A police operation in Kiev, Ukraine, went awry, and five police officers are dead after firing on each other.
Kyiv Post reports that a police operation in the village of Knyazhychi, just west of Kiev, was underway to expose a suspected theft ring. However, a tragic set of circumstances led to officers firing on each other by mistake.
Criminal police operatives set up a sting operation to catch a group of suspected thieves. They organized a stakeout at an abandoned house, where the thieves were allegedly set to congregate.
Two of the criminal police operatives were hiding inside, while their backup was nearby. However, a security alarm went off in a nearby house, triggering the arrival of a team of protection police -- national Ukrainian authorities who specifically protect people and businesses.
The protection team arrived, spotted tracks in the snow, and followed them inside the abandoned house where the two criminal police operatives were waiting. The protection team detained the operatives, but as they were sorting out who was who, the backup for the operatives arrived and mistook the protection team for the group of thieves.
A firefight ensued, leaving five officers dead.
“My sincere condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of those killed police officers. Heartbreaking tragedy,” said Former Chief of National Police Khatia Dekanoidze.
The three thieves heard the gunshots and quickly fled the scene. They were detained by police shortly after in Kiev, and will be charged with a number of offenses.
“The three intruders were detained by police, their firearms were seized. They will be brought to justice,” the Interior’s Ministry website states.
Reaction to this story on Reddit was swift. One user offered clarification, writing, “To be clear, the first (undercover) and third (support) group were together working on the case, and the second (security) group was just responding to an alarm caused by the other group, so not the same case.”
Another added, “Why are there so many agencies anyways? Can someone explain why we need more than say a city police and a federal police? For the areas not currently covered by the city police can't we just extend it so they cover that area? The main idea though was less redundancy.”
The Interior Minister has stated that an investigation into the botched operation is currently underway.