Photographer Shot by Police After Camera Mistaken for Weapon

Photographer Shot by Police After Camera Mistaken for Weapon

Various news outlets are reporting that a photojournalist in the small Ohio town of New Carlisle has been shot without warning by a police officer who apparently mistook his camera for a weapon.

Reports are coming in that photographer Andy Grimm, a photojournalist, had left the office on Monday night to take pictures of the lightning before the storms came in. Grimm had pulled up in his Jeep at a traffic stop which he wasn't part of and in full view of law enforcement began to set up his camera and tripod to take some pictures. It was at this point Grimm was shot in the side without any warning.

According to the local news in the area, Grimm is quoted as saying:

I was going out to take pictures and I saw the traffic stop and I thought, 'Hey, cool. I'll get some pictures here.'

At this point, Grimm pulled into a parking lot and got out of his Jeep in full view of the deputy dealing with an unrelated incident. Grimm then began setting up his camera equipment.

I turned around toward the cars and then 'pop, pop.'

Grimm was shot in the side and was rushed to Miami Valley Hospital for surgery. Thankfully he is expected to recover from his wounds. The Attorney General’s BCI division is investigating the incident, but at this point no other information has been released.

As you can imagine people are coming out to defend both sides of this story, and while I appreciate that our police officers have to make split second decisions, the actions taken in this instance seem rather disproportionate.

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Paul Parker is a commercial and fine art photographer. On the rare occasion he's not doing photography he loves being outdoors, people watching, and writing awkward "About Me" statements on websites...

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Yeah, a camera AND tripod look just like a gun. I'd like to see that dash/body cam footage.

Yup, there was a case of a AT squad called for a female photographer with a tripod, which was mistaken for a machine gun, but it ended up with a funny selfie of squad and her, fortunately.

I'm not surprised this mistake has happened before. Sadly I don't think it will be the last either...

Totally agree. Moving around, carrying a dslr in one hand, people stop and double take all the time.

Great point Jason. Let's hope there is some footage of this incident in the hope that lessons can be learned...

Good luck with getting any dash or body cam footage...unless it shows a machine gun.

T'would seem US "law enforcement" often suffer from "unfortunate" issues with dash/body cams such as them being off when questionable acts on their part are concerned. Good luck

Seems like nobody is safe these days. Don't be a photographer or a woman in Pajamas reporting a crime or of an ethnic origin other than white.

Crazy idea... get rid of your guns! Or introduce VERY strict licensing.


Okay, now if this were a combat zone, a guy with a camera on a tripod might be mistaken from long distance as the spotter for a mortar team. But if that police officer thought someone was setting up a machine gun just for him, he needs his blood drawn.

"Mistaken by a gun" only by evilly stupid people--people both stupid and evil. Ordinary stupid people will just say "Wut?" Even soldiers in combat will look twice.

Only evil stupid people will see "pipes" and start shooting.

Photographers do it all the time, shoot first, ask questions later. Glad he's going to be OK. #PhotographersLivesMatter

What a moron.


It's a valid question, Robert. No further information has been released at this time...

There have been similar incidents where amateur - and sometimes even professional - astronomers were arrested as terrorists with rocket launchers. (Well, they're putting up this tube on a tripod in a dark field. They also yell at the police for shining lights on them.)

I'm surprised geocachers haven't had more problems. (They're using encrypted instructions to hide or retrieve an object in a secret location.)

Glad the photog in this case is expected to recover.

Sadly this shit happens. However after looking at other websites on this subject, I have to ask why an experienced journalist/Fotog would set up a tripod in an active parking lot around several light (strobes from Police units) to photo night skies and lighting.

Interesting questions Gary, it was rather late so the active parking lot may have been pretty empty and unused at that time of night, from what I have read the location is a very small town.

"I was going out to take pictures and I saw the traffic stop and I thought, 'Hey, cool. I'll get some pictures here.'"

Based on the quotes I've seen I wonder if maybe he was trying to get the police incident in his shot? Would make an interesting shot combined with some dramatic lightning...

