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"When you point a finger at someone else, you point four at yourself"

Denise McGrath is a very upset mother. Her son is dead, and she wants answers.

Tuesday morning, at around 3:20 a.m., police responded to a burglar alarm at a liquor store. When they arrived, they saw a large rock in front of it, signs that the rock had bounced off the shatterproof glass of the store, and a car leaving at high speed. They pursued the car with lights and siren, but it fled.

Eventually, they boxed in the car. It rammed one of the cruisers and a utility pole, then headed straight for an officer, who thought it was going to run him down. Two police officers opened fire, and the driver -- 16-year-old Anthony McGrath -- was hit and killed.

McGrath's mother, Denise McGrath, is understandably upset. She says that her son received the death penalty without a trial, and wants to know who "murdered" her son.

Unless the facts reported thus far prove incorrect (also known as the "London subway shooting disclaimer"), it's pretty clear who is to blame for his death, Mrs. McGrath. And if you choose to not blame him and his own bad decisions, then I think your wrath ought to turn elsewhere besides the police officers who believed themselves in immediate danger from him...


Comments (31)

Maybe Mom McGrath should go... (Below threshold)
Smartguy:

Maybe Mom McGrath should go and camp out in Washington to protest the death of her son. I am sure that either President Bush or Judge Alito is somehow responsible.

Only three fingers, if your... (Below threshold)
billburz:

Only three fingers, if your thumb goes back also, I know a carnival u can be in

Same sort of thing happened... (Below threshold)
Gizmo:

Same sort of thing happened here a few years ago... Teen leads cops on a chase after a "minor" crime, perp car pulls over disabled, teen exits car with shotgun, teen points shotgun towards cop, hail of projectiles is unleased from the cops, and teen dies. The dead kid ( surprise, surprise) had a rap sheet a mile long and stretched over several years.

A couple of days later the mother of the deceased teen and a couple of aunts and uncles show up with signs and march in front of City Hall. Their claim: "The police 'over responded' to the situation." They should have just "winged" him. Etc. ... Wow.

That's why a hockey referee... (Below threshold)
Flydiveski:

That's why a hockey referee always points with the whole hand

These mothers (both in the ... (Below threshold)

These mothers (both in the post above and the mother in the comments), like so many people, have bought into the Hollywood myth that police officers can and should "shoot to wound" suspects.

In movies and television , the hero often places the nearly ubiquitous shoulder shot that leaves the suspect unarmed, but not seriously injured. It is a sad commentary on the American people that they can so easily expect this convenient bit of fiction to play out in real life.

Police officers are not taught to “shoot to wound” violent suspects, nor are they taught to shoot to disarm suspects, forcing them to drop a gun or a knife. In the real world, police officers on street duty (SWAT teams sometimes use different rules of engagement) are taught to “shoot to stop” what they perceive to be a potentially lethal threat to themselves or others.

They are, without exception, trained to shoot for center mass, meaning the torso of the suspect. Arms and legs are simply too hard to hit, and it has been proven time and again that those hit in extremities are still often quite capable of continuing their assault. If a cop is forced to shoot a suspect, he must shoot center mass, and there is a possibility that the person shot will be killed.

My advice, then, is to listen to police officers, and don’t force them into a decision where lethal force is required.

Anthony McGrath fled from the police. Anthony McGrath made aggressive actions that made police officers fear for their own lives. If Denise McGrath wants to know who “murdered” her son, she should visit his grave. In this instance, as in most other instances where police kill a suspect, the suspect alone is responsible for how a situation ends.

Confederate Yankee -<... (Below threshold)
jim:

Confederate Yankee -

I agree with all you posted. However, I would like to add that Jay had another "point" to make, though he did so in his title which was incorrect only anatomically, IMHO. Specifically, a 16 year old kid, out in a car, at 3:20 AM .... and where was his mother THEN?

She seems to have lots of energy now. Guilt as a motivator, perhaps?

