Report: Columbus Police Fired 194 Times At Suspects

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Columbus police officers fired almost 200 rounds at an armed homicide suspect and his girlfriend last May killing them. The shootout is detailed in a newly released report.

Along with the more than 700-page report, Columbus police released dash-cam video of the shootout.

Police began following the suspect’s SUV early on the morning of May 15 and tried to pull it over. Instead, the cruiser’s windshield was shattered by gunfire. Officers returned fire while in pursuit. Sociologist and former police officer David Klinger says officers were justified in their actions.

“If someone is trying to kill you or kill someone else, you have the right as a police officer to use deadly force to stop that threat, no matter if you’re standing still, if you’re moving, if you’re running, whatever the case might be,” Klinger says.

The SUV crashed on North High Street in Clintonville and a gun battle ensued. The report says five officers fired a total of 194 bullets.

“194 rounds in a shootout is a lot of rounds but it’s certainly not unheard of,” Klinger says.

The suspects, 24-year-old Emmanuel Gatewood and 21-year-old Kourtney Hahn, were killed. Hahn, who was in the driver’s seat, was hit 17 times.

Police say two handguns were found in their SUV.

  • Tiredofwhackos

    Use of force has drifted from stopping suspects to killing them. This is a response to many complex issues in society, but the two most immediate reasons include training and liability trends. Officer training as well as military training (many officers are ex-military) conditions trainees to overwhelming use of force to ensure planned outcomes. Owing to liability issues, there is unwritten advice among law enforcement to make certain to kill any target fired upon. This approach reduces the probability of lawsuits. Generally, suspects killed during a police action are not only unable to sue for themselves, but since they are presumed guilty (owing to the need to use force),family members pressing suits are unlikely to win. Generally, once an officer fires on you, it is likely he or she will continue doing so until they kill you, even if you try to surrender. Moreover, the standards for use of force constitute a “rubber ruler” giving officers considerable latitude as to what constitutes dangerous or threatening behavior. However, this case is well within the standards and unlikely to raise many eyebrows other than number of shots fired.

  • ThinkMn

    Wow that’s eleven and a half magazines of ammo (17 per mag). That’s a lot of reloading for 5 officers. Shoot, eject, reload, fire, repeat x 3.