Woman killed by negligent discharge before SWAT-style raid

It appears that an officer in a paramilitary “stack” about to raid a suspected drug location had a negligent discharge… which just happened to hit one of the suspects in the head:

A 35-year-old Ross County woman is dead after she was shot in the head during a raid Wednesday on U.S. 23, and it appears the shot was fired from the weapon of a law enforcement officer, Ross County Prosecutor Matt Schmidt said Thursday.

The dead woman is 35-year-old Krystal Barrows, who was inside the home at 467 U.S. 23 South in Ross County when the U.S. 23 Task Force entered at about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday. Schmidt confirmed the death to the Gazette late Thursday.

Schmidt said the round was not intentionally fired, and it’s unclear whether the gunfire was the result of a weapon malfunction or user error. He stressed that he was not at the scene and is not a spokesman for the Ross County Sheriff’s Office, but he does serve as its legal counsel.

Let’s cut the bull, Schmidt: it was user error, and everyone knows it. True weapon malfunctions leading to a discharge are so rare as to be almost nonexistent. The officer had his booger-hook on the bang switch, flinched, and pulled the trigger.

Krystal Barrows is just the latest in a long list of people killed in paramilitary raids designed to overwhelm suspects with force, raids often conducted on questionable intelligence by officers with questionable training, sometimes thrown together from different departments for the first time just before the raid. Indeed, I’d be very interested to see how much training time this raid team of U.S. 23 Task Force had as a unit prior to this raid.

The law enforcement model of using police officers as soldiers doesn’t seem to be saving the lives of officers or suspects, which was often cited as the reason for adopting this sort of tactic.

Perhaps its time for higher-level law enforcement training (I’m looking at you, FLETC) to consider ways to better use lower footprint technologies to collect intelligence, and create training for civilian suspect containment and apprehension that doesn’t get so many innocent people injured and killed on both sides of the badge.