No winners here. Kid dead, mother will grieve all her life. Cops grieve and wonder what they could have done, perhaps tempted to take a fatal chance next time in some effort to spare another who might turn out to take advantage. No winner - a sad story all around.

Actually it's the fault of ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Actually it's the fault of our schools. I'll bet none of them teach kids how to act when they are the subject of a felony arrest or what kind of body armor to wear when attempting a liquor store heist . Yes, such things are taught on the street and in jail, but there's no way to control the quality of such informal training. The result of this travesty is a long list of young punks shot dead before they even get started in their criminal career.

I'll never understand why s... (Below threshold)
-S-:

I'll never understand why some people elect to combat law enforcement rather than simply do as they're told under suspicious circumstances. Rodney King comes to mind, as do many others who flee, fight, scuffle, combat and such when they hear the word, "Freeze" or "hands up".

Even for those with known *problems,* there are always lawyers.

I mean by that, just do wha... (Below threshold)
-S-:

I mean by that, just do what the police tell you to do, go to jail if you must and call your/a lawyer afterward. Only makes things far, far worse to attempt to "try" your conditions with law enforcement by pugalism or worse, armed confrontation.

At least they got one. Thi... (Below threshold)
Todd:

At least they got one. This past summer, I was helping a local store owner when a punk kid came in and held us up. The fool didn't get anything and fled after shooting a customer in the neck when the customer tried to flee the disturbing scene.

The punk is still out there and living in Kucinichville, OH.

And I am sure if you ask an... (Below threshold)
Bill:

And I am sure if you ask anyone who knew him, he was a "good kid", "had his whole life in front of him", "would never hurt a fly", blah, blah, blah. Good riddance.

this worthless bitch just h... (Below threshold)
cubanbob:

this worthless bitch just had a retroactive abortion. one less moron society has to deal with.

To clear up a point. Killin... (Below threshold)
K:

To clear up a point. Killing people is not a crime. It is a cause for investigation.

The law carefully limits when lives may be taken, Self defense is one time, to defend others is also usually accepted.

And in law some killings are not necessarily to be settled by trial. District Attorneys may legally decline to prosecute, Grand Juries may not act.

TV and the ritual of courtrooms lead to the idea that every killing is resolved there. Not so. The other ways are just as much part of the law.

I'M QUITE SINCERE IN SAYING... (Below threshold)
JAN:

I'M QUITE SINCERE IN SAYING YOU ALL ARE UNBELIEVABLY JUDGEMENTAL AND HARSH TOWARDS THE SITUATION. WITHOUT SUCH FACTS AS THE FAMILY HAS, YOU HAVE NO VALIDITY IN YOUR STATEMENTS. YOU OBVIOUSLY HAVEN'T EXPERIENCED ANY SORT OF TRADIGTY AND SHOULD BE THANKING GOD FOR THAT.

I'M QUITE SINCERE IN SAYING... (Below threshold)
JAN:

I'M QUITE SINCERE IN SAYING YOU ALL ARE UNBELIEVABLY JUDGEMENTAL AND HARSH TOWARDS THE SITUATION. WITHOUT SUCH FACTS AS THE FAMILY HAS, YOU HAVE NO VALIDITY IN YOUR STATEMENTS. YOU OBVIOUSLY HAVEN'T EXPERIENCED ANY SORT OF TRADGITY AND SHOULD BE THANKING GOD FOR THAT.

