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Police accidentally shoot child in carjacked car

1:40 PM, Mar 29, 2010   |    comments
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NBC -- When Kirk Crichton heard his 2-year-old son had been shot in a police-involved shooting, he could hardly believe it.

"It's very ridiculous. It's extremely ridiculous," Crichton said in a phone interview from his home in Jamaica Saturday.

According to police, a gunman robbed the Wachovia Bank on Baymeadows Road in Jacksonville, Florida, Friday afternoon. Police say he then carjacked a vehicle at a fast food restaurant. Police then opened fire on the gunman and the vehicle.

The suspect died on the scene.

Sheriff John Rutherford said 35-year-old Joanne Cooper -- was inside the car. She was shot in the foot. Two-year-old Daniel Crichton was also in the car. Police say he was shot in the arm and the upper torso.

Both were struck by officers' bullets, according to police.

A 7-year-old girl was also in the car, but was not injured.

After the shooting Friday, Crichton said he spoke to his son's mother, Joanne Cooper. She's the one who was driving the car.

Crichton said when the gunman carjacked the vehicle at the Wendy's drive-thru, little Daniel was sleeping in a car seat behind the front passenger seat.

Crichton said it was "unnecessary" for officers to shoot at the car.

"Common sense dictates if somebody is carjacking someone at a Wendy's drive-in window, that chances are... the car's not tinted... you should be able to see the child-seat in the back of the car," Crichton told First Coast News.

Sheriff John Rutherford said the sheriff's office has not interviewed the five officers who fired the 42 rounds.

Rutherford explained, "We wait until the criminal proceeding is over before forcing them to speak with us. Most officers in these situations will confer with their attorney prior to releasing a statement."

Rutherford said Saturday morning that there were some things he and investigators still did not know.

"I can't tell you what the officers knew when they were firing into that car. That's the part we have to wait on until we get statements from the officers to find out why they pulled the trigger," Rutherford explained.

Crichton said this incident -- in which his toddler was on the receiving end of gunfire -- was an example of "poor police work."

"A total lack of professionalism," Crichton said. "It really looks on the surface like a wild west show. One person opens fire... you don't know what's going on... so you open fire also."

Joanne Cooper is listed in fair condition after a Saturday surgery on her foot. She may have been shot by the suspect. Daniel Crichton is listed in critical condition after being accidentally shot by police.

NBC

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