Saturday, April 28, 2007

Trooper Binkerhoff Killed By Fellow Officer(s)

The state police's attempt to bring in Travis Trim did go horribly wrong; four troopers went into the home where Trim was hiding out, but only two walked out. Trim shot Trooper Brinkerhoff once, with a shot that was intercepted by his bulletproof vest. However, when Brinkerhoff went down to his knees, the fusillage released by his fellow troopers struck him in the back of the head, probably killing him instantly. I don't use the phrase "friendly fire" because I feel it trivializes the act of shooting, just as using the phrase "domestic violence" makes the violence seem less violent.

The state police then tried to wait Trim out. In retrospect, it would have been better to wait Trim out originally once he was located in the home, especially since he had already shot a trooper once with little provocation.

It's still a tragedy all around, and Trim is as responsible for the trooper's death under the felony murder rule as though he had pulled the trigger. None of this would have happened if he had not shot the trooper the day before. However, one hopes the New York State Police will look carefully at their procedures in such situations. Hostage negotiating should be the first option, not the last.

Kingston Daily Freeman: Remembering David Brinkerhoff: 'He was a real special individual'

Albany Times-Union: Killed in the crossfire
State Police fired nearly 70 times in shootout with fugitive, and one of those rounds hit trooper

NYTimes: Comrade’s Shot Killed New York State Trooper

NYTimes: A Fatal Wound From a Colleague’s Weapon Is Rare, but Always a Risk

Newsday (AP): Officials: NY trooper probably killed by friendly fire

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