Friendly Fire

When 12 COPS arrived at Andre Madison's house for a routine drug bust, they wandered into a ferocious gunfight with themselves.

Once through the doors, all of the ERU officers claimed they saw Madison standing in the kitchen/dining-room area pointing a shotgun at them. More than that, Lanasa said he saw "a muzzle flash and smoke" coming from the gun; Delaney stated he saw Madison racking the shotgun, and that the weapon "was pointed directly at me and he had just fired it." Other officers claimed they exchanged gunfire with Madison.

But just about the same time the ERU officers claim Madison was shooting at them from the kitchen, the housing-unit cops at the rear of the building reported that a man with a shotgun was firing at them from a rear bedroom window. Officer Darrin Waletzki stated that he "observed a dark figure inside the residence that appeared to be holding a long object... I then heard multiple shots and saw flashes coming out of the window in my direction." Officer Novak likewise said he saw a person with a gun in the bedroom, and "observed shots coming out the window toward Officer [Arthur] Knight and Waletzki."

Statements that put a suspect simultaneously in two different rooms shooting in two different directions are obviously problematic. But an even more damning rebuttal to the MPD's version of events is the absence of evidence showing that the shotgun was ever fired that night. While well over a hundred 9 mm shell casings were later found in the house, there were no casings, waddings, or pellets that could have come from a shotgun. (An area of the ceiling was damaged by a shotgun blast, but Madison's landlord and another witness say it stemmed from an incident that occurred months before.)

For his part, Madison, in a voluntary statement to police phoned in from his hospital room, claimed that when he heard the flash bangs and the ramming at the door, he thought he was being robbed and picked up the shotgun leaning against the kitchen stove. And while almost every officer said that warnings of "Police! Search warrant!" were yelled as they rammed through the doors, Madison and at least one other witness said they heard no such warnings. In obtaining the warrant for the raid, the MPD specifically asked for, and received, authorization to enter the house unannounced.

Madison's statement specifically said that he never aimed the shotgun at anyone. He claimed he first realized the intruders were police officers when he saw the flashlights on their guns as they were coming through the door. At that point, he said, he immediately tossed the gun and dropped to the ground. As he was dropping, he said he was shot in the neck by a bullet fired from the rear of the building, and then shot again into his right arm. After that, Madison began crawling for safety. He described the scene as "like Beirut."

That was because very soon after the ERU members burst through the second door, Officer Lanasa announced he had been shot. In response, Kroll called for "suppressive fire," a technique that essentially calls on police to fire at everything in sight while an injured colleague is brought to safety. It is one of the rare occasions when MPD personnel can discharge their weapons without a clearly defined target, and the six officers at the front of the house executed Kroll's command with fervor. Kroll was carrying a submachine gun, and most of the other officers were equipped with semi-automatic handguns and plenty of ammunition. In his statement, Officer Delaney mentioned reloading his weapon with a new magazine--containing either 17 or 19 bullets, depending on the model of his gun--no fewer than three times.

The overall firepower from the officers in front was extensive enough to penetrate the stucco walls of the building, which in turn prompted the officers in the back to return even more fire. Meanwhile, an announcement over the police radio that an officer was down at 2216 26th brought other MPD officers to the scene and an unspecified number of them also joined in the shooting.

Given the massive amount of ammunition expended that night, it is somewhat miraculous that only two people were shot. Photos and videos of the scene depict numerous bullet holes both inside and outside the house. There were holes in the ceiling, indicating that shots could have endangered the family living in the top half of the duplex, and holes just inches away from windows in the building at 2214 26th Ave. N., meaning that Madison's neighbors to the east could have been hurt.

Many elements of the evidence seem in sync with Madison's story. The bullet entered his neck at a downward trajectory, an improbable angle if Madison had been standing at the time he was shot. Most of the glass from the rear bedroom window fell inside the house, indicating that it was broken from a force from the outside. Photos show the floor between the kitchen/dining-room area and the bathroom smeared with Madison's blood. There are no blood stains in the rear bedroom, where the housing cops said he stood. But this also contradicts Madison's statement that at one point after being shot, he crawled into the rear bedroom.

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