Well, the more crowded a situation, then the more dangerous firing a gun becomes, making it more certain that one will hit someone innocent, which is good reason to restrict guns from the popular areas. In a populated area if you aim a gun horizontally, then there are people walking the street, driving in cars, sitting on the first floor behind windows. If you aim for the second floor, then there are people sitting there too, and on the third, and fourth, and so on. So try to aim down, no, there are people in basements, in NYC and other cities there are underground trains, and utilities underground, so don’t aim down either. If you can’t aim up, horizontally, nor down, then where can you aim safely?
The police are supposed to be practiced professionals, the police near the Empire State Building were patrolling that area regularly, the area was familiar to them. That spot is one of the busiest spots in NYC, and so very crowded with people and cars, a spot so busy that having guns there at all is a bad idea. In that situation, the police’ bullets ricocheted off of some heavy planters, planters so heavy because they were meant to keep Al Quieda away from the Empire State Building, the news is hinting that nine of the eleven people were shot by police bullets. The police fired sixteen rounds, in order to stop one armed person.
Was it all worth it, or not?
It wasn’t worth it.
NYPD responded very badly to the incident; but no amount of better training would really help, because as you pointed out it’s a crowded area with no clearing.