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Stuart G

(38,690 posts)
Thu Oct 2, 2014, 01:26 PM Oct 2014

Unarmed Man Killed by Stray NYPD bullet In Stabbing Confrontation

Source: New Yorker

October 2, 2014
1:07 p.m

A stray bullet killed the man who intervened during a police confrontation with an armed suspect Monday, according to a ruling by the medical examiner.

Rafael Laureano was apparently summoned to the scene of the shooting by Kathy Russo in the early evening, after Russo's ex-boyfriend tried to enter her apartment. Later, the ex-boyfriend, Francisco Carvajal, returned with a knife, and he and Laureano faced off while Russo hid with her kids in a bathroom. According to the New York Times, Laureano left the apartment sometime after that and encountered police on their way to investigate the situation.

Russo was screaming during this time because though she had managed to take away one of Carvajal's knives, he had another. Police say that as they entered the apartment, Laureano ran back in ahead of them and was hit as they fired over a dozen times at Carvajal while shouting, "Drop the knife!"

“It looks like he was inadvertently hit,” said NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis.

Read more: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/10/unarmed-man-killed-by-stray-nypd-bullet.html

This speaks for itself. ".... fired over a dozen times at Carvajal while shouting, "Drop the knife!"

It is a knife??????????? Why shoot a gun?

The medical examiner ruled this today.."...stray bullet killed the man.."
21 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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Unarmed Man Killed by Stray NYPD bullet In Stabbing Confrontation (Original Post) Stuart G Oct 2014 OP
Insane cops. nt valerief Oct 2014 #1
Well said, nothing else to define this... no text Stuart G Oct 2014 #2
Wait for more details beemer27 Oct 2014 #3
I watched that and saw why my Father kept his leather mail bag when the Post office phased them out happyslug Oct 2014 #9
Except that the video assumes a hidden knife and unexpected attack. Thor_MN Oct 2014 #12
The unexpected happened beemer27 Oct 2014 #20
What I am saying is the 21 foot rule has nothing to do with gunning down a person with a knife Thor_MN Oct 2014 #21
It is a knife??????????? Why shoot a gun? Agalbraith Oct 2014 #4
You are drawing the wrong conclusion from the studies. Thor_MN Oct 2014 #13
Odd phrasing, "stray bullet". ManiacJoe Oct 2014 #5
Sort of a "we had to destroy the village to save it." The cops brought guns to a knife fight. marble falls Oct 2014 #6
Ooooohhh doggie, can't wait to shoot my new gun, heh heh heh Dont call me Shirley Oct 2014 #7
How do you suggest the police respond to someone with a knife? NickB79 Oct 2014 #8
By looking at what they are aiming at? Ash_F Oct 2014 #10
That's reasonable NickB79 Oct 2014 #15
There are hand-to-hand techniques to disarm. sakabatou Oct 2014 #11
Which no reasonable person would expect them to employ NickB79 Oct 2014 #16
Knives at least sakabatou Oct 2014 #17
Actually, they're significantly easier to fight hand to hand. sir pball Oct 2014 #18
Yes, there's always the possibility of a cut or stab sakabatou Oct 2014 #19
I'm ususally the last person to defend the police. christx30 Oct 2014 #14


(485 posts)
3. Wait for more details
Thu Oct 2, 2014, 04:36 PM
Oct 2014

It is popular to blame the cops for these kind of screw-ups, and most of the time they deserve the blame, but this time do a little homework before getting worked up.
When the cops entered, this Laureano ran in in front of them. This was not a real bright move to run in front of a bunch of armed cops who do not know what they are going to face and want to go home that night. The cops were probably focused on Carvajal, and did not know that someone else was going to be in front of them. The article does not say why he ran in front of the cops, but he did.
Ask any cop about the 21 foot rule. They are taught it at the academy, and practice it before they are sworn in. In most states, if you are being attacked by a knife that is within 21 feet of you, you are allowed to use deadly force. This goes for cops and civilians. Before you dismiss this, look up a few of the videos on Youtube. You might be surprised. Try this one:



(14,779 posts)
9. I watched that and saw why my Father kept his leather mail bag when the Post office phased them out
Thu Oct 2, 2014, 11:56 PM
Oct 2014

His position was he LIKED the leather mailbag. Yes it was MUCH heavier then the cloth bags that replaced them, but he could always put it between him and any charging dog.

The same with the police officer, if they had something to BLOCK the knife attack. This is why police officer use to carry BILLY CLUBS in their hands. Not on a belt but in their hands. It could be used to block such an attack since it is already in your hands. No pulling it out of a holster, no making sure the safety is off, just raise and block and hit.

