Created By: Farenhiet on August 19, 2010 Last Edited By: Farenhiet on August 19, 2010
Troped

Shoot Him He Has A Wallet

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Ready for launch once we get a solid title

Possible Titles: Open Fire He Has A Wallet, Hes Got A Wallet, Armed With A Hair Dryer / Armed With A Wallet

"I shot a kid. He was 13 years old. It was dark. I couldn't see him. He had a ray gun, looked real enough..."
--Sergent Al Powell, Die Hard

Whenever a character is shot down because their attackers thought they had a weapon or where making a hostile movement. Most of the time the victim is held up at gunpoint, and decides it's a good idea to reach for something.

Occasionally the Idiot Ball is held by the victim or the attackers. See also Suicide by Cop. Sometimes involves He's Got a Weapon! and Poor Communication Kills.

This is a Death Trope, but I'll put spoiler tags up for the YKTTW.

Film
  • Played for laughs in Almost Heroes. "Hold your fire! It's only a ''squirrel!" "Oh." *beat* "He's got something in his hand! Ah!" *shooting ensues*
  • In An Innocent Man, this sparks the events of the plot when two police officers shoot a man holding a hair dryer. He lives, and fights for his innocence after being framed by said police officers.
  • The Day the Earth Stood Still starts off with Klaatu pulling out a strange device (his gift to the president) and getting shot by military personnel.
  • Die Hard. From the above quote.
  • In Casino, Bernie Blue is shot by a cop who thought his sandwich was a gun.
  • In Crash, Hansen, while off duty, shoots Peter when he reaches for his statuette.
  • Falling Down has a classic example, where D-Fens pulls a water gun on Prendergast, intentionally getting himself killed.
  • In Gran Torino Walt pulls out a lighter acting as if its a gun, intentionally scaring the gang to shoot him dead.

Live-Action TV
  • Both subverted and played straight in The Commish. Commissioner Scally and his Chief of Detectives are going undercover to gather evidence against a pornographer. At one point the pornographer reaches under his coat, the detective draws his gun shouting "Don't move!" only for it to be a cigar case. At the end of the episode they've no evidence against the pornographer, even though he indirectly caused the death of their friend's daughter. The pornographer is smirking at this, and reaches for a cigar to celebrate whereupon the detective shouts "Don't move!" and shoots him. Although the only other witness (a police officer who entered the room at that moment) backs up his statement that the criminal appeared to be reaching for a gun, Scally knows the truth and insists that the detective leave his department.
  • Subverted in Criminal Minds, where the killer reaches for his pocket, which turns out to contain only his phone. However, it's pretty clear that this was an intentional Suicide by Cop.
  • Lie to Me: In the episode "Undercover", Lightman is called in to determine whether a black teenager shot by cops actually was armed or whether it was a case of this.
  • Done in an early episode of The Shield: The Strike Team raids a gangbanger's house, and the banger in question flees out the back door. When the detectives pursue him, he turns around and points what looks like a gun in their direction, prompting Lem to shoot him (he survives). On closer examination, they see he wasn't carrying a gun, but a carton of untaxed cigarettes. Not wanting to face another Internal Affairs investigation, Vic plants a gun in the guy's hand. This is not the last screwup that they scramble to recover from in this episode.
  • X-Files had a Master of Illusion that committed Suicide by Cop by making Krychek think the guy had a gun. It turned out that he was actually holding a bible. What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic??

Western Animation
  • Played for Laughs in The Boondocks, when Uncle Ruckus is shot repeatedly by police for holding an orange safety-wallet. The city offers him 14 million dollars in compensation but he refuses to accept it, and instead accepts full blame, simply demanding to be hired as a police officer so that he can do the same thing to other black men.

Comic Books
  • In Transmetropolitan, soldiers opened fire on an unarmed mob of student protesters when one demonstrator went for his portable maker.
  • The "War Games" arc of the Batman comic continuity started when, at a meeting between Gotham mob bosses, one reached inside his jacket for a lighter.

VideoGames
  • In Alpha Protocol, a ice cream shop owner reaches for something in an intense situation, where the player has the option to shoot him. He pulls out an amazing looking three scoop ice cream cone for free.
  • Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood: In the final scene William gets in between Ray and Thomas' fight. He pretends to pull a gun intentionally getting shot and killed by Ray. He actually pulled the bible.
  • Twice in Heavy Rain
    • When Norman Jayden has the choice to shoot Nathaniel. He reaches around like he's about to stab Carter, but reveals a crucifix instead.
    • In one ending, Ethan is held up by the police. He simply turns around while holding his arm, and they shoot him...about ten times. You figured after the first they would've noticed he didn't have a weapon...
  • Subverted in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves , when Nate reaches for something while being held up, everyone points their guns at him. He just pulls out a container and shakes it at them.

Literature
  • Ragtime: Sarah dies by running up to a vice-presidential candidate with a furtively concealed baby.

