On Tuesday, Montreal police shot and killed a homeless man who had brandished a knife at them. They also MURDERED an innocent bystander. Murder is the correct word for it. When handling firearms, one of the big rules is don’t point your gun any anything you don’t want dead. You are responsible for your bullet until it stops. Firing anything downrange, you need to know what is in the path of your bullet. It’s a very simple concept. If your shot is NOT CLEAR, you DO NOT FIRE. Obviously, we don’t know everything that happened on that corner that day, but the rules are quite clear about when you can and cannot fire. He also had a knife, not a firearm. A lot less people are in danger when someone has a knife, the police have more time to respond to the situation, and could, if they wanted, let the guy ‘go’ and follow him to a place easier to take him down, and NOT on a busy street.
I was reading some of the comments after the shooting, and one stuck out at me. It was someone with army training who stated that they train with their weapons all the time. Police only have to qualify once a year, from what I’ve heard. This, isn’t good. Police should be trained a lot more than this. Handguns have a limited range where they are effective and accurate. Fired from further away, or while running, or just after running, YOUR accuracy is likely to fall. I don’t know if regular duty officers are trained in this fashion, if not, they should be, as this is a likely scenario on the street.
If I were out hunting, and fired at an animal, missed the animal, but hit another hunter (who was visible), I would be charged. It WOULD take a while for the investigation to happen, but regardless, I would be charged. If I recall correctly, something like this happened in Nova Scotia about 4 years ago with a couple from Maine or Massachusetts.
The wife was eventually charged with manslaughter, careless use of a firearm, and one other weapons related offence. The husband was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but that doesn’t matter…you are responsible for your bullet.
To put is succinctly, the officer in question should have never fired his weapon. There is NO retrospect in a situation like this. You field of fire is either clear, or not. The situation MAY be different if the officers were being fired upon, but they were not. Therefore, this is rightly called murder.