Under 21 feet you are better off mixing it in with the attacker then trying to run away from him. The attacker has the initiative, by CHARGING into him you removed that advantage. The Army teaches this is ambushes, you are better off ATTACKING the people ambushing you then staying in the ambush OR running away.

Notice when the Police officers went for their guns AND retreated they lost (Except when the distance was 21 feet). On the other hand if the officer themselves had attacked they would have won (By the officer attacking, I mean CHARGING the attacker AFTER the Attacker had started his attack).

This is one of the reason British Officers do NOT carry guns. They often walk the streets and are thus within 21 feet of anyone they are engaging with, thus they do NOT have time to pull a gun if they had one. Under 21 feet the billy club is the better weapon (and under 10 feet by far the better weapon).

My father said the number of dogs attacking him were minimal, he understood dogs and NEVER put himself in a position where a dog would fell it had to attack (and if the dog did attack the leather bag was in the way). Billy clubs are a pain if you are driving in a car, for you either have to remove them or put them on your belt in such a way that they do not bind.

In the olden days, it was common for beat officer to "play" with their billy clubs as they walked the streets. The reason was it was a way to have the club in their hands while NOT using it to intimidate anyone.

A better combination would be some sort of shield and a billy club, but I just do not see Police Officers carrying a clear plastic shield as they walk the streets (Through it is NOT a bad idea if you can get officers to accept carrying them (I prefer the classic Roman Buckler, i.e. something that is buckled to your upper arm, thus your hands are free). A small Polycarbonate buckler, that an officer had PUSH into anyone who is attacking him may be ideal. I have known people to rap their coats around their arms to act like a shield, so it is NOT that far out an idea.

Yes, I am one of those person who think Police should be unarmed even in the US. Pistols are best used under 25 feet, further distance the ability to hit a target declines rapidly. Shotguns and Rifles are to be used at those greater distances. One of the reasons Shield dies out among combat troops was do to the fact shields interfered with one's use of pikes and later bayonets on muskets. Troops were trained to use the bayonet and musket to defend themselves in close quarters. Police when they use Shotguns or rifles adopt the same practice and the shield just gets in the way.

On the other hand, riot control equipment is often just a Shield, helmet and billy club. You end up being to close to use firearms in such riots and thus any firearms should be to your rear providing cover fire if needed.

Just a comment that we would be better off taking the pistols away from police officers, giving them access to rifles or shotguns if needed (could be in the trunk of their patrol car), and give them training on how to use a billy club when attacked. Train them to carry the club in their hands but in a way that is NOT threatening but quickly usable (i.e. in hands, or just one hand, but being used as an extensive of that hand, not pounding on the other hand). I know that tends to interfere with the ability to write a ticket, but sometimes you have to give up things.



(11,843 posts)
12. Except that the video assumes a hidden knife and unexpected attack.
Fri Oct 3, 2014, 07:54 AM
Oct 2014

If an officer encounters someone holding a knife, they are not going to be standing flat footed with no thoughts of drawing their weapon. The video bears little resemblance to the description in the article.

No one can be killed by a stray bullet. A stray bullet is sitting unfired in its brass and not loaded in a firearm. Any bullet that has been fired, especially by a LEO is not stray, it was fired with a purpose.


(485 posts)
20. The unexpected happened
Sat Oct 4, 2014, 10:06 AM
Oct 2014

I read your post and understand what you are saying. It would all make sense except, when the officers entered they knew that there was an armed man in the room and had their weapons drawn ready to use them if necessary, but when it became necessary, someone ran in between them and the armed man. The armed man and the officers could not know that this was going to happen, and the tragic result was that the guy in between got hit. It is too bad that he got hit, but it is understandable that when putting yourself in danger, you might get hurt. That is what happened. The bullet that killed him was not stray. It was intended for the armed trouble maker. The other man ran in the path of that bullet, and paid the price. When you take this kind of chance you don't always win.



(11,843 posts)
21. What I am saying is the 21 foot rule has nothing to do with gunning down a person with a knife
Sat Oct 4, 2014, 08:00 PM
Oct 2014

The 21 foot rule is about not closing the distance to someone a LEO is approaching. It is not a justification for shooting someone with a knife.

They may or may not have followed the rule, but it seems likely. For another person to come between them and the guy with the knife, they would have had to have decent separation.

At the point where it becomes apparent that you have someone with a knife, and there is decent separation, the 21 foot rule is no longer relevant, as there is no longer any surprise involved. As soon as they knew the guy had a knife they should, and apparently did draw their weapons. What we can't know, unless there is a recording, is how much time elapsed between "put down the knife" yelled by probably multiple people shouting over each other and the first shot.

