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Officers Killed by Friendly Fire

NCJ Number
Trooper Dated: Fall 2000 Pages: 78-79
Craig W. Floyd
William L. King
Date Published
2 pages
Incidents in which police officers were killed in friendly fire incidents are briefly described.
In 1995 in Washington, D.C., a police officer and his partner were on their way to serve a subpoena and spotted a man holding a gun. The police officer identified himself and ordered the man with the gun to drop the weapon. The man instinctively turned to see who was giving the order and his gun was pointed toward the police officer. Fearing for his life, the police officer fired and shot the man twice, but it turned out the man was an off-duty police officer in street clothes and was trying to stop a robbery. In Providence, Rhode Island, a police officer was off-duty and was getting a sandwich at an all-night diner when a fight broke out in the parking lot and one of the participants pulled a gun. The off-duty police officer went to the aid of his fellow police officers to break up the fight. In the process, he was mistaken for an armed suspect and was shot and killed. In 1995 in Roseville, California, a police officer was off-duty when a man intent on committing suicide walked into police headquarters and pulled a gun on the counter clerk. In the confusion that followed, the police officer was mistaken for the intruder and was killed by a fellow police officer. The final example of mistaken identity involved a 1929 incident in New Jersey. In this incident, the police commissioner had placed police officers in plain clothes all over the city to catch the perpetrators of four robberies. Two police officers were not recognized as such and were mistakenly shot and killed in the course of investigating the robberies. In the case of police officers killed by friendly fire, files of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial indicate that friendly fire does not discriminate, that police officers of all races appear to be at risk.


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