LET ME JUST SAY THIS, APPAR... (Below threshold)
BENT:

LET ME JUST SAY THIS, APPARENTLY NONE OF YOU HAVE EVER HEARD OF SINGLE MOTHERS WORKING THIRD SHIFT, OH AND EVERYONE WHO HAS A CHILD WITH SOME BEHAVORIAL PROBLEMS, LEGAL PROBLEMS OR EMOTIONAL PROBLEMS ALL DESREVE TO BE UNJUSTLY SHOT AT ANY GIVEN TIME OF DAY. JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE MAKES A MISTAKE AND GOD KNOWS WE'VE ALL MADE SOME, DOESN'T GIVE A BORED,OVERZEALOUS, SMALL TOWN COP THE RIGHT TO JUSTIFY MURDERING A CHILD JUST BECAUSE HE WEARS A BADGE.MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON YOUR SOULS.FOR THOSE OF US WHO DO KNOW AND LOVE TONY MCGRATH ONE THING WE DO KNOW FOR SURE IS THAT HE DIDN'T DESERVE TO BE KILLED AND WE WILL SEE JUSTICE SERVED. AS 'FELLOW' AMERICANS WE ARE TAUGHT TO BE COMPASSIONATE, SUPPORTIVE AND NON JUDGEMENTAL I GUESS THIS IS A FOREIGN WEB SITE. UNTIL YOU REALLY HAVE BEEN IN A SITUATION LIKE THIS REMEMBER IGNORANCE IS BLISS.

BENT,So why are yo... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

BENT,

So why are you judging the cops? Were you there? If the facts are as Jay stated, then the cops were justified. If the facts are different, then peoples opinions would be different.

The only "tradgity" here is... (Below threshold)
metrognome57:

The only "tradgity" here is that young people in the U.S. are apparently growing up believing that actions, including theirs, have no consequences. Now where might they be learning that?

Sorry, Bent and Jan - it do... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Sorry, Bent and Jan - it doesn't take much sense to realize that RUNNING FROM THE COPS after trying to BREAK INTO A LIQUOR STORE and then trying to ATTACK THEM is a one way ticket into a pine box.

Didn't his mama ever teach him it wasn't right to steal? Or attack a cop? If he'd stopped and done what the cops told him to - he'd have lived. If he hadn't decided it was okay to rob a liquor store in the first place, he'd have lived. If he'd been asleep so he could go to school the next day, he'd have lived.

There was a hell of a lot of stuff this 'kid' did to get himself into the situation he was in - and ALL of it was his choice. EVERY SINGLE STEP OF THE WAY!

Now he's dead. Because he was stupid.

It's a damn shame - but he really brought it on himself.

AND I'M SURE AT 16 YOU MADE... (Below threshold)
BENT:

AND I'M SURE AT 16 YOU MADE ALL THE RIGHT CHOICES, MAYBE YOU'RE LIVING IN A 'PINE BOX TO NOT REALIZE THAT THIS WORLD IS A HELL OF ALOT DIFFERENT THAN IT WAS 5-10 YEARS AGO. LIKE STATED BEFORE WE KNOW THE FACTS SO THERFORE I AM STILL STATING THE FACTS, AND THE FACT IS, YOU'RE ALL IGNORANT

For every 16 year old like ... (Below threshold)

For every 16 year old like this McGrath kid, there are ten more that grew up in a similar situation that DO NOT rob liquor stores or try to run over cops.

I'm so SICK of the whiney, victim syndrome. There are plenty of 16 year olds in single parent families that don't have a lot of money, and whose mom works third shift. You know what their "wrong choices" are? Things like staying up too late playing video games and not studying for an exam, teasing a sibling, or not doing their chores. They aren't commiting felonies.

I'm sorry, but this mother has no one to blame but herself and HER own "wrong choices."

YOU'RE ALL IGNORANT<... (Below threshold)

YOU'RE ALL IGNORANT

I'm sorry, but having that stated at the end of a comment that was in all caps, is truly hilarious. You have to be attempting a parody there, BENT.

There were literally thousa... (Below threshold)
Brett:

There were literally thousands of instants during this event where the deceased could have made a decision to do the intelligent and/or legal thing. If he would have done so at even one of these instants, he would still be alive.

Instead he chose, thousands of times, to do the illegal/stupid thing. As a result of these choices, he is dead.

