Sun, Feb 19, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Police shoot girl dead in accident

FATAL SHOT A warning shot fired by a policeman missed a suspect and instead hit a 14-year-old girl standing 70m away in a building in Tainan City

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

National Police Agency director-general Shieh Ing-dan, second right, tries to console the mother of Lin Jia-hua, a 14-year-old girl who was accidentally shot by a policeman during an incident in Tainan City yesterday.

PHOTO: WANG YU-TING, TAIPEI TIMES

A gunshot fired by a policeman missed a suspect, killing instead a fourteen-year-old girl watching the scene from the balcony on the sixth floor of an apartment in Tainan City.

"The girl, Lin Jia-hua [林珈華], was hit 70m away from the scene when a police officer, named Gan Tang-li [甘唐溧], fired a warning shot into the air," said a Tainan police official, Chang Shu-the (張樹德), yesterday.

Minister of the Interior Lee Yi-yang (李逸洋) apologized yesterday afternoon and said he would do his best to assist Lin's family.

Lee said that the police should continue to use their guns when needed, but cautioned them to use their guns correctly.

Lee added that better education on correct gun usage and how to make good real-time judgment should be reinforced.

The police are still investigating whether the officer who fired the shot was abiding by regulations.

The National Police Agency yesterday had also launched an investigation into the matter.

Punishment in the case is still under review, Lee said.

Lee said Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) had been informed of the case, and National Police Agency director-general Shieh Ing-dan (謝銀黨) had gone to Tainan to meet with Lin's family and apologize in person.

Tainan police said that the suspect, Chen Huei-fang (林慧芳), 58, who may be suffering from mental illness, was reportedly carrying a knife and scaring passersby in the streets of Tainan City.

When Gan approached and attempted to arrest him, Chen first hid the knife behind his back and then suddenly attacked Gan with it.

Gan drew out his gun and aimed it at Chen. This did not stop Chen though, who continued to lunge like a "madman" at Gan, according to the police.

Gan fired a warning shot just a Chen knocked him over. The shot, which flew at a 60? angle into the air, missed Chen and fatally hit the girl instead, police said.

Meanwhile, Gan suffered slashes on his neck, chin and leg from Chen's attack.

The suspect stopped only when he was shot by another officer, Chuang Mu-yao (莊沐堯), the police added.

Police said that the two officers fired a total of 24 shots, with Chen being hit by eight bullets.

Chen's and Gan's conditions have stabilized after receiving medical treatment. The girl, however, died on the way to the hospital.

Doctors said the girl was shot near her heart.

Lin's mother told police she was watching TV with her daughter at home on Friday night. At about 11pm, the two heard gunshots and her daughter stepped out into the balcony to see what was happening.

The elder Lin said she was just following her daughter to the balcony when the girl suddenly turned to her with blood gushing out of her nose and mouth. The mother immediately called the police for help.

Gan and Chuang visited the girl's family yesterday afternoon.

"It was really tragic and I am so sorry about the young girl," a teary-eyed Gan said.

The mother questioned the police's skill in using guns.

additional reporting by Jean Lin

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