site.btaInterior Ministry Leadership Stands by Police Officer's Decision to Use Weapon Against Person Who Committed Robbery
The political and professional leadership of the Ministry of the Interior strongly stands behind the professional decision of the police officer to use a firearm against a person who has, according to evidence, committed a serious intentional crime, namely robbery, said Interior Minister Kalin Stoyanov on bTV Wednesday morning. The reason for his comments was the incident from September 18, in which an 18-year-old boy died in hospital after being shot by a police officer, during a chase after a robbery.
There are reports that this person was part of a group that threatened its victims with firearms, according to Stoyanov. "Also, the police officer used the firearm after repeated verbal warnings [at the fugitive] to stop running. The firearm was used after the officer fired warning shots," the minister explained.
Details of the robbery were given by the victim, describing three individuals who used force and intimidation, took her purse, and one of them claimed to have a firearm. All of this was reported to the teams on duty, Stoyanov reminded.
Around 5 pm, a tip-off was received from a security guard at a business centre in the area which the persons in question were fleeing. Two patrolling officers went to the spot, detected the persons, and found that they were boarding a bus. After a sound and light signal, the bus stopped and opened the doors, and the suspects tried to run away. One of them was detained in the bus, the other two escaped, and a police officer chased after them. The two fugitives split, and the police officer produced the warning calls and shots. He fired a personal weapon, for which, for the moment, under the disciplinary proceedings initiated, he will eventually bear administrative responsibility, the Interior Minister explained.
He added that in this case the police officer was carrying both his service weapon and his personal weapon, but it is being clarified whether his service weapon went off during the pursuit.
The Ministry of Interior Act empowers officers to use weapons and in this case he relied on point 3, which allows for this in relation to a person who has committed a crime, flees and refuses to comply, Stoyanov said.