ST. LOUIS—Saying the incident fit a larger pattern in which the victim was often present but not an active participant in a situation, the Metropolitan Police Department reported Tuesday that local bystander David Clacker, who was killed by an officer, had a long history of bystanding. “After a thorough investigation, we have confirmed that the individual who was fatally struck by a stray bullet last night was a repeat bystander, someone also known to have been a frequent passerby,” said police spokesperson Sgt. Blake Ludlow, stressing that the death, while tragic, could not be separated from Clacker’s extensive record not only of bystanding, but of onlooking. “Simply put, had the deceased chosen not to bystand, he never would have found himself in the way when our officer’s gun discharged. But unfortunately, he bystood time and time again. It should go without saying that any civilian who puts themselves within range of an officer’s service weapon does so at their own risk.” Clacker’s death comes on the heels of an internal study in which the department concluded the only way to avoid such killings was to eliminate all bystanders from streets, parks, public venues, retail establishment, and private residences.
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