Bernhard Goetz

Bernhard Goetz

Bernhard Hugo Goetz (born November 7, 1947) is an American man best known for shooting four alleged muggers on a New York City Subway train, resulting in his conviction for illegal possession of a firearm. He came to symbolize New Yorkers' frustrations with the high crime rates of the early 1980s. The incident occurred on a No. 2 train in Manhattan on December 22, 1984. It sparked a nationwide debate on race and crime in major cities, and the legal limits of self-defense.

Goetz fired an unlicensed revolver five times, seriously wounding all four. He was dubbed the "Subway Vigilante" by the New York press, and was both praised and vilified in the media and in public opinion.

He surrendered to police nine days later and was eventually charged with attempted murder, assault, reckless endangerment, and several firearms offenses. A jury found him not guilty of all charges except an illegal firearms possession count, for which he served two-thirds of a one-year sentence. The incident has been cited as a contributing factor to the groundswell movement against urban crime and disorder, and successful National Rifle Association campaigns to loosen restrictions on the concealed carrying of firearms.

Read more about Bernhard GoetzEarly Life, Historical Context, Incident, Early Reports, Public Reaction, Grand Juries, Criminal Trial, Civil Trial, Legacy, Activities Since The Incident, Cultural References

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