Threatened By Nasty Old Rifle Case


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Old Partner
May 11, 2004, 09:44 AM
This is a pure case of murder, but, they will get away with it, Officer Safety and all...

Deputies probe Hartigan shooting death

Friends say the actions of the Cinco de Mayo 10K road race organizer were completely out of character.

ERIC SAGARA
Tucson Citizen

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Investigators are trying to piece together why Tucsonan Michael A. Hartigan disobeyed authorities in an incident that ended when a deputy and sergeant shot and killed him.
Hartigan, 58, was a racing promoter and a popular runner in Tucson responsible for organizing the Cinco de Mayo race.

Deputy Derrick Tyra and Sgt. John Westmoreland shot and killed Hartigan on Friday night after he pointed a carrying case similar to one that would hold a shotgun or rifle at them, said Deputy Dawn Barkman, a Pima County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman.

Hartigan had been dealing with his mother's recent death and coverage of last week's controversial finish to the Tucson Heartgroup Cinco de Mayo race, said his friend Randy Accetta.

Julio Felix crossed the finish line first but was disqualified for making a premature turn that took him off course. Though there is no cash award for winning the race, Hartigan paid Felix $2,500 with a personal check, said Accetta, president of the Southern Arizona Roadrunners.

But that incident, the death of Hartigan's mother and coming to terms with aging don't explain Hartigan's actions, Accetta said.

"It to me feels completely shocking and out of character for the Mike Hartigan that I've known for 10 years, which leads me to think that something very deep has been troubling him," he said.

Barkman gave this account of Friday's events:

A friend of Hartigan's girlfriend called 911 to report a disturbance at Hartigan's house, in the 4300 block of East Placita Baja.

Westmoreland, Tyra and Deputy Miguel Flores were on their way to Hartigan's house when Hartigan's girlfriend called 911 and told dispatchers he had a gun in his car and was threatening to shoot anyone who came near him.

Sheriff's officials found Hartigan and his girlfriend standing outside his home, near Skyline Drive and Swan Road. The officials ordered Hartigan to show his hands and stay away from his red Jaguar.

Hartigan got into the car, grabbed the dark green canvas case and swung it toward Flores.

Hartigan had just brought the Jaguar that day, Accetta said.

Tyra fired a rifle six times, and Westmoreland fired three shots from his handgun, striking Hartigan at least once. They were standing about seven to 10 feet from him when they opened fire. Flores did not fire.

Hartigan was pronounced dead at University Medical Center. Investigators have not found a gun, Barkman said.

Tyra, Westmoreland and Flores have been put on paid administrative leave, which is standard in such cases, she said.

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Leatherneck
May 11, 2004, 09:57 AM
Good shoot. Suicide by Cop. Pity the ossifers.

TC
TFL Survivor

mwithers72
May 11, 2004, 10:16 AM
Tyra fired a rifle six times, and Westmoreland fired three shots from his handgun, striking Hartigan at least once. They were standing about seven to 10 feet from him when they opened fire

lets see six times with a rifle and three times with a handgun. AND ONLY ONE HIT from 7 to 10 feet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! wait I stand corrected

striking Hartigan at least once

maybe time to goto the range

I don't think it was a good shoot

Investigators have not found a gun, Barkman said

Old Partner
May 11, 2004, 10:22 AM
I have been at a range watching them shoot. I and others (non LEO) watching never laughed so hard in our lives. Not only couldn't they hit the X ring, most of the time they couldn't even hit the paper. Two of them even dropped their pistol drawing it from the holster. Rank and file here in Arizona have to be the worst shots on earth. One of the safest places to be when they are shooting is holding the target. :neener:

Leatherneck
May 11, 2004, 10:44 AM
I don't think it was a good shoot Here's my thinking, based entirely on the limited facts in the article:
911 report of MWG
Cops arrive, observe scene essentially as expected
Man refuses Halt/show hands order
Man gets recognizable gun case from car
Man points same at them.

Reasonable fear they're about to be shot (reinforced by the apparently P-Poor marksmanship.) Good shoot. Suicide by cop.

TC
TFL Survivor

Old Partner
May 11, 2004, 10:50 AM
How many people have you heard of that were shot by a gun case? They DID recognize that it was a gun case pointed at them. I have a rifle in a gun case and it would be quite impossible for me to shoot it while it is in the case. I also have a pistol in a holster and as long as it is in the holster it will not fire. This is not suicide by cop, it is murder by panicked cops.

