Bernie Goetz


On December 22, 1984, Bernhard Goetz, a 37 year old electronics expert, was riding a subway with about 20 passengers in the car. Four young black men behaving in a chaotic way approached Goetz and deliberatly asked him for $5 and he told them he had $5 for each of them. He then reached in his pocket and pulled out an unregistered .38 caliber revolver. He shot each of the four peoples and fled the scene. Surprisingly the reactions he recieved from people were very supportive. Actress Joan Rivers sent him a telegram offering to help out with the bail money. T-shirts and collections were taken up all over Manhattan.

In his past it was discovered that he was involved in another. He was lucky to escape but the injustice of the attack left him furious. That same year he applied for a gun permit. the facts still remain that he still was carrying an illegal gun and he may have been punishing the youth from his past attack.

One investigator sat down and talked to Goetz he did not demand that a lawyer be present. For the most part he cooperated with the police and told them everything they wanted to know. Not once during the whole interview did he consider himself as a hero. However he did say that he hoped something good would result from this. Not a soul could disagree.

During trial, Goetz was aquitted of attempted murder but found guilty of possession of a firearm. He served less than a full year. After his first trial, Goetz became more vocally active. He pushed for civillians to carry firearms to protect themselves.

Since then Goetz has appeared in two small films, campaigned for the legalization of marijuana, and ran for the office of mayor. In addition he has made a variety of tv and radio appearances and opened a store called Vigilante electronics. He still resides in New York City. This website was very helpful for me. It had all the information that I needed.