RealLife
  • In 1999, a guy named Amadou Diallo was gunned down by four NYPD plainclothes cops who thought he was going for a gun (it was actually a wallet) and shot him forty-one times. Not surprisingly, this touched off a huge controversy about the motivations of the cops involved, and whether or not police brutality, racial profiling and/or "contagious shooting" were a factor in what happened. All four officers involved were acquitted.
  • This just happened in Las Vegas. Erik Sott, a former Green Beret/West Point graduate was shopping at a Costco when an employee saw he had a gun. Scott told the employee he had a concealed carry permit (which he did) but the employee called 911 to report "a gunman" was in the store. The man made his purchase and left to face three policemen with their weapons drawn. Witnesses say the policemen all shouted at him at the same time, one telling him to lie down while another one told him to "drop your weapon." He lifted his shirt to show the still holstered pistol and was killed "making a furtive movement." The policemen all testified that he was "waving his gun around."

Rolling Updates
Community Feedback Replies: 37
  • August 14, 2010
    BlackDragon
    Hmm... I remember an old movie starring Burt Reynolds that used this. Don't remember the name, but maybe someone else will.

    Basically, a pair of corrupt cops bust into what they THINK is the home of a drug-dealer, but it's actually the house of a completely-innocent Burt Reynolds. Hearing the noises, he walks out of his bathroom, holding a hair-dryer. One of the cops sees the outline, thinks its a weapon, and shoots him down. When, shortly afterwards, they realize that A: He's not the guy they were looking for B: He didn't have a gun and C: There are no drugs in the house, they figure they're screwed - even though, Burt being Burt, it was Only A Flesh Wound, so he's still alive. Determined not to take the fall, the cops then plant a gun (with his fingerprints on it) and some drugs in the house, thus justifying their action, and setting the plot in motion...
  • August 14, 2010
    randomsurfer
    See also Suicide By Cop.
  • August 14, 2010
    TwoGunAngel
    In 1999, a guy named Amadou Diallo was gunned down by four NYPD plainclothes cops who thought he was going for a gun (it was actually a wallet) and shot him forty-one times. Not surprisingly, this touched off a huge controversy about the motivations of the cops involved, and whether or not police brutality, racial profiling and/or "contagious shooting" were a factor in what happened. All four officers involved were acquitted.
  • August 14, 2010
    Reflextion
    Live Action TV
    • Done in an early episode of The Shield: The Strike Team raids a gangbanger's house, and the banger in question flees out the back door. When the detectives pursue him, he turns around and points what looks like a gun in their direction, prompting Lem to shoot him (he survives). On closer examination, they see he wasn't carrying a gun, but a carton of untaxed cigarettes. Not wanting to face another Internal Affairs investigation, Vic plants a gun in the guy's hand. This is not the last screwup that they scramble to recover from in this episode.
  • August 14, 2010
    Grandy
    Honestly, I think Open Fire He Has An Arm is the best title there.
  • August 14, 2010
    Farenhiet
    "Open Fire He Has A Wallet", anyone?
  • August 14, 2010
    Gringodingo
    On an episode of The Boondocks, Uncle Ruckus is shot repeatedly by police for his holding an orange safety- wallet. The city offers him 14 million dollars in compensation-- but he refuses to accept it, and instead accepts full blame, and simply demands to be hired as a police officer so that he can do the same thing to other black men.

    @Blackdragon: the movie was called ''Hard Frame."
  • August 14, 2010
    Odon
    • Inverted in "The Commish". Commissioner Scally and his Chief of Detectives are going undercover to gather evidence against a pornographer. A one stage the pornographer reaches under his coat, the detective draws his gun shouting "Don't move!" only for it to be a cigar case. At the end of the episode they've no evidence against the pornographer, even though he indirectly caused the death of a daughter of a friend of theirs. The pornographer is smirking at this, and reaches for a cigar to celebrate whereupon the detective shouts "Don't move!" then shoots him. Although the only other witness (a police officer who entered the room at that moment) backs up his statement that the criminal appeared to be reaching for a gun, Scally knows the truth and insists that the detective leave his department.
  • August 15, 2010
    Farenhiet
    @Gringodingo: I'm not sure what your talking about when you edited your post to "Hard Frame", but I put in the Tom Selleck movie as an example as well after looking it up.
  • August 15, 2010
    Lysythe
    In Transmetropolitan, soldiers opened fire on an unarmed mob of student protestors when one demonstrator went for his portable maker.
  • August 15, 2010
    Prfnoff
  • August 15, 2010
    Farmelle
    I prefer "Open Fire He Has A Wallet".
  • August 15, 2010
    Umptyscope
    This just happened in Las Vegas. Eric Sott, a former Green Beret/West Point graduate was shopping at a Costco when an employee saw he had a gun. Scott told the employee he had a concealed carry permit (which he did) but the employee called 911 to report "a gunman" was in the store. The man made his purchase and left to face three policemen with their weapons drawn. Witnesses say the policemen all shouted at him at the same time, one telling him to lie down while another one told him to "drop your weapon." He lifted his shirt to show the still holstered pistol and was killed "making a furtive movement." The policemen all testified that he was "waving his gun around."
  • August 15, 2010
    Maxmordon
    Happened in Casino, it was a sub wrapped in tinfoil.
  • August 16, 2010
    Arivne
    Thirding Open Fire He Has A Wallet.

