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Long Island police commissioner defends officer's use of SUV to neutralize gun-toting woman who threatened to shoot herself and others
Image composite: Twitter video, @CitizenFreePress - Screenshot

Long Island police commissioner defends officer's use of SUV to neutralize gun-toting woman who threatened to shoot herself and others

Police put the pedal to the metal and a threatening woman to the ground Tuesday after the armed 33-year-old took aim at herself and others in a crowded intersection in Nassau County, New York.

While critics claim the use of an SUV to neutralize the apparent public menace was improper, Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder has praised his officers for a job well done.

Footage of the incident taken by the owner of a nearby BP gas station, Hamza Amir, shows a woman at the intersection of North Jerusalem and Bellmore Avenues just after 2:00 p.m. stride into the street with a semi-automatic pistol at the ready.

As she makes her way deeper into the intersection, the woman, whom authorities have yet to name, can be seen walking backward and taking aim at onlookers.

Amir told Newsday that the woman "had a gun in her hand, she was pointing at people. ... [S]he pointed the gun at me."

The woman can be seen in the video alternating between possible targets, then finally pressing the gun to her own head, threatening one more life. Meanwhile, police, alerted to the scene after receiving reports of a woman firing a shot into the air, make their approach off-screen.

With the nearby Nassau Children's Readiness Center on lockdown and bystanders a good distance away, a Nassau County Police cruiser screeches into frame, prompting the woman to maneuver to the side. Her dodge is no good, however; the SUV grazes her, sending her spinning and leaving her stunned.

Officers on foot can be seen rushing the suspect, who drops her weapon and surrenders while additional support units move in.

Authorities indicated the woman was taken to a hospital and treated for minor injuries.

Michael Alcazar, a retired NYPD detective and adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, was critical of this possibly livesaving tactic, claiming that officers are "not allowed to hit people with the car, even if they’re shooting at you," reported Newsday.

Alcazar suggested that NYPD policy would alternatively have had the officers "isolate and contain" the woman until K-9 units, negotiators, or other special units could show up, even if the officers were being fired upon.

Former NYPD detective Felipe Rodriguez suggested the officer had put himself at risk using the police cruiser, telling CBS News, "The windshields in vehicles are not bulletproof, and as he ended up coming closer to her, you actually became a bigger target. So he was very lucky she didn't decide to aim at the vehicle and discharge the firearm."

NCP Commissioner Patrick Ryder wasn't similarly critical of the 300 horsepower remedy, indicating his officers "thought quickly to react and probably save people's lives, including their own," adding, "I am never going to Monday-morning quarterback my cops."

"It's a loaded handgun that she's waving around in the traffic, pointing at people that have got their children and their families in their cars. That cop made a split-second decision to put her down on the ground. He did a great job. He’s our hero of the day," said Ryder, who indicated the alternative would have been simply shooting her.

"Deadly physical force spurs deadly physical force. That’s the law," continued the commissioner. "If somebody has threatened deadly physical force against you or another, you have the right to use deadly physical force, and they chose it through their vehicle and they stopped the individual."

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Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.
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