SFPD Probes How Cops Fired 65 Shots At Murder Suspect... And Missed 65 Times

Ask any veteran cop who has been involved in a "running gun battle" about their experience and the first thing they'll inevitably bring up is how unpredictable these types of shootouts can be.

What they won't tell you - at least not right away - is how the pursuing officers, in many cases, will unload dozens of rounds of ammunition, inflicting massive amounts of collateral damage, often without hitting the fleeing suspect.

Sometimes, an officer will get hit. And sometimes, officers or the suspect will tag an innocent bystander, like they did during a shootout on a quiet neighborhood street in Westchester back in September 2015.

Screen Shot

Other times, bullets fly in every direction, ripping through windshields and terrifying bystanders, until the suspect gives up - or escapes, according to KQED News.

In one recent incident that unfolded in San Francisco's Design District about two weeks ago, a shootout erupted when officers cornered a murder suspect who had eluded them earlier that day. The suspect, identified as Joel Armstrong, was discovered after officers discovered a car that had been stolen earlier that day, which they believed belonged to the suspect in a double shooting where one victim later succumbed to his wounds. Police had linked the carjacking and the shootings to the same suspect, and when an officer went to investigate the stolen car, he discovered Armstrong hiding in a nearby RV.

An officer “peered into a window of the RV” and saw Armstrong, according to the Police Department’s description of the incident. One of seven body-camera videos released by the Police Department shows an officer rush back to his colleagues after looking in the window.

"Hey, we got him! We got him," the officer says. "He’s in there! He’s in there!"

Body camera footage shows seven officers surrounding Armstrong. First, the officers ordered the other occupants of the RV out of the vehicle. Three people and a large dog emerged, and officers ordered them to stand down.

All of a sudden, two shots rang out from inside the RV - and the officers scrambled for cover. One officer fell, another tripped over the officer that fell.

Officers unleashed a ten second burst of handgun and assault rifle fire at the RV. In total, 65 shots were fired. None of them touched Armstrong.

He eventually surrendered after a couple of hours, leaving the RV at 2:15 am ET.

He’s charged with murder, eight counts of attempted murder, carjacking, being a felon in possession of a firearm, discharge of a firearm and receiving stolen property, according to the Police Department.

Unsurprisingly, San Francisco homicide and internal affairs teams are investigating the incident. The local district attorney's office and the department of police accountability are also investigating.



Ms. Erable eforce Sat, 03/03/2018 - 16:25 Permalink

I see cops at the range all the time; they're the ones that talk the most shit and miss the most targets. Hell, they're lucky to hit the target frame at 7 yards, much less anything in the black.

In reply to by eforce

greenskeeper carl IH8OBAMA Sat, 03/03/2018 - 17:12 Permalink

I've watched that video on every site thats posted it. Probably seen it half a dozen times now. That they didn't hit the suspect isn't surprising in the least, but I am surprised none of those retards shot each other or a bystander. Them falling on each other, and that guy firing from the ground, is funny as hell, but pretty scary when you think about the implications - they clearly don't give a fuck what, if anything, they hit, including YOU. Thats the problem with the 'qualified immunity' police have. They aren't criminally or civilly liable for any damage they cause when they do something stupid like this, so they just spray and pray. Everyone should actually practice point shooting, I certainly do. But youll likely never see an armed civilian do this, because they are actually held accountable for dumb shit like that. I've never done it while being shot at, but I can draw from concealment and fire the first shot, no sights, and hit a torso sized target almost every time in not much longer than a second at the 7 yard line. If you can't do that, you have no business being a cop. Once warmed up, I get sub one second, but obviously if something happens, you don't get to practice first.

In reply to by IH8OBAMA

debunker stizazz Sat, 03/03/2018 - 21:23 Permalink

you're a fucking idiot

"...Harris and Klebold, who killed 12 fellow students and a teacher in 1999, were reportedly obsessed with “Doom.” Seung-Hui Cho, the 23-year-old who killed 32 people at Virginia Tech University in 2007, was a big fan of “Counterstrike.”

Aurora, Colo., movie theater gunman James Holmes, Jared Lee Loughner, who killed six and injured 13, including Rep. Gabby Giffords, in a 2011 Arizona shooting, and Breivik, who killed 77 people in Oslo, all were active video game players."

In reply to by stizazz

Hongcha greenskeeper carl Sat, 03/03/2018 - 18:34 Permalink

Yes greenskeeper Carl; you describe essentially what civilian social work will be like - nasty, brutish and short to quote Thomas Hobbes.  That's what I train for. 

I can only maintain a handful of weapons and a few thousand rounds in my little condo sandwiched between 2 Idiot City-States (Oakland and Berkeley).  Wood stock rifles, no sights, nothing electronic.  Get good up close and learn how to ccw, draw and maintain an even temper.  Don't discount owning a knife or two that you can carry and draw if need be.

In reply to by greenskeeper carl

pparalegal greenskeeper carl Sun, 03/04/2018 - 00:29 Permalink

@greeskeeper, 90% of your practice will fall away the first time someone seriously caps a round at you. Trust me. Most police involved shootings are at close range and an amazingly large number of them result in no hits by either party. By the look of it they unloaded their magazines until empty with panic suppressor fire, never having acquired a target. Poor training and mental prep. But nothing new. It has been happening since the six shooter was retired in the 80's. Before that they knew how to place rounds much better because they only had six at best. But your mileage may vary.

In reply to by greenskeeper carl

Ex-Oligarch nmewn Sat, 03/03/2018 - 16:40 Permalink

Sounds like they couldn't even see the guy they were supposed to be aiming for, just sprayed the RV and hoped it would discourage him. 

Wonder how many of the bullets went right through the vehicle and out the other side?  

If indeed the cops had surrounded it before the shooting started, this sounds like a circular firing squad scenario.  Lots of dumb luck involved here. 

In reply to by nmewn