That woman, Miriam Carey, 34, had a 1-year-old child in her vehicle during the dramatic chase, and she reportedly had post-partum depression. Why couldn’t police have spared the life of Carey, a dental hygienist from Connecticut who may have suffered from mental illness? Couldn’t they have just shot out her tires?
Dr. Daniel Kennedy, an expert on police force, told Business Insider that if police had shot at Carey’s tires they likely would have missed. In that case, Kennedy said, the bullet could have ricocheted on the ground or off the vehicle itself and possibly injured somebody else.
“Same reason they don’t shoot a gun out of a bad guy’s hand,” Kennedy told BI in an email message. “Police only hit maybe 20% [of the time] where they try to in a fluid situation.”
Indeed, other experts have cautioned police against shooting out tires, including criminologist Rick Parent. Here’s what Parent had to say on the subject in an article posted by the Police Policy Studies Council:
One of the more frequent police injuries appears to be caused when officers attempt to ‘shoot out the tires’ of suspect vehicles. The automobile and the wheels that it rests upon are largely made of steel. The concrete or asphalt roadway that the vehicle rests upon serve to further compound the situation. When a high speed lead bullet is discharged in the general area of a vehicle, ricochets and metal fragments abound. Unlike the scenes depicted by ‘Hollywood’, the ‘shooting out of a tire’ can be a precarious and dangerous event.
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