My grief is reserved for the police officers, who will have to live with the memory of this night for the rest of their lives.

Confederate Yankee is right... (Below threshold)
Inquiring:

Confederate Yankee is right about movies and television with the fiction of shooting to wound. It is really sad how people actually believe the fiction.

Take the classic example of the shoulder shot. Complete crap.

Anatomy lesson time!

Needless to say there will be tissue damage, torn muscles, tendons, etc. Those are the least of a person's worries.

The shoulder is composed of three bones; the ball of the humerus; distal end of the clavicle; socket of the scapula. Three possible bones to break, likely shatter, when a bullet strikes the area. The liklihood of that happening is very high, these are not small bones.

There is also a very important artery that runs under the clavicle; the Subclavian artery which becomes the Brachial artery after entering the arm proper. If either of these arteries gets severed, or even just slightly torn, say by fragmented bone, a person can bleed out and die within seconds.

Then there is the Brachial plexus of nerves which feeds into the arm, allowing all that motor control. Get some of those torn by a flying hunk of metal, or shattered bone, and it really does not matter a person lives and none of their muscles were damaged.

And that is the simple version (ignoring things like shock, lesser blood vessels, etc).

Shooting to wound is a myth. Getting shot in some places may be less likely to kill a person than others, but those 'safer' areas are few and far between, and lady luck is still the major deciding factor.

Being a single mother is a ... (Below threshold)
mj997:

Being a single mother is a choice. Being out at 3am, attempting to rob a liquor store is a choice, attempting to run down police officers in a car is a choice. Choices have consequences. Put yourself in the police officer's shoes. They have families to go home to. I will be very surprised if this is deemed unjustified. This kid had not attended school in months, had prior run ins with the law, was seeking counseling for family problems and had no supervision during the night (obviosly). The family is surprised something like this happened?

Good commentary mj997,and r... (Below threshold)
Moon Monkey:

Good commentary mj997,and really sums up the situation. Bottom line is that society has one less loser to deal with,anot to mention the future savings to taxpayers.
But you know,as much as it pleases me that this worthless piece of crap won't be around anymore,I can't help thinking about the people that the incident has forced out into the open. The fact that this kid's mother,Bent and Jan are walking among us,is scary. These folks are single minded,lack any civility or education and are hair-trigger reactionists. Dumb begets dumb.

27 years in law enforcement... (Below threshold)
Ran:

27 years in law enforcement.. brought to a close by an 18 year old drug dealer with a shotgun. It's true..times have changed..ask any cop..more guns on the street every day. When was the last time you've seen something in the paper where a cop was run down? Folks say.."what a shame".. but under it all..they think.."he knew the risks". I was run over..lucky for me, it was only a VW..*S*.. the "Key Word" here, is "Intent" that car made the "kid" a direct, wilfull threat! we do what we must.

YOU PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW ANY ... (Below threshold)
K:

YOU PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW ANY FACTS.YOU ONLY KNOW WHAT THE COPS WANT YOU TO KNOW.YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT A GOOD KID HE WAS.I CAN'T BELEIVE YOU PEOPLE ARE SAYING SUCH DISCUSTING THINGS ABOUT SOMEBODY THATS DEAD OR HIS POOR MOTHER.HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF IT WAS YOU OR YOUR FAMILY?

*confused now*..were you th... (Below threshold)
ran:

*confused now*..were you there?..with him?..in the car?

This was definatly tha cops... (Below threshold)
Breanna:

This was definatly tha cops fault . they should have jumped out of tha way or something insted of shooting and killing a year old teen, Obviously the 16 year old teen was trying to run away becasue he must have been scared not trying to attack. If Denise was home rasing her kids maybe he wouldnt have made the decesion he made that night.

i know McGrath and i do thi... (Below threshold)
Breanna Marie:

i know McGrath and i do think that this was mostly the cops fault because he would be here still if the cops didnt shoot him!




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