TheBlaze posted a story earlier this week about a North Carolina police officer who shot a 70-year-old man at a traffic stop because he thought the driver was pulling a gun from his vehicle.

Image source: Police dashcam video via Live Leak

Image source: Police dashcam video via Live Leak

The man had pulled out his cane; the officer broke down in tears after the incident.

Here’s what some readers of TheBlaze had to say:

Normanator01

A tragic accident…Normally I side with the victim in cases like this. I see 2 of them here, obviously the man that got shot is the bigger victim. The officer did not try to avoid his guilt. His remorse was sincere. He will have nightmares about the incident for the rest of his life

xduper

I do feel bad for this cop, and I’m sure he’s going to regret this for the rest of his life. I just wish cops would at least wait until being fired on before they return fire. It seems like our soldiers have tougher rules of engagement than cops. That is one of the risks of being a cop. If you don’t want to risk getting shot at before you kill someone, don’t be a cop. It just kills me when I hear stories about kids who point a BB gun at a cop and then get shot. Take a bullet if you have to to save a kid’s life for God’s sake. You’ve got the body armor and the training to stay behind cover.

hhiway280z

He had no choice. He thought he pulled out a shotgun and if you thought some one pulled a shotgun out, you would do the same thing unless you’re stupid. The officer felt terrible when he realized what the man had. Police don’t enjoy shooting people, but they do want to go home to their families, and if they think their lives are in danger they do what they have to do. Fortunately the man was not killed.

Tbart

This cop failed to pay attention and properly do his job. There was no “drop the gun drop the gun” until he realized he had just shot an old man with a cane. He was distracted, talking on the radio about “at the apt no the trailer park” with the dispatch. This cop should not have a gun or a job in law enforcement.

ashopson

I believe the officer truly feels guilty for shooting this old man but he as well as the rest of the police need some remedial training. It’s clear it was an old man, though you can’t tell from the video that the cane is obviously NOT a shotgun. This cop simply was too quick on the draw. He never gave the old man time to respond before he started shooting. If you cannot handle the stress of being out there, then you should find a different line of work.

KennyDee

Hate that the guy got shot, but…in regard to the driver’s expired tags, in my state you get your notice and bill for registration a couple months before expiration. When you pay, your registration comes within days.

Also, at 70, he is old enough to know to stay in the vehicle when pulled over unless an officer tells you to get out. Seems like he was not on the upper end of attention span.

I’m not a cop lover or hater. I think cops are flawed like all humans, but pay attention to the legal status of your vehicle and keep in mind that a cop risks getting killed every time he/she engages the public.

I feel for both of them. I don’t want to be shot, nor shoot an innocent man.

WorriedNVMom

There are cops out there that are trigger happy and also power hungry. But this story is different. This is tragic — but people know you don’t open the door and get out of the car when police pull you over. It was dark and I could see how the cop would think it could be a rifle. But the bottom line is that this police officer asked God to forgive him…he knew he messed up. So why can’t we forgive him? The man who was shot is going to be okay…so before you judge this officer, look into your own heart.

Zeadman

Um… it was not a mistake. It is what he was trained to do. The cop did everything right; the old man sadly made the mistake of getting out of his car. It was an unfortunate situation and my heartfelt condolences go to the old man and his family, but the cop was NOT at fault.

steadyon

Back in the day you did get out of your car and meet the policeman if you were stopped for a traffic violation. When I was young, I would walk up to the window of the police car and ask what I had done wrong. It’s been 40 some odd years since I was last stopped by a cop. I didn’t know that nowadays getting out of your car could get you killed. “Stay in the car and put your hands on the wheel”? Assume that everyone you stop is going to try to kill you? Bottom line – People who are scared to death on the job should not be cops! This ain’t Afghanistan.

MT-Eman

Clearly the elderly man reached into the truck & pulled out a cane; you could even see him limp a bit. He pointed the cane and leaned on it. You don’t do that with a shotgun. I agree completely that the driver should have stayed in his vehicle, but come on, he’s elderly and had trouble walking and he made the mistake of trusting that the police wouldn’t just shoot him like that.

That cop was clearly trigger happy and never gave the victim a chance. He was giving warnings to stop while he was shooting! You don’t shoot first and then ask questions. The cop should have confirmed what he was shooting at. The cop was probably firing from behind his car door.

This cop should be fired and at least charged with reckless endangerment and assault with a deadly weapon. I’m sure he wishes he could take back what he did, but he can’t.

Too many cops these days let their power go to their heads and/or have bad judgment. He obviously was not trained in a “Hogan Alley” scenario like many cops are. If he had been, this probably would have been avoided. Target recognition is vital before you shoot.

Cops need to be held accountable and responsible for their actions, just like the average citizen is.

deerjerkydave

I think traffic stops should be abolished except in clear cases of drunk driving or recklessness. Tickets for expired tags or speeding do little for public safety.

Gini61

People with common sense don’t get out of their vehicles when they are stopped by the police. You lower your window and keep your hands on the steering wheel once you see them approach the vehicle. The old man was in the wrong. Officers have no idea what someone is going to do, and they have a right to defend their lives. That old man could have had a firearm and killed the officer — then what? Would you be sympathetic to the officer? I doubt it. You have no idea about the low-life dregs of society they have to deal with every day. People you wouldn’t want to be anywhere near. I know an old man who doesn’t give a rats butt about anybody else and drives around drunk all the time. He carries a shotgun in his truck. He was drunk and got stopped for swerving and he took off and nearly hit the officer. When he was stopped they had to taze him because he was belligerent and wouldn’t listen to the officers — and even after his court date and fine, he still drives around drunk. You can be stupid at any age and just because he’s 70 doesn’t give him a pass. And I can say that because I am old — I’m 64. The officer was devastated. Do you really think most cops want to shoot or kill people? You people are the first ones to throw blame and the last ones to praise officers when they do a good job.

slyfist

This does sound like one of those times when the police did not overreact. I imagine, it being night, cars driving by, bright lights, and noise…and then most drivers do not get out of their vehicles unless asked to. So they are both at fault here and what seems to be an unfortunate accident.

njpray

Several things are wrong with this. Police should be trained if they stop elderly people; they often don’t hear well, they are of a different generation, and they use canes to help themselves walk. My husband who was a cop for 17 years said you need to be aware of who you stop as well as what is happening…and part of the job is knowing that if a person intends to shoot you, that person behaves in certain ways. This cop was way too fast on the trigger…and apparently not too keen on eyesight. Perhaps the public needs training, but so do the police, especially when they stop elderly individuals — which they can determine if they run plates and use their eyes!

Astalavistababy

They didn’t tell you the deputy was only 24 years old. How experienced could he be? I couldn’t count the shots he fired, but it sounded like he emptied his weapon and only hit Canipe once. Where did the other shots go? He’s lucky he didn’t shoot the old lady in the back of the head or someone in the traffic lanes. Deputy Knox needs more training. Canipe lived, but he should not have gotten out of his truck. He probably thought he could talk his way out of ticket if the officer saw him with a cane. Knox needs to find another line of work.

ldaopines

I feel terribly sorry for both. The officer was obviously devastated too, and I don’t think his actions seemed unreasonable. The thing is, there are going to be more elderly on the road in the future, and some don’t hear warning shouts as well, and some have canes. Seniors may not know to stay in their cars as officers direct them, and they may not understand all that is said if they are non-English speaking immigrants. We are becoming more diverse and not everyone is the same. I don’t know how police will be able to deal with this as well as criminals who shoot at them. It will be hard.

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