Pensioner gunned down as police officer pulls trigger instead of turning on flashlight

In Crime Daily on January 27, 2011 at 12:07 am

By Daily Mail Reporters
Last updated at 5:49 PM on 26th January 2011


An innocent pensioner has been shot in the stomach by a police officer who accidentally pulled the trigger while he was trying to turn on a flashlight mounted to his gun.

In the second known incident of its kind in the U.S. involving the same flashlight model, 76-year-old Jose Colon was shot during a raid on his New York flat.

Last October an unarmed Texas man died under strikingly similar circumstances involving the Surefire X300 flashlight.

Firearms experts have criticised pistol-mounted flashlights, saying they complicate an already stressful situationFirearms experts have criticised pistol-mounted flashlights, saying they complicate an already stressful situation

The family of drug dealer Michael Anthony Alcala is now suing the city of Plano for negligence when an undercover police officer claims he inadvertently fired the gun instead of turning on the flashlight.

Colon was shot at his Bronx apartment when Emergency Services Officer Andrew McCormack tried to turn on the flashlight mounted underneath the barrel of his Glock 9mm semi-automatic pistol. Instead he pulled the trigger, sources told The New York Post.

The light is turned on by pushing one of two switches in front of the trigger guard.

Colon was unarmed and not charged with a crime, but police arrested his 41-year-old son, Alberto, for heroin possession, The Post said.

Jose Colon, who once worked for state Senator Ruben Diaz as a supervisor in a home-attendant program, was recovering yesterday in Jacobi Hospital, where he has been visited by both Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

Kelly had no immediate comment when asked whether the New York Police Department would continue using the flashlight.

New York firearms expert Kenneth Cooper yesterday criticised the use of pistol-mounted flashlights, saying they complicated an already stressful situation.

‘A handgun should be a handgun, and a flashlight should be a flashlight,’ Cooper said.

‘When you put a flashlight on a weapon system, there are numerous things that you have to manipulate, and under stress, things are more difficult. I don’t like flashlights on guns, I never did.’

Derek McDonald, Surefire’s vice president of marketing, said the Plano shooting was the first time it had heard a claim that one of its flashlights played a role in an officer firing his gun accidentally until The New York Post notified him of the Colon case.

‘Our product is safe, has been proven safe,’ McDonald said. ‘Used in a safe manner, it doesn’t lead to accidents. It prevents misidentification and saves police lives.’


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