Purley speculation at the point.

Traffic stops normally only last 10-15 minutes; that was probably his pre-chosen shooting spot and he probably figured the cop would be gone by the time he set up his gear.

Gary, it sounds like you're saying he should have, somehow, known better not to have set up where and when he did. If I'm wrong, please, correct me.

Personally, I have my camera on a tripod nearly all the time. Good thing I don't shoot 4x5 anymore.

OK so let me think. You have these crazy drunk criminals in USA driving on streets chased by 25 cops cars in a line behind, watched from helicopters by TV crews for entertainment of private TV channels and no one shoots at the tires of the car to stop it ASAP so they do not put in danger public... am I right, just keep the entertainment running until everyone is happy? Then as an opposite you have a shot fired on a person who in darkness was taking pictures but did not do anything crazy, no crime just setting up a camera and tripod.. how about next time a blind man comes out of a door of his house with his blind stick for walking and he gets shot because he carried a long stick in his hands which looked like a sniper rifle..? Just my 50 cents but there is something very wrong in society happening :(. SAD !!!

...."SAD !!!"

Not sad but alarming. Those cops are killers!

So it's night time. Probably very dark. A police officer had just pulled someone over for who knows what, and then a random Jeep parks nearby, and an unidentified person starts setting up what looks like a support device with a long barrel, and starts pointing it right at the police officer.

I'm just trying to picture all possibilities and viewpoints. It's easy for us to be armchair experts, basing our comments on catchy headlines.

It would've been smart to tell the officer exactly what you're doing ahead of time. They probably would've avoided this whole situation. I feel that both parties are to blame.

I hope the photographer is ok.

Michael Kormos says:

"So it's night time. Probably very dark. A police officer had just pulled someone over for who knows what, and then a random Jeep parks nearby, and an unidentified person starts setting up what looks like a support device with a long barrel, and starts pointing it right at the police officer..."

*If* the way you describe the situation is accurate then the police officer MAY have thought his life was at risk. The problem is it's all speculation.

I'd like to add that the location in question is a small town which is quoted as being a place where everybody knows everybody. In fact, Grimm the photographer who was shot actually knew the police officer who shot him.

If the officer in question regularly works in the evening and the photographer regularly takes pictures at night you'd have thought in such a small town where everybody knows everybody the officer would have recognized the vehicle at least? Just like your suggestions mine is also speculation.

As for your comment on "catchy headlines,"
"Photographer Shot by Police After Camera Mistaken for Weapon" might be catchy but it only contains the facts of the story. My intention was to accurately summarize the story.

Well look, I'll tell you this much. A local police officer has his fair share of pulling plenty of out-of-towners over. I don't think his first thought when he saw the unidentified person setting up a contraption of sorts was "Oh hey, that's the local photographer. He must be setting up a tripod with a telephoto lens with me in focus, and the stormy clouds behind me."

It's one of those split second decisions. Shoot or be shot. When both sides make the wrong decision, this is the sad result.

Setting up a tripod doesn't happen in a split second.

I've actually been meaning to trick out my monopod with bright colored tape and/or unicorn stickers because walking through the woods with a long piece of black metal no longer seems wise.

Not surprised. Someone thought I was carrying around a shotgun (canon with 70-200 on tripod) and called the cops. I was held at gun point by two officers , patted down, etc... I couldn't hear them initially so kept walking toward them...then they pulled.

Fortunately, we laughed at it. But it was a very real situation and I can't imagine what would've happened if it was dark, I was a minority, or was hard of hearing and couldn't hear them shouting .

sounds like a lot of speculation and judgement. How about getting all the info before posting rubbish like this next time.

Lots of speculations in the comments but 100% facts in the article. Its important stories like this are told. We reported the event with all the information we had at the time of posting.

Every news agency did exactly the same, feel free to scold them too.

WTF is the stock photo? Two suv cops pullling over another cop car in the desert? With mountains? Another case of there are no editors at FStopper. At least TRY to have the free stock photo relate to the story...

Living in Australia - this would never happen.. crazy stuff