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Manhunt for a killer

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.
October 23, 2012 1:45:26 PM PDT
It's one of the things you don't think about.

You can't think about it, really.

Driving on the highway, and suddenly some freakazoid is forcing you off the road and trying to steal your car. You have no idea what's going on until he comes up to the window with a gun.

That's the last thing one New Yorker saw today. The last thing he ever saw.

The carjacker shot him, and then dragged him out of the car, leaving his body by the side of the road, and then took off.

A bizarre story on its face. But it's only a part of the story. This happened on the Cross Island Parkway in Queens. Moments before, the carjacker was pulled over by Nassau County Police because the back of his car was badly damaged. As an officer approached the car, he was shot and killed.

As a I write this, police say they know who the guy is - although they're not releasing his name. But they're looking for him. Clearly an active story - and we're following all the details and developments, tonight at 11.

A cop shot and killed, and then an innocent driver - shot and killed as well.

I have a friend - an avid and observant Eyewitness News viewer who is one of the smartest guys I know - who knows a lot about law enforcement. He's a former local and federal officer, now an attorney, and he has long argued that cops approaching cars on the highway are in extremely high-risk situations; he was hugely disappointed with the coverage and the public's reaction to the deadly New York police shooting earlier this month of a driver who had been pulled over on the Grand Central Parkway near LaGuardia Airport.

It's a difficult job, being a cop. They're forced to make split-second, life-or-death, shoot-or-be-shot decisions. You may look innocent to your spouse or kids or friends, but when you're on the street and a cop says put your hands on the wheel - then dang-it, put your hands on the wheel. Your friends may know you're a nice guy, but cops on the street don't know that.

Remember "41 Shots" by Springsteen? I'm just sayin'.

So tonight, we see the flip side of that split-second decision cops have to make. How in the world was this Nassau County officer supposed to know a routine traffic stop would end with the end of his life? He couldn't have possibly known. And what does that mean for the next driver who is stopped?

Also at 11, we're following the shocking developments in the murder of 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale, whose body was found today in southern New Jersey. Late today, 2 brothers, ages 15 and 17, have been charged with her murder. What in the world happened?

We'll also have any other breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Laura Behnke (in for Rob Powers) with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

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