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Subway Vigilante Bernie Goetz

Back on His Feet

2/28/2012 2:00 AM PST BY Johnny Lopez

Bernhard GoetzInfamously known as the NYC subway vigilante after shooting four men who tried to mug him back in 1984, Bernhard Goetz was spotted walking the streets of Manhattan armed with only a bag of groceries this weekend.

Goetz was eventually found guilty of criminal possession of a weapon and served eight months in jail.

While he did run for mayor of NYC in 2001 and even appeared in a few small films, the 64-year-old currently owns a store called Vigilante Electronics.

Fun fact: Goetz is mentioned in Billy Joel's hit song "We Didn't Start the Fire."



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969 days ago


Guy's a HERO. Along with Seal Team Six and Hacksaw Jim Duggan.

969 days ago



969 days ago

My Big Salami    

Another reason why California is the place to be! As Jim Morrison said "the west is the best"....New York ahhh not so much!

969 days ago


There should be more Bernies in tthe world. Great guy.

969 days ago

BB not bb    

It was hard to figure out this story back then. Was Bernie in mortal danger? He might have been in physical danger with four big black thugs trying to shake down a skinny white guy. People should be allowed to defend themselves, and yet, there is the question of how much.

One guy was paralyzed after being shot by Getz. Maybe Getz would have been the one paralyzed if they got him on the ground and kicked him in the spine. I think there should have been more reporting on how exactly he was approached that made him react that way.

It seemed crazy at the time but now I am not so sure.

969 days ago


Bernie should have NEVER served even one day in jail. So glad to hear about him and Vigilante Electronics - I love it!!!

969 days ago

Peter Sc    

He is hero. Not only for ordinary citizens in New York but even for ordinary citizens here in Denmark.

969 days ago


Bernard is a hero !

969 days ago


Goetz was seated and surrounded by men who demanded five dollars, any reasonable person would have feared for their life. This is called "strong armed robbery" where I come from and yes you have the right to protect yourself. It was also found later one of them had a long screwdriver in his pocket for no known reason (i.e. except to stab or threaten someone.) The below shows just how stupid his muggers turned out to be as they didn't learn their lesson from Goetz - In March 1985, soon after being released from the hospital for the treatment of his gunshot wound, James Ramseur falsely reported to police that two men hired by Goetz had kidnapped and attempted to kill him,[65] but was not charged in this hoax. In May 1985, Ramseur held the gun while an associate raped, sodomized and robbed a pregnant eighteen-year-old woman on the rooftop of the Bronx building where he lived, and in 1986 was sentenced to 8⅓ to 25 years in prison. According to the New York State Department of Corrections[66] inmate search site, Ramseur served his sentence and was released in July, 2010. Ramseur was found dead of a drug overdose, in an apparent suicide, in a Bronx, New York motel room on December 22, 2011, the 27th anniversary of the incident on the number 2 train.[67][68]

Barry Allen committed two robberies after the shooting, one of them a 1986 chain snatching in the elevator of the building where he lived.[54] The second arrest in May, 1991 brought him a sentence of three and a half to seven years for probation violation and third degree robbery. He was released on parole in December, 1995.[69][66][70]

After a number of minor arrests for petty offenses, Canty was ordered to undergo an 18-month drug treatment program at a rehabilitation center, which he completed in 1989.[71][70] He was later charged with assault, robbery, and resisting arrest in an altercation with his common-law wife in August, 1996, but was not convicted and did not serve time.[72]

969 days ago

the artist formerly known as hand turkey    

Vigilante has such a negative connotation, he should have bewn allowed to defend himself and should have not been given jail time.

I still remember when they used to tell people, in those situations to give the criminal whatever they want. Nowadays, they'll kill you anyway, I'd rather go down fighting.

968 days ago


Clearly this guy is a bad mother f***er!!!!

968 days ago


Those thugs had repeatedly robbed Goetz on the same subway. He finally got a gun to protect himself. He should never have gone to jail.

968 days ago


The military and police need to hire Goetz to supervise the interogation of terrorists caught in NYC, Lolol. His tools will be a jug of water and towel, and german shepard, a car battery and jumper cables, some undressed strippers eating pork ribs. And have the pig blood handy.

968 days ago


Love this guy. When you attempt to mug or kill someone, you deserve everything you get. Such a feel good story. Exterminate the thugs. The one guy will never walk again, good.

968 days ago
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