This raised goose-bumps


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skidmark
August 1, 2006, 09:25 AM
This raised goose-bumps. We need a hand salute smiley.

stay safe.

skidmark

http://home.hamptonroads.com/stories/story.cfm?story=108354&ran=98631


Time stands still when an officer takes a life

More columns
Kerry's blog
The Virginian-Pilot
July 29, 2006



Ask Norfolk police Officer Chris Amos what time it was when he shot and killed that man 10 years ago, and he'll answer without hesitation.

"It was 7:31 p.m."

Not early evening. Not 7:30. Seven-thirty-one.

You don't forget the minute you took another man's life. Even if he shot you twice before you reached for your gun.

You did what you had to. There's no satisfaction in it.

"No matter how bad a person was, the bottom line is that 18 years earlier that person was somebody's baby," he says.

Like all officers involved in a shooting, Amos was grilled about what happened.

"It's a shame," he says, "I almost have to be thankful for the gunshot wounds, to show that I feared for my life."

Back then, Amos was a bicycle officer. Today he's still a police officer and also the department's spokesman. He's still in the line of fire, though, every time there's a shooting incident.

There's been a rash of them lately. Three this week.

Amos was off Wednesday when a Norfolk cop responded to a call near the Navy base. That officer shot and killed a screwdriver-wielding man.

Wait. A cop shot a guy who was holding a screwdriver?

On Friday, Amos was eager to set the record straight. He wasn't just standing there waving a screwdriver, Amos said. When the officer arrived, the man went after him. Then the guy with the screwdriver jumped the cop.

The officer shot the man and administered CPR.

Is a screwdriver a weapon? You bet. Should the cop have tried to talk the man out of stabbing him?

No.

Amos says there were witnesses. If the story is correct, the cop should be cleared.

Even so, he'll have to live with what Amos calls the "heavy burden" of having killed another person.

It's part of the job. Cops are engaged in urban combat. They battle the sociopaths who peddle drugs, molest kids and shoot up neighborhoods in gang-related turf wars.

The creeps pick the time and the place. The cops arrive and make split-second decisions in chaotic, adrenaline-soaked situations.

You couldn't pay me enough to do this work. We don't pay them enough, either. But they do it anyway.

Yes, there are bad cops. They should be rooted out.

But even good cops make mistakes.

Which brings us to the shooting of Officer Seneca Darden. It happened in May, and it was the worst kind of cop killing: one officer mistakenly shot a fellow officer.

And that's what it was. A mistake.

On Friday, Commonwealth's Attorney Jack Doyle released the results of an exhaustive State Police investigation into the shooting. No criminal charges will be brought, he said.

None should be.

The fatality was the result of a "chain of events" that "included random fate and judgment calls that were based upon misper ceptions."

According to Doyle's statement, mistakes were made. But Darden, who was working in another part of the city, was responding - out of a sense of duty - to the chaotic scene of a double shooting in a public housing project.

He was wearing jeans and a T-shirt when he attempted to subdue an agitated member of the crowd. He was pointing his gun at the man's head when K-9 Officer Gordon Barry saw him.

About eight times, according to the investigation, Barry yelled for Darden to drop his gun. Then he ordered his dog to take Darden down, but the dog went for the wrong person. When Darden began to turn toward the other officers, Barry fired. Six times.

It never occurred to him that the man with the gun was a cop.

City Manager Regina Williams called the shooting a "tragic and horrific accident."

Some will not be satisfied with the results of the investigation, but one thing's certain: Gordon Barry will live forever a policeman's nightmare. He knows that on one violent night in Norfolk, he killed a good guy.

It was May 21, 2006.

At 11:42 p.m.


Reach Kerry at (757) 446-2306 or kerry.dougherty@cox.net.


USER COMMENTS

Comments 1 - 2 of 2


Shootings by police (hide comment)
I too want to thank you. Rarely does a journalist get this type of story correct. Anyone who has been attacked by a person intent on killing you knows the terror that knows no bounds. The inane comments made by pseudo experts after these type of incidents never cease to amaze me. Police are called on to make life and death decisions under some of the worst, most stressful conditions known to man. They are subjected to constant stress and abuse from a significant percentage of citizens and police management. Their pay is so low, they must work additional jobs to make ends meet, adding to their stress. Their divorce and suicide rates are alarmingly high. So why do they do this job? The answer is quite simple. They are men and women of honor. Honor drives them. They are the neo-knights who try to protect the rest of us from the evils of Man. The crowds that formed May 21 in Young Terrace were just looking from trouble. Their belligerent behavior ultimately caused tragedy
- T Smith - Virginia Beach Shootings by police (view comment)

Just... (hide comment)
Thank you.
- Scott W. - Chesapeake Just... (view comment)

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Srigs
August 1, 2006, 09:32 AM
Good news story that may help change peoples perceptions on what is consideredd life threating. :)

bclark1
August 1, 2006, 11:08 AM
not a bad story, but why couldn't he write in paragraph form? it's sad when most of the posts in an internet forum have better structure

than

your

writing.

but yes, i think it's good that there's some positive press in support of one's right to self defense, with the understanding that no one can really judge the situation appropriately as they can't understand it if they weren't there.

Raph84
August 1, 2006, 02:42 PM
I am not a cop, and I understand the situation was not a good one. It does seem that something does not make sense here.

What was the distance between the 2 officers, would the officer who was killed have been able to hear the officer who fired on him (was there background noise etc.) Is the force going to address the issue of how to deal with a situation like this in training?

There is a really thin line between being careful and being to jumpy and a story like this makes me nervous (especially when details are not made clear and administrators says it was an accident w/ no one at fault). I don't think the officer was wrong, but it seems like something needs to change to avoid this possibility in the future

It just seems like this could happen again (either another plain clothes LEO or a CCW permit holder).

JimmyN
August 1, 2006, 03:41 PM
I followed this story as it unfolded, since this was a local event it was prominent in the nightly news for a while. As sometimes happens several mistakes were made, forming a chain of events leading to a tragic accident.

The Virginia State Police investigated the incident and below is a link to the Commonwealth Attorney's statement.

http://www.wvec.com/news/norfolk/stories/wvec_local_072806_doyle_darden.58ffe.html

Imaginos
August 1, 2006, 03:44 PM
Makes you wonder:

1) if officer Darden forgot he was in street clothes and didn't realize the orders to drop the gun were intended for him.
2) if officer Darden failed to display his badge via neck chain or on his belt and if the shooter failed to see it.

I'm betting on #1, but it doesn't really matter. A tragic case of misidentification. Nothing to do for it, and in most cases, not much to be learned from it.

Friendly fire happens all over. Dallas PD killed two of their own some years back during a drug bust. Two undercovers were in the car with two suspects when some other members of the department decided to bust them. Someone started shooting, and the two undercovers didn't make it.

Now some questions a little closer to home.
You hear about armed citizens coming to the aid of LEO.
I have always wondered how you let LEO know that you are on his side?
Even if you get past that hurdle, what's to keep the backup LEO called before you stepped up from blowing you away, or running you down with a squad car, when they see you with a gun near their pal?

SomeKid
August 1, 2006, 04:14 PM
So, if I mis-identify a cop, and kill him in VA, the VA government will acknowledge that is was an accident, and nothing will happen?

Cutting cops slack is fine, but when people die from their mistakes they need to be treated as if they were anyone else.

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