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Update: Gloucester Township Police Station Shooting

More details on how it happened.

by
Howard Nemerov

Bio

December 29, 2012 - 4:02 am

How does a suspect obtain a gun after entering a police station in handcuffs? A tragedy of errors, perhaps. From ABC:

The man who “unleashed a barrage of gunfire” on three police officers this morning in New Jersey was an employee of the New Jersey Department of Corrections who had been arrested for allegedly stalking his ex-girlfriend’s home.

The suspect was arrested for stalking his ex-girlfriend and was taken to the police station for processing. At one point, he was left alone with the female officer on a room, and his handcuffs removed. (During fingerprinting? The police electronic fingerprinting system is like a large scanner/copier. Being a sensitive part of the booking procedure, this machine is often given its own room. In order to obtain a professional license, I’ve been through this.)

The local Gloucester Township Patch reported that the shooting occurred over four hours after the suspect was taken into custody. The suspect tackled Ruth Burns and grabbed her gun, after she removed his handcuffs. From ABC:

When the officer, identified as Ruth Burns, called for help, Sgt. James Garber and Sgt. Kevin Thyne, who were right outside the room, rushed in to help.

Burns was shot in the foot. Thyne suffered a laceration to his abdomen after a .40 caliber bullet ricocheted off his duty belt, and a gazing wound to his chin. Garber was shot in the chest (stopped by duty vest), and also in the abdomen below his vest. He’s in stable condition after surgery.

From the Patch:

The police chief noted the ongoing investigation will include a review to determine whether Burns should have been armed at the time she removed the handcuffs from Jones and was attacked.

Should a female officer with perhaps one year on the job be left alone with a man possessing potentially violent tendencies towards women?

Former civilian disarmament supporter and medical researcher Howard Nemerov investigates the civil liberty of self-defense and examines the issue of gun control, resulting in his book Four Hundred Years of Gun Control: Why Isn’t It Working? He appears frequently on NRA News as their “unofficial” analyst and was published in the Texas Review of Law and Politics with David Kopel and Carlisle Moody.
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