2nd Amendment
May 11, 2004, 10:57 AM
We could argue this till hell freezes solid but I think most might agree 9 shots at a man holding a gun case is very probably the result of poor training and self-knowledge of abysmal shooting skills. "Good" or not, it could have been handled better.

Stand_Watie
May 11, 2004, 11:00 AM
I have a rifle in a gun case and it would be quite impossible for me to shoot it while it is in the case. I also have a pistol in a holster and as long as it is in the holster it will not fire. This is not suicide by cop, it is murder by panicked cops.

My cases and holsters wouldn't prevent my weapons from firing. I wish they would, I wouldn't have to worry about putting my finger on the trigger when I practiced my "quick-draw" and torquing one off down the side of my leg
:D

CannibalCrowley
May 11, 2004, 11:21 AM
KVOA story (http://kvoa.com/Global/story.asp?S=1851480)

How can anyone call this a "good shoot"? An empty case was supposedly pointed at the officers so they killed him. Does this mean that gesturing towards an officer with anything that might contain a weapon should be followed by bullets. If somone "points" a gym bag at me, do I have the right to shoot him? The bag could contain a weapon just like the case could have.

synoptic
May 11, 2004, 11:28 AM
Crowley, when the police already think you have a weapon, you fail to do as they say, you get into the car where the supposed weapon is, and you point something at them, then ya, I'd say anyone in that situation should expect to get shot. With a canvas case he could easily have a hole for his trigger finger. The cops did their job, Hartigan is the one who screwed up.

Mikul
May 11, 2004, 11:36 AM
We were watching the local police "qualify" at our local range. The woman who just finished her first part saunters back toward us, smiles, and says "Not bad, eh?"

"You shot the ground."

"No I didn't."

"You were kicking up dirt five feet in front of you."

"No I wasn't."

"You don't have a single hole in your target."

"Sure I do, they're all in there."

:scrutiny:

Baby Huey
May 11, 2004, 11:42 AM
It's too bad that the police had to kill him. Having said that, no one can say if the officers felt in fear of their lives. Of course the case could have been modified to shoot through, and how could the officers KNOW in that time that the case was empty. It's not as if they cornered some dude at the Safeway and punched his ticket for no apparent reason. They get a call, man with a gun, order him away from the car, and he goes in the car. I don't know about you, but if I were in that situation, I might have shot before I ever saw him get the rifle case. If he is bent over inside a car, I think any reasonable person might think he was getting a gun in that situation. Would it have been better that they waited until he got a few shots off, maybe sending rounds into your house across the street? I don't know, wasn't there. It is sad, though.

notbubba
May 11, 2004, 11:55 AM
CannibalCrowley asks
"How can anyone call this a "good shoot"? "

Well,
This is what the police hear on the way there,

"Hartigan's girlfriend called 911 and told dispatchers he had a gun in his car and was threatening to shoot anyone who came near him."

The guy jumps in his car & points a soft side gun case at them!
How hard is it to cut a finger hole into a soft case?

How many time in movies have you seen the bad guy shoot someone with a covered gun?

Old Partner
May 11, 2004, 11:57 AM
Baby Huey, where in Sahuarita? I am in Rancho Sahuarita.

I am still amazed that they hit him at all given how notoriously bad they are at marksmanship.

Baby Huey
May 11, 2004, 12:00 PM
Old Partner, you and I need to become friends. I too live in Rancho, and I have too much ammo! I'll PM you.

ShaiVong
May 11, 2004, 12:08 PM
Well it was a soft case not a hard case.. Maybe it was unzipped and he stuck his hand in it, or made the motion.:confused:

txlewis
May 11, 2004, 12:21 PM
HOw about a real challenge.

A pic of all 3 (or 4) that do not need a tax stamp.

Personally grown tobacco, fermented beer, and a home made gun. (80% ar-15 finished to completion or similar.

as well as some home made tannerite.


You can do it.

TXL

Dain Bramage
May 11, 2004, 12:34 PM
While I do hold LEOs to a high standard, and can be critical of them at times, I don't see this as anything but a necessary shooting. LEO's do not come equiped with x-ray vision or mind readers to decipher intent.

Don't tell your girlfriend that you are armed and intend to shoot someone. Don't point a rifle or anything rifle-shaped at officers when they order you to stop. It seems that his recent problems contributed to his lack of common-sense, and it was probably a suicide-by-cop.