    Film
    • Die Hard. John McClane asks Sergeant Al Powell why he isn't on the streets.
    Powell: I shot a kid. He was 13 years old. It was dark. I couldn't see him. He had a ray gun, looked real enough. When you're a rookie, they teach you everything about being a cop, except how to live with a mistake.
  • August 16, 2010
    Darkmane
    Might involve someone shouting Hes Got A Weapon.
  • August 16, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    This is the reason why you NEVER make any sudden/fast movements or reach for something that appears to be concealed near someone you believe would be trained to have "combat reflexes" (trained to attack the moment they suspect you're hostile) such as cops or soldiers. While they may be wrong in their assumption, their freaking out is fully justified.

    Also related to Poor Communication Kills.
  • August 16, 2010
    berr
    I suggest Hes Got A Wallet. That way it will line up neatly with the existing trope Hes Got A Weapon, which is very similar. Thoughts?
  • August 16, 2010
    Farenhiet
    I don't think the tropes are similar enough to need to related them by title, and "Open Fire He Has A Wallet" is more self-explanatory.
  • August 17, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    The "War Games" arc of the Batman comic continuity started when, at a meeting between Gotham mob bosses, one reached inside his jacket for a lighter.
  • August 18, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    In the book/movie/musical of Ragtime, Sarah dies by running up to a vice-presidential candidate with a furtively concealed baby.
  • August 18, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    X-Files had a Master Of Illusion that committed suicide-by-cop by making Krychek think the guy had a gun. It turned out that he was actually holding a bible. What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic?
  • August 18, 2010
    Farenhiet
    I'd like to get a image for this. Can someone supply a image of the exampled Transmetropolitan strip or something similar?
  • August 18, 2010
    Geargrinder
    Forgive my possible stupidity, but what does the rounded-corner square with 'R1' in the middle of the image mean? I see a guy with a pistol pointing it at a guy who reaches into his... is it a vest? and pulling something out. I think that an image for this trope is kind of hard to find, because we either don't know if the victim had a weapon or not, or just plain can't see it on the image.
  • August 18, 2010
    SeanMurrayI
    That picture is COMPLETELY unclear. I can't make out anything the guy is holding in his hand (let alone something that's supposed to be totally innocuous)
  • August 18, 2010
    Farenhiet
    So You Tube screenshot for an image was a bad idea. Please excuse my stupidity.
  • August 18, 2010
    SeanMurrayI
    I use You Tube screenshots on my pages all the time. If you're going to use one, just make sure it can be perfectly clear to everyone what it is.
  • August 18, 2010
    Geargrinder
    Looking for an image from the comic book examples would be best. Using that, we can juxtapose the image of 'opening fire' and the image of 'he had a wallet not a gun' if they're not next to each other already.
  • August 18, 2010
    Farenhiet
    I did load it in 720p, but it seems the cross gets washed into the background, and the shot was intended to hide the cross from the player. FYI the R1 represents firing his gun. See the Heavy Rain example.
  • August 18, 2010
    Geargrinder
    Thanks for clarification! Still, an exceptionally hard trope to find a picture for. Quite a challenge you made, sir.
  • August 18, 2010
    Ryusui
  • August 18, 2010
    foxley
    In the Lie To Me episode "Undercover", Lightman is called in to determine whether a black teenager shot by cops actually was armed or whether it was a case of this.
  • August 18, 2010
    SeanMurrayI
  • August 18, 2010
    Farenhiet
    I think I'll just have to let Wiki Magic hopefully find a picture, I can't find the Batman: War Games or Transmetropolitan: One More Time anywhere. I'll also change the name to Shoot Him He Has A Wallet unless anyone else prefers something different. Maybe Armed With A Hair Dryer, from the film An Innocent Man.
  • August 18, 2010
    bluepenguin
    Shoot Him He Has A Wallet sounds good to me. And I think it's fine if it launches without a picture; this doesn't strike me as the kind of trope that absolutely needs to be illustrated for people to understand it.
  • August 19, 2010
    Idler2.0
    This is subverted in Criminal Minds, where the killer reaches for his pocket, which turns out to contain only his phone. However, it's pretty clear that this was an intentional Suicide By Cop.
  • August 19, 2010
    Farenhiet
    Shoot Him He Has A Wallet it is. I'll launch it then
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=drx42hao6zcby87x44ec3vhs