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NYPD: Fewer suspects killed in 2013 so far

A New York Police Department (NYPD) car sits

A New York Police Department (NYPD) car sits parked in Times Square. (Aug.12, 2013) Credit: Getty Images

NYPD officers so far this year used their firearms to kill the fewest number of suspects since detailed records have been kept more than three decades ago, according to data made available Tuesday.

The seven suspects killed compares with 16 fatally shot in 2012 -- the year with the highest number of shootings under the Bloomberg administration.

The latest fatal shooting this year was Monday night, when officers shot and killed a knife-wielding man who allegedly lunged at them on Hart Street in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn.

The highest number of "adversarial" police shootings resulting in suspects' deaths was 93 in 1971, said John McCarthy, a police spokesman.

The latest analysis of 2012 shootings is in an NYPD report submitted yesterday to the City Council. Additional 2013 data was provided by McCarthy.

With officers involved in more than 26,000 cases in which they arrested armed suspects last year, McCarthy said the number of fatal shootings indicates better officer training and restraint.

"That low percentage of suspects shot is consistent with a level of restraint we have seen in this past decade," said McCarthy.

So far this year, the total number of police-involved shooting incidents of all types has decreased 28 percent (94 percent vs. 68 percent), and is on pace for the lowest number in city history, added McCarthy.

Joseph Giacalone, a recently retired NYPD detective supervisor who now is a lecturer in criminal investigations, agreed with McCarthy and said firearms restraint is something drilled into officers during training.

"They have really . . . over the last number of years, have trained cops to take cover whenever possible," said Giacalone, noting that all active duty officers are required to go through two training sessions a year at the police range.

The latest report shows that while fatal shootings have come down substantially since the 1970s, the number of adversarial conflicts in which officers have had to use their weapons seesawed during the Bloomberg administration, averaging 54 a year.

In 2012, police fired 45 times at suspects, injuring 14 in addition to the 16 killed that year -- the highest number of fatalities during the administration. Some 13 officers were shot and injured and none killed in 2012, the report noted.

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