When a suicide steps in front of a moving bus or train, we always feel sorry for the burden the driver has to endure. How about a little compassion for the officers that have to deal with society's problems?

Carlos
May 11, 2004, 12:41 PM
txlewis, WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT????

OK, back to the thread:

Leatherneck says:
Good shoot. Suicide by Cop. Pity the ossifers.
TC
TFL Survivor

You’re kidding, right? It’s by no means a good shoot. I can’t even fathom how officers can fire that many rounds at such a close range and miss, except for one lucky shot.

I buy the suicide by cop angle, only. Cops should be put on permanent unpaid administrative leave.

mwithers72
May 11, 2004, 12:52 PM
If the guy stuck his hand inside the bag then I would call it a clean shoot... It the guy had a hole in the bad to put trigger finger in and also held the rifle accordingly (you would have to support the barrel in some way) then is a clean shoot.
But just holding the thing buy the straps i don’t know and I also don’t know everything. But just by reading the report it makes me wonder that if the lack of training and the knowledge of the suspect that might have a gun could have lead to a hasty decision to fire.

I cannot imagine the stress the LEOS were under but as I look through the posts here and hear from others on a daily basis is

Training, training, training

I just think that things could have turned out better.

Mike Hull
May 11, 2004, 01:00 PM
I have been at a range watching them shoot. I and others (non LEO) watching never laughed so hard in our lives. Not only couldn't they hit the X ring, most of the time they couldn't even hit the paper. Two of them even dropped their pistol drawing it from the holster. Rank and file here in Arizona have to be the worst shots on earth. One of the safest places to be when they are shooting is holding the target.


LMAO................:D It's the same up here. :uhoh:

Old Partner
May 11, 2004, 01:01 PM
There were a lot of ways that this could have been handled better, starting with just backing off and reasoning with him. Or at least trying to. But no, they were probably just doing their normal macho cop bull by yelling orders at him. The very thing you should NOT do to a disturbed individual. They undoubtedly escalated the incident to the point they did.

I think they should be tried and convicted of murder.:cuss:

yy
May 11, 2004, 01:28 PM
My $.02

why did the girlfriend call the cops? if there's a negligent murder, she'd be it in my book.

She called the cops

She reported the man with gun

Report said she "stood" with the deceased.

give what excuses she will, but she killed him.

Now I wonder if she emotionally unseated him in the first place.:cuss:

2nd Amendment
May 11, 2004, 01:33 PM
I will agree the most annoying thing in any situation is some goober screaming "orders". I don't react well to orders, especially screamed at me by someone who still has an acne problem and his shirt collar is too big for his neck... Add in an unbalanced state of mind...

Like I said, good or not it could have been handled better. MUCH better.

I'd thought of the girlfriend too. If there's a confrontation and there's a firearm and there's an unbalanced or potentially unbalanced individual in the mix will you be "standing" there with him? Is this merely poor use of language or what?

Leatherneck
May 11, 2004, 01:40 PM
You’re kidding, right? It’s by no means a good shoot. I can’t even fathom how officers can fire that many rounds at such a close range and miss, except for one lucky shot. By this I mean that, if the facts as related in the brief article are true :rolleyes: then the officers were justified in shooting at him. "Good shoot" does not mean "Way to go guys, nice accuracy."

Others: sorry, but this guy refused to obey in a tense situation and then made a credible (if uncommon) threat to the LEOs. Maybe they could have "started with just backing off and reasoning with him. Or at least trying to." But you're asking them to take a chance that this particular threat would not be the one that ended their lives. I think they assessed the (a) threatening situation, (b) unresponsive person, and (c) threat-like object turned and pointed in their direction exactly as I would have. I'm sure they had mental images of a load or two of 00 buck blasting out the end of that gun case. Right or wrong. It's second-guessing them to assume they knew at the time that there was no gun in the bag. Good shoot. Suicide by cop. :neener:

TC
TFL Survivor

odysseus
May 11, 2004, 02:27 PM
Sounds like suicide by cop, if the article is accurate.

With this type of story, I guess you always wish that perhaps an officer of more experience was there and might have handled it differently; maybe kept the bead on him from a position of protected cover and gave it more of a chance to be resolved.

But this is "armchair quarterbacking" and we will never know unless we were there with them, or a camera was there.

Treylis
May 11, 2004, 09:17 PM
Rank and file here in Arizona have to be the worst shots on earth. One of the safest places to be when they are shooting is holding the target.

