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What’s Wrong With This Picture?

From an AP story on the shooting of four SWAT officers:

A gunman opened fire early Thursday on a SWAT team that burst into a home during a drug and gun raid, wounding four officers while spraying bullets from atop a staircase, authorities said. One officer was critically wounded.

Contrasted with:

He was charged with four counts of attempted murder, as well illegal weapons possession and receiving stolen property. The .357 Magnum used to shoot the officers was reported stolen from South Carolina, Ford said.

Now, I suppose it’s possible they got .357 Magnum confused with .357 SIG, but one wonders how a six shot revolver sprays bullets. I think getting it right is important here, because by reporting it incorrectly, the AP fails to convey just how dangerous this individual was. The story makes it seem like he was just shooting wildly and got lucky.

He shot four police officers, in full body armor, with guns drawn and ready, at night, with a six shot revolver.  He seriously wounded one with a head shot, wounded another in the foot, and landed two chest shots which were stopped by the officers’ body armor. That, folks, is a dangerous individual who has some serious gunfighting skills. Given the kind of crap he was involved in, the officers involved deserve a lot of praise for getting this guy off the streets. He didn’t just land lucky shots spraying wildly. If this guy had confronted non-SWAT officers, he probably would have killed somebody.  The most seriously wounded officer, the one shot in the head, seems to be doing fine, and is expected to recover, though he may lose an eye due to the path of the bullet.

29 Responses to “What’s Wrong With This Picture?”

  1. Justin Buist says:

    Could have been a Desert Eagle in .357 Magnum, couldn’t it?

  2. Turk Turon says:

    I hope all of the officers make swift and full recoveries. And it looks like they took a real bad guy off the streets. With three police agencies involved, chances are that this is a righteous bust. And those officers are brave men and women. Good work!

    We’ve become accustomed to hearing about these shoot-outs while executing “no-knock” warrants, then a few days later all charges are dropped and a lawyer appears who claims to represent the “bad guy.” Turns out it wasn’t my client who was the bad guy, the lawyer says, it was a guy with the same name who lives across town; my client was just defending himself. Remember that little old lady in Georgia? The local PD had a low-level dealer in custody who was angling for a plea-bargain, so he gave the cops a fictitious address for a drug house. The cops used his affidavit to get a search warrant (with no other corroboration) and smashed in the front door in the middle of the night. Little old lady in her nightgown fired a .22 and hit one of the officers, officers returned fire and cut her down. I hope this one doesn’t turn out like that.

  3. SayUncle says:

    All guns spray bullets. I think it’s even in the AP style book.

    • Bitter says:

      You know, that’s what frustrates me. The AP Stylebook is largely right on gun facts. If journalists would just open the damn thing, things would much less frustrating.

  4. Jeff says:

    It sounds like the guy was a bona fide Bad Guy, which a jury can decide at some point.
    But “attempted murder” charges? Wouldn’t anybody start shooting if their house were suddenly raided? That kind of annoys me.

  5. tjbbpgobIII says:

    It looks all the world like the book “Untended Consequences” again. S.W.A.T.’s believing in their invincibility and meeting up with a genuine shooter. I hope all the officers injured will be well soonest and that they just didn’t raid the wrong house.

  6. NJSoldier says:

    Who knows from this story? If cops, or anyone else broke down my door at 2 am unannounced, they would be shot. Period.

    If this is a screw up, the Jersey police will make up stuff about “illegal guns” being “stockpiled.”

  7. tjbbpgobIII says:

    I meant to also reference “Absolved”.

  8. Joe Huffman says:

    I would like to know how many shots and hits the cop achieved in this little adventure.

    Four hits with six shots on people shooting back is a better hit ratio than nearly any shooting by cops.

    My guess is the target of the raid ended up with a better “score” than the cops did.

  9. Crotalus says:

    And how do we know that the shooter is a bad guy? By the press release? I trust the MSM less and less.

  10. Sebastian says:

    Most good guys don’t use stolen guns.

  11. Sebastian says:

    According to the Asbury Park Press, which is hardly a liberal rag:

    Court records show that Gonzalez was charged in Ocean County on April 18, 1990 with sexual assault on a victim between the ages of 13 and 16 years old, when he was at least four years older than the victim.

    They also claim a record in Tom’s River, NJ. Maybe not a serial killer, but the picture here doesn’t look like a guy who’s an angel.

  12. Jeff says:

    That’s awful if he did it.

    Was he charged, though, or convicted? Many people get charged with stuff and are later acquitted, although of course their reputations are smeared forever.

    Maybe he bought the gun from a friend or gun show and didn’t know it was stolen.

    Likely, he’s a scum bag, but we don’t do one another any favors by always assuming the guy is guilty.

  13. I think the linked article indicates that other than the sexual assault charge, he has no record:

    There are no other records on him in the Superior Court’s computer system in Toms River.

    To Jeff’s question:

    …….Gonzalez, then 20, was accepted into the court’s pretrial intervention program, in which charges against criminal defendants are dismissed if they comply with the program’s requirements and remain out of trouble. Court records indicate that Gonzalez successfully completed the program and that Superior Court Judge Peter J. Giovine, now retired, dismissed the criminal charge on the motion of the prosecutor on May 21, 1991.

