Police officers are trained to protect the general public – but sometimes that means shooting one of them to do so.

Photo courtesy Thinkstock

Photo courtesy Thinkstock

And sometimes folks get shot on accident, like a 7-year-old girl who was killed by a police bullet May 16 in Detroit.

The girl, Aiyana Jones, was hit in the neck while sleeping on the couch when police raided her family’s apartment.

Cops were looking for a murder suspect that was supposedly in the apartment. So they set of a flash grenade in the targeted apartment and entered the home.

“The lead officer encountered a 46-year-old woman immediately inside the front room of the house and ‘some level of physical contact’ ensued during which the officer’s gun went off,” according Detroit Assistant Chief Ralph Godbee in an Associated Press report. “‘The officers had identified themselves as police,’ (Godbee) said.”

Thankfully, a few of the most recent officer-involved shootings in Tucson seem warranted, rather than accidental.

Like the 42-year-old woman who was apparently trying to stab another woman in the middle of Tucson in broad daylight May 21.

The 42-year-old was “armed with a large knife and acting erratically” in the 800 block of East Seventh Street, according to a news release from the Tucson Police Department.

Someone flagged down a University of Arizona police officer that was patrolling the area. The officer, 8-year UAPD veteran Corporal Andrew Kisela, “addressed the woman” but she reportedly decided to ignore his address and kept moving towards another woman.

Kisela then yelled at the knife-wielding woman to drop the knife, another suggestion she apparently ignored. So he shot her several times.

Her injuries were not life-threatening and she was taken to a local hospital.

As is the case with any officer-involved shooting, an administration investigation goes down and the information gets passed to the Pima County Attorney’s Office.

Tucson police were part of two officer-involved shootings last summer, both of which involved suspects shooting at officers and both of which resulted in the suspect’s death.

Dorian Bryan, 62, was shot and killed Aug. 11 after police found him in his front yard with a handgun threatening to kill himself and others.

Bryan ran in the house, where he remained for seven and one-half hours during negotiations that included “a wide range of tactics to resolve the standoff,” a news release said.

Bryan came back outside, still armed, refused to drop his weapon and then shot at police.

They fired back, killing him.

Paul J. Hoppler, 28, was shot to death by an off-duty Tucson police officer June 24.

Two off-duty police officers ended up at the scene of what they thought was an accident on the side of southbound Interstate 10 frontage road at Miracle Mile.

They found Hoppler and three others, supposedly stranded. Once the foursome started acting suspicious, as if they were going to steal one of the officer’s personal cars, one cop tried to radio for help. Hoppler bashed the radio out of the officer’s hand then held a gun on him.

Goodbye, Hoppler.

These Tucson cases seem pretty clear that the officers needed to protect themselves or someone else.

We also want to think the death of Aiyana Jones in Detroit was truly a misfire and not a random trigger-happy cop.

It is a point of pride for some officers to never fire their guns in the line of duty.

Police officers are trained to protect, not destroy – at least that’s what we want to believe.


What do you think?

Did you or do you ever fear being shot by cops? When and where?

Do you recall cases where officer-involved shootings did not seem warranted?

Do you generally trust police?