You can say that again. I've watched some AZ police practice at a range... it's frightening. At least they were practicing, heh.

Standing Wolf
May 11, 2004, 11:16 PM
Tyra fired a rifle six times, and Westmoreland fired three shots from his handgun, striking Hartigan at least once. They were standing about seven to 10 feet from him when they opened fire

Only cops are qualified to have guns.

Don Gwinn
May 11, 2004, 11:28 PM
If the cops tell you to hold still, HOLD STILL!

I feel bad for the guy, but what were they supposed to do with someone who refused to stop moving, reached into a car and came out with what must just have looked to them like a bag that could contain a weapon?


What did Flint Hansen write in SWAT this month about bar fights? "Fights in parking lots are dangerous because they happen near cars, and cars often contain weapons. If there's a fight going on and you see someone run to his vehicle, he's probably not getting his favorite George Michael CD."

tcsd1236
May 12, 2004, 09:48 AM
I dont believe this, now you guys think we shouldn't be yelling commands? I can just see it now; if THAT ever became SOP, the bad guys excuse would be that the bad guy couldn't hear the officer because the officer was speaking in a conversational tone of voice.
The girlfriend said he had a weapon and was going to shoot someone. No weapon found? Too bad; he acted like he had a weapon and was about to use it.The officers went with the best information they had up to that point in time. As for the accuracy level, I wonder how many of you have fired rounds at anything that wasnt a stationary paper or steel target sitting quietly at a 90 degree angle straight on to you.

Old Partner
May 12, 2004, 10:07 AM
Yelling at an obviously disturbed person will only make them more disturbed. Just what you don't want to do. If you don't already know that then you are just as stupid as these two are. This does not take a degree in psychology to figure out. Overt confrontation always causes escalation. Whether in an ordinary argument, bar encounter or whatever. They just took the easy way out. MURDER. Backing off to a safe distance and beginning a calm negotiation just took more sense then they had. But, I have never confused JBT's with sense. One would have to be pretty ignorant to take a job where the pay/hours/working environment are all bad...

Old Partner
May 12, 2004, 12:08 PM
Fear police more than criminals
In light of the recent killing of Mr. Hartigan by sheriff's deputies, I wonder if I have more to fear from the cops than criminals. If a Tucson businessman with a clean record can be gunned down in his own driveway, shot 10 times from seven feet away, with no evidence of being armed or dangerous, then we must wonder whether we truly live in a free society. If deputies can just kill us without any consequences, then maybe it's time we seriously consider why we live in Tucson. Can you imagine that you've gone through life a good citizen, working, paying your taxes, and then one day, the deputies can come to your house and murder you because you dared to raise your voice in an argument?

The police are supposed to swear an oath to "serve and protect." But I don't feel served or protected.

Mr. Hartigan was blatantly denied his life without any reason except that our deputies are out of control. Today I wonder whether I have more to fear from a burglar or the Sheriff's Department. I'd better not make the mistake of Mr. Hartigan and carry anything that "resembles a gun." I never know when an "officer of the law" might decide I should be killed because he is afraid that pen is a weapon.

If this murder goes unpunished, I don't see any reason to remain in Tucson, because I'm not safe from the very people who are supposed to protect me.

HiWayMan
May 12, 2004, 03:07 PM
One thing stressed in my CCW class was Rule #4. "Be aware of your target and what is behind." Where the hell did the other 8 bullets go. While this may have been a good shoot, the LEO's marksmanship (if you can call it that) sucks. If you want a good laugh go to a firing range on police qual. day.

We like to outshoot the LEO's at 25yds after doing some PT to raise the heartbeat.

JohnBT
May 12, 2004, 03:54 PM
"But, I have never confused JBT's with sense."

That must be cuz you never met me. ;)

JBT

P.S. - It sounds like suicide to me. IOW, he decided to escalate the situation when outnumbered and outgunned.

What would we be saying if they backed off to negotiate and the guy opened up on them and the neighborhood?

Old Partner
May 13, 2004, 09:45 AM
JBT, he was unarmed. The cops never found a gun. I guess he could have opened up on the whole place with his empty gun case...

The cops killed a innocent man that had no way to harm them, that is called murder.

Old Partner
May 13, 2004, 10:44 AM
Department disappoints

Based on my reading of "Man shot was promoter of races" on May 9 in your newspaper (I have no other sources), I am shocked, dismayed, and very disappointed that the Sheriff's officers put themselves in a position that effectively predetermined this deadly outcome.

