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Bystanders wounded by rookie police officers’ crossfire

August 25, 2012

Officials collect evidence near the Empire State Building following a shooting, Friday, Aug. 24, 2012, in New York. — Photo by AP
Officials collect evidence near the Empire State Building following a shooting, Friday, Aug. 24, 2012, in New York. — Photo by AP

NEW YORK: Police authorities have confirmed that all nine bystanders caught in the crossfire of a shooting outside New York City’s iconic Empire State Building were wounded by two police officers who had never fired their weapons on duty.

Officer Craig Matthews fired seven times and Officer Robert Sinishtaj fired nine times at Jeffrey Johnson on a busy Friday morning after Johnson shot a former co-worker to death and then pointed his pistol at them.

Police had said nine bystanders likely were wounded by stray or ricocheting police bullets, and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly confirmed that Saturday.

He says that based on ballistic tests and other evidence, “it appears that all nine of the victims were struck either by fragments or by bullets fired by police.'”