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New York police officers opened fire near Times Square on Saturday night, but instead of hitting their target, they shot two bystanders.
NBC reports that Glenn Broadnax was walking around the intersection of W. 42nd St. and Eighth Ave. in Manhattan around 10 p.m., and, according to police and witnesses, the 35-year-old was trying to get hit by a car.
One witness, John Gilliland, recalled the scene and said, "He threw himself in front of a car, in front of the wheels. I thought this car was going to run him over."
When police attempted to approach Broadnax, he put his hands in his pockets to fetch a weapon and proceeded to pretend to shoot a gun at the officers. Police opened fire, shooting three shots total, but missed Broadnax. Instead, a 54-year-old woman was shot in the right knee and a 35-year-old woman took a bullet to the buttocks.
Police were able to take Broadnax down with a Taser, and after searching him, did not find any weapons – only cocaine. Broadnax was then arrested and charged with menacing, obstructing governmental administration, riot, criminal possession of controlled substance, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. The man had been arrested at least 23 times before, and when questioned, Broadnax told detectives that he was high at the time of the incident.
Both women escaped without life-threatening injuries.
According to the Daily News, NYPD teaches officers that they are only to open fire as a last resort, and they need to make sure not to put the innocent public in danger, no matter what. Delores Jones-Brown, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said of the incident, “It seems that the NYPD may not be getting across to recruits that they cannot, in an effort to save themselves, just open fire and be as dangerous to the public as to the perpetrator.”
Eugene O’Donnell, another John Jay College of Criminal Justice professor and a former police officer, assured the public that this is a pressing matter for the NYPD. “The location makes it a worldwide story. Rightly or wrongly, this will get to the top of the agenda of the department.”
Investigations continue as police try to figure out exactly what happened on scene with the two officers who opened fire.