You report that there was no gun in the green bag, and yet the deputies killed this man. What a travesty. A man dies because of what the deputies thought and not because of what they knew to be true. I admit that I know nothing of a police officer's life, but from a citizen's point of view it looks like poor training, bad decision making, and unnecessary loss of life. I expect more from my law enforcement agency.

notbubba
May 13, 2004, 11:57 AM
I guess for now on the police should let the bad guy shoot first, that way they KNOW he has a gun and not just THINK he has a gun.:banghead:

Sindawe
May 13, 2004, 01:57 PM
Its a shame the guy shot in this case died, but sometimes that happens in the heat of the moment. For me, the crux is how would those who are NOT police officers be treated by the courts in this same kind of case? IMHO Police shootings should be looked apon and treated as any other civilian shooting case. Would you or I, in the same circumstance, with the same information as the police had, be charged and tried for the shooting.

Old Partner
May 13, 2004, 02:09 PM
SINDAWE: That is the point I have been trying to make. You know we would be in jail right now, charged with murder.

What scares me the most is that they feel perfectly OK killing someone they THINK has a gun...

I guess the only lesson that a real bad guy will learn from this is shoot first and fast because they are going to shoot you anyway.

tcsd1236
May 14, 2004, 07:05 AM
SINDAWE: That is the point I have been trying to make. You know we would be in jail right now, charged with murder.

Thats not true and you know it. The same legal standard, the Reasonable Man Doctrine, would apply to you or I in this situation. Given the information that we were advised that a man had a firearm, then he acts as if he is pointing a firearm, even though it is encassed, a REASONABLE MAN would be able to presume that there was in fact a gun present.

As far as the comment that we are supposed to wait to be shot at, I have also seen that view expressed here and elsewhere because we are public employees and we are supposed to "expect" increased danger as part of the job. What a bunch of bull, I say.

tiberius
May 14, 2004, 08:13 AM
All witness reports are biased based on perspective and if they are also a participant than it will be biased in their favor. Here the only the report is by the police and the story just barely (if at all) sounds like a clean shoot. From this little information this leads me to suspect that it was NOT a clean shoot…..just murder plain and simple….but they’ll walk of course.

killermarmot
May 14, 2004, 03:32 PM
and yet another incident of poor reporting and limited facts leading to a lenghtly discussion at the high road :D

FedDC
May 14, 2004, 08:35 PM
Well...I guess it is sort of like Forrest Gump said: Stupid is as Stupid Does;) That guy was being stupid and he died because of his stupidity...whether that was his intent or not will never be known. It does sound more and more like suicide by Cop.

Here is a tip, when you are being detained by a citizen/LEO at gunpoint, do as that person says: DO NOT make furtive movements or point any objects at the guy with the gun...

One of Many
May 15, 2004, 10:14 PM
Suppose: The man had not been threatening the girlfriend, or anyone else. The girlfriend is P.O.ed about something, and calls in a false report about Man with a Gun. The girlfriend has planted the gun case in the car. She engages the man in a conversation to keep him there until the cops arrive, then tells him something that upsets him. She says that she has planted evidence against him in his car. He doesn't understand what the cops are yelling at him. He thinks he can give them the "evidence" and explain what the girlfriend has done.

If these suppositions were true, it would be MURDER BY PROXIE (cops) that the girlfriend orchestrated, not suicide by cops.

I am not saying any of this is true. We do not know the facts, and never will. It is way too easy to jump to conclusions, based on inadequate information. Let the legal process go forward and investigate the facts without trying to lynch mob the cops involved.

pax
May 15, 2004, 10:46 PM
Moderator Note

Just a quick reminder to everyone here: we have both LEOs and non-LEOs on board at THR. Whenever there is a story like this in the paper, emotions on both sides of the blue line tend to run very high. Please, rather than risk giving insult to fellow High Roaders, take a moment to put yourself in the shoes of folks on the other side.

Think twice, post once.

Thanks.

pax
wearing the moderator hat

BluesBear
May 16, 2004, 02:56 PM
Stories like this remind me of cheap Agatha Christie wannabe mystery writers.
You know the kind who write the novels where they give you just enough "evidence" and "facts" to allow you to jump to the incorrect conclusion so then the great detective solves the case it makes you feel stupid.
Even if the news vultures had all of the facts they probably couldn't report them accurately.

Bad news sells more papers than good news.
Controversial news sells even more papers.

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