January 4, 2011

Photograph — of wife, daughter, and mother-in-law — includes killer with gun aimed straight at the photographer...

... now, a dead man. The point of light in the center of the gun barrel is not the shot, but the reflection of the camera flash.


Scott M said...

I saw this picture this morning and felt a rare sense of actual horror. Sure, from an academic/photojournalist viewpoint this is one of those one-in-a-million shots (no pun), but it's a truly horrible slice of time, caught forever in still image.

chickelit said...

What's chilling is how many times we've seen such evil staged in movies. Life imitates art.

Fred4Pres said...

A very Althouse moment. Not that anyone is out to shoot you (we hope). But you love to shoot (with your camera) things around you.

It seems staged which makes the picture seems unreal. You have to remind yourself it is real.

HKatz said...

Caloocan city police Chief Jude Santos said the suspect was a car thief who was out on bail and likely sought revenge because Dagsa had ordered his arrest last year.

What a waste of human life, in a number of ways.

Triangle Man said...

Wow! Talk about your photobombs.

Alex said...

Liberals approve of the killer - he's only doing social justice after all...

Pastafarian said...

OK, I don't mean to be one of those guys making one of those conspiracy-theory comments based on slim technical evidence (Mick, in other words), but:

There's something off about this photo.

I've blown up this low-resolution photo as much as I can, and I'm not sure what sort of gun that's supposed to be. If it's a revolver, where's the cylinder? If it's a semiauto, it must be a purse-gun -- the thing is buried in his hands.

The shooter has his left hand in front of the weapon, probably cupped over the shooting hand, so he must be right-handed; but he's lining the sights up with his left eye.

And I've never seen a reflection off the end of a tube where the hole in the tube isn't visible.

Are there any other shots of this, or other resolutions available?

Scott M said...

but he's lining the sights up with his left eye.

Left-eye dominance.

I do the same thing, although I'm trying to overcome it with training. It comes from trained forever on rifles then moving late to pistols (at least for me). I've always been a deadeye out to extreme range with rifles shooting from my right shoulder, but using my left eye.

When I started learning pistols, I really had a problem with it. Still do when it comes to snap shooting.

Youngblood said...

I'm with Scott M and Fred4Pres. Even knowing you're looking at an assassin just before he shoots, it takes a moment to register, like it's a gag. And then when it does finally register, it's genuinely horrific. It's kind of like the old horror trope where a dead man's eyes capture the last thing he sees, updated for our crazy post-modern world.

Youngblood said...


Looking down the barrel of most pistols is fairly unimpressive. That's one of the reasons that Hollywood loves revolvers and loves shooting them close up. Shot straight on, something like a pocket pistol in a medium shot is not at all impressive, visually.

In this shot, we're looking directly down the barrel of a pistol with a short barrel. The flash is reflecting not only off of the ring of the muzzle, but the bullet and the inside of the barrel as well. Since digital cameras have piss poor definition and wash out to white very easily, it just shows up as an undefined circle of white.

This is one of those one in a million shots, but it's consistent with the way that a digital camera with a flash actually operates.

Pastafarian said...

Scott, Youngblood, I have a theory.

The more I look at the photo, the less sense it makes. The gleam that represents the end of a barrel is too close to what must be the trigger guard, to be any gun with which I'm familiar.

And every handgun I've ever seen doesn't have a perfectly planar end to the barrel, that would reflect a white disc back to the lens of the camera. The edges of the ends of a barrel are always filleted externally. The end of the barrel is essentially toroidal, and would scatter most of the light.

And if this was an autoloader, like a Colt 1911, then the end would appear ovular, particularly the flatter elements that would reflect light right back at the camera.

Here's my theory:

Maybe this is a small autoloader being fired left-handed by someone with a very unorthodox off-hand shooting stance, and it has a small auxiliary light attached under the slide and in front of the trigger guard (a little tactical mini flashlight), and it's either illuminated, or its mirror is reflecting the flash back to the camera.

So I was wrong about him shooting right-handed with a two-hand grip; and the article is wrong about the barrel reflecting and causing that white disc.

Youngblood said...


Pretty good eye.

Once it's pointed out, you can clearly see that the muzzle is above the white disc (look at where the shooter's left brow actually meets the pistol). It's entirely likely that the disc is a reflection of either the mirror or the planar glass or plastic lens over the bulb (look at how the flash reflects off of the mother in law's watch).

I'm not convinced that he's not in a two-handed stance, though. I can count the knuckles, fingers, and thumb of his left hand -- they're pretty clearly defined. His right is underneath that hand.

I think that problem is that it's natural to assume that because the pistol is in front of his left eye from the camera's POV that he's sighting with his left eye.

However, his left eye is partially closed and his right is wide open, and there's no reason he couldn't be sighting down the barrel with his right eye aiming at a point slightly to our right.

Considering that Dagsa was hit in the right forearm, which would have been just to the right of the camera (and our POV) that's not as crazy as it sounds.

Not that I'm all CSI or whatever.