger squeeze." Loss of fine motor control also means that reloading, also a high-dexterity skill, especially in revolvers, becomes much more difficult.

You drew the gun because you perceived yourself to be in danger, and that means body alarm reaction or even fight or flight reflex have kicked into gear: you're stronger and faster and meaner, but you're also clumsy and jumpy as hell. A tense person who is startled or thrown off balance tends to respond with convulsive muscular movements, and this could make your gun go off. At best, this is embarrassing and can give your position away; at worst, you can shoot an innocent person accidentally.

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