Sheriff: California transit officer shot to death by colleague was wearing a bulletproof vest
The San Francisco Bay Area transit officer who was accidentally killed by a fellow officer while they searched an apartment was wearing a bulletproof vest when he suffered a single gunshot wound to the chest, an official said.The vest wasn't bulletproof, was it now? Now, yes, I understand that "bulletproof vest" is a term much like "waterproof watch", where everyone knows that the item is really ____ resistant, but still, to put it in a headline is rather silly, no? And it gets worse later in the article, where a former San Fran police captain says it's not uncommon for officers to be killed while wearing the vests. Now, yes, it's semantics, but still...
The bullet struck an area of BART Police Sgt. Tom Smith's body that was not covered by the vest, Alameda County sheriff's spokesman Sgt. J.D. Nelson said Thursday.
They don't know/aren't saying if the officer that did the shooting had a negligent discharge or improperly identified his target. Neither case is acceptable, period. Look, I know they were going after a potential armed criminal, but that's no excuse for poor trigger discipline or target acquisition. We've given police officers a lot of leeway and a lot of tools for mitigating exactly these kinds of situations, so it's far more heartbreaking to see it still happening.
Either the cop that pulled the trigger was running around in a high-stress environment with his booger hook on the bang switch and tripped, or he improperly identified his target before blasting away (or simply didn't ID the target). Neither possibility exactly covers the officer in glory. Either he's too quick on the trigger or butterfingers, and no matter which is the case, he killed a fellow officer. He'll have to live with that the rest of his life.
It's a terrible scene all around, but perhaps it can be used to train other officers so it becomes less common...
That is all.