I didn't see if there were any claims that knife man Francisco Carvajal, made a move towards them, the story seemed to me more about justifying the killing of person they did not intend to shoot. It did not say what happened to Carvajal, so I assume that he is still living. For them to kill someone other than who they intended to shoot and some how non lethally resolve the situation with the the guy holding the knife is a paradox. My initial read also missed that the police force first tried to claim that Laureano had died from stabbing wounds, which was a total fabrication.

The bullet that hit the hit the other guy was certainly not stray and demonstrates that the officer that fired it was not as aware of their surroundings as they should have been. The officers shooting became so tunnel visioned on the man with the knife that they lost control of the scene.



(52 posts)
4. It is a knife??????????? Why shoot a gun?
Thu Oct 2, 2014, 04:46 PM
Oct 2014

Its obvious the person that posted this statement "It is a knife??????????? Why shoot a gun?" doesnt understand deadly weapons. A knife is a deadly weapon. Someone with a knife under 21 feet away from you is an immediate threat to your life. Make no mistake. This drill has been done thousands of times. Always comes out the same. Someone with a knife under 21 feet away from you can get to you an inflict fatal wounds before you can draw and fire your weapon to defend yourself.

its an easy command to follow... "drop the knife"... if you dont you are a deadly threat. If you present yourself as a deadly threat to the police, or anyone for that matter, you run the risk of being shot... and rightly so.



(11,843 posts)
13. You are drawing the wrong conclusion from the studies.
Fri Oct 3, 2014, 08:03 AM
Oct 2014

Someone with a hidden knife intending to attack with no warning is a threat at 21 feet.

A person holding a knife is a completely different scenario, as the officer is now warned, and will get a hand on their firearm at a minimum. Most likely they will draw and aim.

Yes, the person is still a threat, but trying to claim that a person holding a knife at X distance should be automatically gunned down in a hail of bullets is ridiculous.


(10,136 posts)
5. Odd phrasing, "stray bullet".
Thu Oct 2, 2014, 05:46 PM
Oct 2014

Assuming the article is correct in its description, there was nothing "stray" about it. Laureano stepped into the line of fire.


(19,395 posts)
8. How do you suggest the police respond to someone with a knife?
Thu Oct 2, 2014, 08:06 PM
Oct 2014

A knife is a lethal weapon, and at close range every bit as dangerous as a gun. While body armor will stop a 9mm handgun round, most will NOT stop a knife, as the tip can get between the Kevlar fibers and push through.

Would you volunteer to disarm a violent person swinging around a butcher knife? I sure as hell wouldn't.


(5,861 posts)
10. By looking at what they are aiming at?
Fri Oct 3, 2014, 01:20 AM
Oct 2014

They actually have an extensive training process. Which they rarely learn from, it seems.


(19,395 posts)
15. That's reasonable
Fri Oct 3, 2014, 02:44 PM
Oct 2014

Though in 2-3 second, potentially life-or-death situation where gunshots must be fired, I can't fault someone's aim going to shit even with extensive training. And, while cops have extensive training during their initial schooling to become cops, the subsequent maintainance training is typically piss-poor. Re-qualify at the range once a year, fire 50 shots at a generally person-shaped piece of paper, and you're good to go again.

Suggesting they don't even use firearms against a person wielding a knife, however, is not reasonable.


(19,395 posts)
16. Which no reasonable person would expect them to employ
Fri Oct 3, 2014, 02:46 PM
Oct 2014

Would you suggest they employ disarmament hand-to-hand techniques with other dangerous weapons, or just knifes?

Like I said, at close range a knife becomes as dangerous as a gun, given it's propensity to penetrate Kevlar.

I've had a few encounters with bad cops in my life, and I can find a LOT of things to fault them on, but not going hand-to-hand with a guy armed with a knife is not one of them.

sir pball

(4,859 posts)
18. Actually, they're significantly easier to fight hand to hand.
Fri Oct 3, 2014, 04:00 PM
Oct 2014

Assuming you're in striking range, a gun is far easier to combat than a knife - a simple wrist strike or even just a slap at the actual firearm will at least knock it off-target and allow for a grapple or strike. You can't hit a knife, unless you enjoy self-mutilation. A classic sidearm baton would be quite effective but that's a fairly specialized weapon with some prerequisite training that most cops don't get these days.

That being said, at range, a taser or pepper spray would be more appropriate...of course in this situation it sounds like the assailant was attacking a third party in which case immediate *accurate* fire is the only option. Pity the NYPD can only ever seem to get the immediate part right.


(6,241 posts)
14. I'm ususally the last person to defend the police.
Fri Oct 3, 2014, 08:34 AM
Oct 2014

But they had an armed person they were dealing with that was clearly a threat, and this guy just runs out into the line of fire. What was he trying to do? Was he trying to stop the attacker? Be a hero? Who knows? But he got himself killed.

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