    So the charges were dismissed ….. which I guess means his record is clean.

    WRT ‘good guys don’t use stolen guns’, I would say it this way – good guys don’t knowingly use stolen guns.

    I’d also like to know what database the ATF keeps for stolen weapons besides those stolen from FFL’s; also, what length of time between the theft and this incident – it makes a difference (or it would to this juror).

    I’m with NJSoldier – if you break into my home, you’ll be shot.

  14. Mike Gordon says:

    The entire logic of “No Knock” Raids makes no sense. I presume the rational for this type of raid is that the suspects will be be taken by surprise and therefore there will be less chance for violence. However this raid proves otherwise. TAdd to that the danger of when the “No Knock” raid arrives at the wrong address and an armed citizen and violence always ensues.

    The NJ Attorney General is always issuing some dictate for NJ’s cops, how about one say no more “No knock” raids.

  15. 3legdog says:

    Lesson learned: use at least .308 when *your* door gets smashed in.

  16. Joe Huffman says:

    Mike Gordon,

    The rational is a little different, “It is issued under the belief that any evidence they hope to find can be destroyed during the time that police identify themselves and the time they secure the area.”

    The classic example is drugs that can be flushed down the toilet in a few seconds.

  17. Matthew Carberry says:

    The “drugs could be flushed” argument fails under some basic common sense considerations.

    You can arrest away from home, and therefore away from defensive fortifications and weapons stashes but without risk of wrong address or innocents in the crossfire and then search residence under same warrant justification at leisure.

    Apparent “traffic stop” would get the suspect out of vehicle, away from weapons and incapable of sending a “dump evidence” message easily enough. Worst case, the drugs are gone, boo-freaking-hoo, get ’em next time.

    But g-d forbid we not get to stack up at 2 am with our new AR’s and balaclavas and use the ram…

  18. 4332 says:

    If all the drugs in the house can be flushed down the toilet, why are they raiding the house in the first place?

    Right now, I’m Gonzales’ side. The gun was reported stolen, sure, but there’s about a million ways he could have come by it without knowing it was stolen. No drug charges announced, at least not that I have seen.

  19. Sebastian says:

    but there’s about a million ways he could have come by it without knowing it was stolen

    Very unlikely in New Jersey.

  20. Ben says:

    With the avenues to legally own a gun to protect yourself so restricted NJ some people may feel they have to get it illegally that does not necessarily made you a bad guy.

  21. NJSoldier says:

    Matthew Carberry – Yep. Good description of how this guy and David Koresh should have been arrested. Why are some police forces so gung-ho about using SWAT where well thought out technique would suffice?

    4332 – Agree there too. If that was really a worry, just shut off their water main before knocking.

  22. I’m also troubled by a couple of things …….

    Did the police actually find anything illegal that was related to their search warrant, and the vagueness of one of the other charges:

    possession of a .357 caliber Magnum handgun for unlawful purposes

    What was the unlawful purpose? Defending against police officers who may or may not have looked like armed robbers?

  23. elmo iscariot says:

    Bitter Said,
    “You know, that’s what frustrates me. The AP Stylebook is largely right on gun facts…”

    Really? I don’t have a copy myself (and wouldn’t know where in its 450 pages to look…), and would be fascinated to know what kind of detail they go into. It could be very helpful in interpreting media firearms reporting to have some perspective on what their own “industry standard” is.

    Could make a fascinating post. [nudge-nudge] ;)

    • Bitter says:

      Elmo, it’s been blogged before over the years. I don’t feel like searching for them now, but it’s popped up periodically. Maybe sometime if there’s absolutely nothing else going on, I’ll dig up the old posts and compare with the latest edition to see if anything has changed.

  24. elmo iscariot says:

    And I’ll second the observation that it would be very difficult to legally and unknowingly take posession of a stolen handgun here in NJ. Private transactions require advance permission and subsequent reporting to the police. Just about the only two ways are to make a private purchase in a free state before moving to Jersey (NJ requires permits to obtain, but not to posess), or to inherit it from a deceased family member (the lone exception to the permit-to-obtain requirement, AFAIK).

    I wouldn’t say breaking NJ’s gun laws automatically makes a person a “bad guy” in my mind, but it certainly makes him a criminal in the eyes of the law.

  25. elmo iscariot says:

    For anybody else interested, the AP Stylebook for firearms is extensively quoted in the comments here:
    http://chatterbyrondavis.blogspot.com/2007/04/gun-ignorance.html

    It’s generally okay, despite a few conspicuous errors (for example, the eeevil feature that makes an “assault weapon” is threads for mounting a silencer, not the silencer itself).

  26. Ian Argent says:

    There is no way to legally acquire unpapered firearms by an NJ resident, handgun or longarm. Handgun requires prior permission, longarm requires filing paper with the state at time of purchase (and showing a valid purchaers card). Oddly enough, private sales within those bounds are allowed – you don’t need an FFL.

  27. subby says:

    No doubt, if the guy had a gun he’s definitely in the wrong.

    SWAT breaking and entering peoples houses with guns and armour are looking either for a surrender or a dead guy riddled with bullets. They’re lucky he didn’t have an AK.

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