Cop kills Atlit man whom he had twice talked out of suicide

Ofer Gil drove his taxi at Aviad Cohen when the officer arrived to handle a domestic dispute; Cohen opened fire ‘because his life was in danger’

November 5, 2010 01:13
2 minute read.
Crime scene [illustrative photo]

Kalansawa shooting police 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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A 47-year-old taxi driver was shot dead by a policeman in Atlit late Wednesday night after police say he attempted to run down the officer.

In a cruel twist of fate, it emerged Thursday that the driver had been saved by the very same officer in recent weeks, when he made two suicide attempts. On both those occasions, he was talked out of harming himself by the policeman.

'Gov’t program reduced domestic violence among olim'

Wednesday’s fatal incident began when the driver, Ofer Gil, arrived at the home of his estranged wife and attempted to enter, despite a restraining order prohibiting him from approaching her.

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The couple had been in the midst of bitter court proceedings, and Gil’s wife had previously complained of obsessive attempts by Gil to break into her home and threaten her.

The woman called two patrol officers from the Tirat Carmel station to the scene.

Police said Gil spotted the officers and drove his cab directly at them, striking Aviad Cohen, a 29-year-old police officer. Cohen was left hanging on to the car’s hood as Gil continued to drive.

Cohen’s female partner drove behind the taxi as Cohen attempted to get the driver to stop the car.

According to the police’s account, Cohen shouted repeatedly for Gil to stop, but to no avail. After trying to shatter the windshield, Cohen managed to break the driver-side window.

After warning that he would open fire, Cohen fired a number of shots at Gil, police said.

Gil was struck in the stomach by multiple bullets. His cab drove into a nearby field and came to a standstill, and he died minutes later of his injuries, despite attempts by Magen David Adom paramedics to treat him.

Before the paramedics arrived, Cohen attempted to resuscitate Gil, a police spokesman told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday night.

The Justice Ministry’s Police Investigations Department has launched an investigation into the incident.

Police have offered full support for Cohen, saying he acted in accordance with the rules of engagement.

“His life was endangered, and he opened fire as result,” read a joint statement by northern police chiefs.

Eyewitnesses confirmed the claim that Gil had struck Cohen and continued to drive while the officer was marooned on the car’s hood.

“Cohen rescued Gil from suicide attempts – one of them two weeks ago, and a second a month ago,” the spokesman added.

Cohen is viewed by his superiors as an outstanding officer. He has been the subject of three Police Investigations Department complaints, but all were found to be baseless.

Following the incident, large numbers of police, including Northern District head Cmdr.

Shimon Koren, arrived on the scene.

Family members of the deceased said police had overreacted to the incident.

“If he had to shoot, why fire five bullets?” asked Gil’s brother, Amos. “Maybe police could have stopped him afterward and not during the incident. I think the police overreacted.”

Ofer Gil leaves behind three children.

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