Sunday, February 19, 2006

Tragedy in Tainan

The Taipei Times reported on the tragic death of a young girl in Tainan last night,
A warning shot fired by a policeman missed a suspect and instead hit a 14-year-old girl standing 70m away in a building in Tainan City.
Maybe I'm reading this article wrong but what its saying doesn't add up.

Tainan police said that the suspect, Chen Huei-fang (林慧芳), 58, who may be suffering from mental illness, was reportedly carrying a knife and scaring passersby in the streets of Tainan City.

When Gan approached and attempted to arrest him, Chen first hid the knife behind his back and then suddenly attacked Gan with it.

Gan drew out his gun and aimed it at Chen. This did not stop Chen though, who continued to lunge like a "madman" at Gan, according to the police.

Gan fired a warning shot just a Chen knocked him over. The shot, which flew at a 60? angle into the air, missed Chen and fatally hit the girl instead, police said.

Meanwhile, Gan suffered slashes on his neck, chin and leg from Chen's attack.

The suspect stopped only when he was shot by another officer, Chuang Mu-yao (莊沐堯), the police added.

Police said that the two officers fired a total of 24 shots, with Chen being hit by eight bullets.

And farther down,
Lin's mother told police she was watching TV with her daughter at home on Friday night. At about 11pm, the two heard gunshots and her daughter stepped out into the balcony to see what was happening.

The elder Lin said she was just following her daughter to the balcony when the girl suddenly turned to her with blood gushing out of her nose and mouth. The mother immediately called the police for help.

The police say the girl was unfortunately hit by Gau's stray warning shot. Isn't the warning shot the one that is fired first to tell the bad guy that you have a gun and it's got bullets and you know where the trigger is? This is considered to be a far more humane act than just shooting someone point blank.

The suspect, Chen, had a knife, not a gun. The girl and her mother heard two shots fired and the girl goes out on the balcony to see what's going on, and gets hit by what would be the third, not first, out of twenty four bullets fired, eight of which ended up in crazy Mr Chen. If there was a warning shot, it was likely what drew her out onto the balcony in the first place. Doesn't it seem more plausible that she was hit by one of the 23 other shots that was fired?

Why did it take twenty four shots to take down a knife wielding old man? Why do the Taiwanese police feel the need to completely unload their weapons into suspects. It's like they feel that the magazine is a single serving.

A year and a half ago in Taichung a kidnapper went down in what the Taipei Times called a 'hail of bullets',

The police tried to arrest them, but the suspects fled into an apartment and opened fire. At least 50 shots were exchanged, police said.

After Shih shot Lin, the SWAT team and other officers opened fire at Shih. Doctors said Shih was hit by at least 28 shots and was dead at the scene.

Was this tragedy in Tainan a humane warning shot gone astray, or was it a 'hail of bullets' that shouldn't have been fired.

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