Cop who didn't engage attacker still on duty

No action taken against officer to date.

By ETGAR LEFKOVITS
March 20, 2008 01:51
1 minute read.

 
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The Jerusalem police officer who was the first to arrive at the scene of the terrorist attack at the city's Mercaz Harav Yeshiva on March 6 but failed to enter the building and engage the attacker remains on active duty, police said Wednesday. The 22-year-old sergeant, who completed his training at the police academy three months ago, was performing well, and had not been reprimanded or demoted, Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said. Jerusalem police chief Cmdr. Aharon Franco said Wednesday the officer should have tried to make direct contact with the terrorist, rather than wait at the entrance to the school while the shooting continued. According to a police investigation, almost two minutes elapsed between the officer's arrival on the scene and the entry into the yeshiva of an off-duty paratrooper captain, David Shapira, who arrived from his nearby home with his M-16 rifle and, together with yeshiva student Yitzhak Dadon, killed the attacker, Ala Abu Dhaim, from the capital's Jebl Mukaber neighborhood. Abu Dhaim first killed eight, including six high school students, and wounded nine. During a Knesset discussion, Franco told parliamentarians that he had not decided what steps would be taken against the patrol officer - if any - but that every policeman who arrived at a crime scene and knew people were being murdered must respond. "The patrol officer who arrived first was obligated to make contact and stop the shooting," Franco said. He was expected to make a decision regarding the officer "in the near future," police said. Ben-Ruby said it was not an issue of "forgiveness," but, in the eyes of the city police chief, a "misjudgment."

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