It is tough to get shot by cops – unless you are in Detroit or wielding a large knife in Tucson

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?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at
This entry was posted in Crime, danger, death, life, Police/fire/law and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to It is tough to get shot by cops – unless you are in Detroit or wielding a large knife in Tucson

  1. andrew says:

    Every time I get pulled over both arms go out the window until he comes around asking for my papers. I was harrassed as a teen by the same cops over and over and if they get behind me in traffic today, I break out in a sweat. Makes me want to live far away from the city. But then out here, it’s the Sheriff. vents block itc

    • Rynski says:

      hi vents block,
      sorry to hear of your teen harassment woes – what a pain in the behind! also hate to hear the fear still lingers. i, too, used to get all panicked and shaky when i saw cops – also leftover from past contacts.
      i think some of us are just cop/sheriff magnets.
      i’ve since gotten over the nerves – and have had many fewer encounters.  maybe they still know you get nervous and can smell it and feel compelled to go check it out?
      drive safe!

  2. azmouse says:

    Like in all groups of people, there are a few bad eggs. Overall I support our police and think they’re doing their jobs.

    • azmouse says:

      Sorry to go off topic…

      Just want to point out today is ‘National Missing Children’s Day’.
      About 2,200 children in the United States go missing every day.

      Here is hoping they are found and returned to their families.

      • azmouse says:

        Soory Ryn…just now saw where you wrote about the missing children already. Sorry but thanks! DOH!

      • Rynski says:

        hhaha! it’s OK – for anyone else who wants to read about tucson event for missing children – it’s at tucson mall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. TODAY may 25 and mentioned in the hot of the press release section: CLICK HERE

    • Rynski says:

      i agree police are doing their jobs -at least with tucson officers….i’ve lived in other cities where i sometimes wondered…….

  3. Ferraribubba says:

    The vast majority of cops that I knew operated by the old rule that if you were civil and showed respect to them, they would do the same back to you.
    But, on the other hand, if you were a smart azz, or God help you, were one of these ‘Question Authority’ people, you’d better watch out.
    Remember . . . I had probable cause to stop you, and you’d better answer my questions without trying to jack me around, because I have a sworn duty to keep the streets safe and this is part of my job, and I don’t need any static or BS, just co-operation and we’ll both be on our way ASAP.
    Oh, and Rynski, that was a felony no-knock warrant in Detroit. The grandmother tried to take the pistol away from the officer and she caused it to accidently discharge, striking her grandaughter, who was sitting on the couch.
    Question: Which would you rather have in your hand if you were serving a felony no-knock warrant on a murder suspect?
    1. A bouquet of roses?
    2. A 9mm Glock pistol?
    Yer pal, Ferrari Bubba

    • Rynski says:

      hiya ferraribubba,
      i’d go with the glock…not putting blame on the cops with that one – but i also hate that an innocent kid had to get shot. thanks for add’l info.
      as for the ‘question authority’ people – i hear ya! i’ve heard several stories where people who were pulled over for something simple piped up with their POV – usually an angry and rebellious POV – and ended up in handcuffs.
      cool to hear majority of officers you worked with were fine officers.

    • homers says:

      What’s this “you better answer my questions” stuff?
      Do you know any defense attorney who won’t advise you to say NOTHING?
      ANYTHING you say CAN and WILL be used against you.

  4. Jim Kelley says:

    Police officers have drawn their weapons on me on a couple of occasions. i was never offended due to the nature of the events that were surrounding the situation. I remained calm kept my hands visible, answered their questions and consented to their search.
    1. I did not want shot
    2.I was not the threat and wanted them to know that for themselves.
    Perpetrators lie (imagine that), Drunk and stoned perpetrators do really stupid things, like think they are some lone warrior in a video game and try to hurt Police Officers. One of the biggest problems today is “sucide by cop”. People in great mental distress can’t kill themselves so they enlist Police Officers to do it for them by acting stupidly aggressive towards others in the hope they are killed thus relieveing them of the responsibility of their own death. Police Officers are avery special group of people, thye make decisions every day the average person may never make in their lifetime. The bar is hgih for them and they accept that. Sometimes they fail. But they fail less as a group than most any other profession including Doctors. So give them the benefit of the doubt. I have met only a handful that probably should not have a badge to backup their gun. The rest are some of the finest humna beings you can possibly encounter in a day.

    • Rynski says:

      thanks for input, jim.
      i agree that it’s a tough job with high standards – and folks who many times meet those standards.
      …and good for you on keeping your cool when it was needed A LOT! the ‘suicide by cop’ thing is awful…but apparent in some cases.

  5. ajinaz says:

    I think pulling a few cases and making an argument is problematic. If bad things happen to you when you know your rights and stand up for them or If you don’t know your rights then you should. If you know your rights and still consent to search, questions without probable cause then everyone suffers sooner or later. Other than that its difficult to generalize about the state of affairs. Of course a botched type raid on your home your attorney argues your rights posthumous in many cases.

    Documenting and reviewing all the cases is what is needed. These links aren’t comprehensive by any means but you begin to see patterns of so called unintended consequences regarding our national and local policies.  
    Google: 2009 NPMSRP Reporting Maps
    Google: CATO Botched Paramilitary Police Raids

    Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    • Rynski says:

      hi ajinaz,
      good points on standing up for your rights – and knowing them.
      this article was written more to elicit discussion than to make a far-reaching and analytical argument. agreed that a MUCH more in-depth look at situations would be needed for that.
      thanks for the links – and the awesome franklin quote – very funny!

  6. radmax says:

    Hi Rynski! A deranged non responsive woman with a large knife. eek! 🙂
    My question is; if you are shot ‘several’ times, how the heck can you have non life-threatening injuries? Either this cop was the reincarnation of Annie Oakley or he was shooting BB’s at her. 😉
    My dad was a TPD cop and he only fired his gun twice in 24 years, both lethal.
    He also advised me that if you are going to shoot, make damn sure the shot counts, you may not have another chance.

    • Rynski says:

      heya radmax!
      agreed – deranged, non-responsive woman with large knife does, indeed, merit an EEK. haha.
      i was thinking of WHERE she was shot several times, perhaps, could have led to the non-life-threatening nature of it all – maybe she was hit in the toe and pinkie?
      that’s a heck of a record for your dad – only two shots in 24 years. also good advice on making the shot count. his record shows he lived by that advice.

    • Jim Kelley says:

      We used to have a saying, I’m sure many still adhere to, It is better to be judged by twelve than carried by six.

  7. TopSarge says:

    Talk about stretching to find an anti-law enforcement story. And damned late at that. Can’t you do any better than this. Spend your energy investigating how Tucson has no unbiased TV or newspapers…how about the enormous hole our chickensh*t mayor and city council acquiescing to liberal extortion…see, there are real stories out there, not some distorted misinformation wanting to elicit sympathy for yet another criminal.

    • Rynski says:

      anti-law enforcement? sympathy for criminals?
      wow – you would be good at poetry analysis and literary deconstructionism if you can read all that into the post. have you dabbled with any metaphysical poets yet? i’d highly recommend john donne for such analysis.

  8. Ellis says:

    This is the most idiotic article ive ever read possibly.
    The police are the  rich mans army and exist only to protect property.
    They are an absolute scourge. For you to defend them, quote only their side of the story and make a ramboesque quote up for one of their murders (goodybye hoppler) is to dance on the graves of the citizens and especially child who these pigs murdered.
    It will be a good day when the police once again fear the citizens instead of vice versa.
    Until then we must know our rights.
    Self defense is a must.

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