PDA

View Full Version : Cops defend firing 59 shots at one man


akamdg
August 19, 2009, 11:54 PM
I didn't post this article for whether or not the police were justified, I posted it because I thought it was shocking, the individual was able to be shot so much.

Cops defend firing 59 shots at one man
Civil rights leaders worried race played a role in death of suicidal neighbor
The Associated Press
updated 4:48 p.m. ET Aug. 19, 2009
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Alonzo Heyward carried a rifle around his low-rent Chattanooga neighborhood one day last month, ranting about suicide and ignoring the pleas of friends for hours before six city police officers surrounded him on his front porch and decided it had to end.

His father says Heyward told the officers, "I'm not out here to hurt anybody."

But police, who tried unsuccessfully to disarm Heyward, fired 59 rounds to kill him on July 18. The medical examiner found 43 bullet wounds in his chest, face, arms, hands, legs, buttocks and groin. Police contend Heyward was a danger to others and threatened the six officers.

Chattanooga police spokeswoman Jerri Weary described the case as "suicide by cop."

Civil rights leaders concerned
As questions continue to surround the shooting, Heyward's family and civil rights leaders take issue with the police response. Heyward, a 32-year-old moving company employee, was black. The six officers are white. They were temporarily placed on administrative leave but have since returned to work.

"We have a large concern about the amount of shots fired," said Valoria Armstrong, president of the Chattanooga branch of the NAACP.

A Chattanooga Times Free Press editorial cartoon asked "IS THIS EXCESSIVE FORCE?" — spelling out the question with letters labeling the wounds in a drawing based on Heyward's autopsy report.

His father, James Marine, 61, does not believe Heyward really wanted to kill himself or that he was trying to commit "suicide by cop."

"He just needed somebody to talk to," Marine said. "I believe he was just depressed at that time."

A Tennessee Bureau of Investigation inquiry is ongoing. Federal and local authorities are awaiting the TBI report before they do their own examinations of the case. Hamilton County District Attorney Bill Cox said he wants to see the TBI report before deciding whether to pursue a criminal case.

Police: There's 'no magic number'
Police spokeswoman Weary said the officers confronted Heyward when they responded to a report of three men wrestling over a gun in the street just after 4 a.m.

Heyward's father said there was never any wrestling over the .44 Magnum rifle that his son was carrying and sometimes pointing at his chin.

Police said the officers tried but failed to disarm Heyward with a stun gun. Weary said Heyward ignored repeated commands to drop the rifle and officers fired when they felt threatened by the way he moved it.

Police accounts and a patrol car video indicate the shots were fired in three volleys, all within 30 seconds. Each officer used a .45-caliber pistol. Some officers emptied their magazines, reloaded and fired again, while others didn't fire all their bullets, Weary said.

Some of the gunshots ripped through the unoccupied front room of the house Heyward was renting from his employer, the owner of a local moving company. No one else was injured.

Eugene O'Donnell, a former policeman and prosecutor who is now a professor of police studies at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, said there is "no magic number" when it comes to officers firing at a suspect.

If death is believed to be imminent "there isn't anybody in the country who can tell the cops 10 shots and no more," O'Donnell said.

"Unfortunately this is replicated all over the country. When you send the police they bring deadly force with them. They come armed and they come predisposed to use force," O'Donnell said.

Heyward's police record
According to court records, Heyward had been charged three times in the past with domestic assault. The first two were dismissed. The third, from a January 2008 incident, remained pending at the time of his death.

He was sentenced in 2005 to 11 months, 29 days in the county workhouse for passing worthless checks, but the sentence was suspended for good behavior and he was given probation.

He also had a few driving-related charges on his record, including a violation of the auto registration law for which he received a 30-day suspended sentence in 1997.


The morning he died, Heyward was distraught after returning from a party where he had been drinking, his father said.

"He didn't think anybody cared about him," Marine said.

Heyward also was upset about not seeing his children — a daughter and two sons — according to brother James Heyward.


Police told Heyward was drunk
The video shows that police were told Heyward was drunk and talking about killing himself before they started shooting.

Chattanooga police officers get two to four hours of training annually on dealing with people who are mentally ill or under the influence of drugs or narcotics. But Weary said the training could not be applied in this case because the situation was too fluid and unfolded too quickly.

Weary wouldn't say whether Heyward had a history of mental health problems, citing the ongoing investigation. Marine said his son had no history of mental illness.

Amanda Counts, Heyward's girlfriend, and neighbor Darrell Turner said they witnessed the shooting. They said Heyward was lying on the porch on top of the rifle when officers opened fire.

"Before the first shot was fired he was down," Counts said. "Not one time did he threaten anyone."

'Why are you shooting me?'
Citing the ongoing investigation, police declined to answer questions about Heyward's position when officers started shooting.

Counts and Turner both said that during the first brief interruption in the barrage of police gunshots, they heard Heyward ask, "Why are you shooting me?"

That cannot be heard in the recording provided by police.



Police Chief Freeman Cooper this month told Chattanooga radio station WGOW the simultaneous shooting by all six officers shows they acted properly.

"We are saying that our people did what we trained them to do," the chief said.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32478013/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Wagonman
August 20, 2009, 12:14 AM
That is a whole lot of .45s and he was still a threat. That doesn't make me happy. I thought a double tap of 230gr love would settle most BGs down.

Thank god the Cops are ok, very pleased the brass is backing up the Coppers.

Trigger Finger
August 20, 2009, 12:25 AM
My first thought was that a shotgun was used and each pellet hit was counted as another GSW. The article said only .45 calibers were used.
Sounds like someone needs to spend more time at the range!

MajorWhiteBoy
August 20, 2009, 12:50 AM
usually, these types of things have not much effect on me. this story bothers me. if he ever pointed that gun anywhere near anyone, fine. he got what he deserved.

if he truly was on the ground, and asked in between volleys why he was being shot, it makes me sad. not just for him, but for everyone involved.

armsmaster270
August 20, 2009, 01:05 AM
43 wounds with some of them in his chest would indicate all shots were not while he was lying down. and the witness said he was lying on top of his rifle sounds more like he fell on it.

jgcoastie
August 20, 2009, 01:08 AM
Deadly force triangle

1. Weapon. Does the suspect have a weapon?

2. Opportunity. Could the suspect reasonably access and use the weapon? Is the officer within the max effective range of the weapon?

3. Action. Does the suspect attempt to or actually gain, draw, aim the weapon at the officer?

If the officers involved can reasonably articulate these three points (or whatever three sides of the DFT they are taught in their academy), I see no reason why they would/should face prosecution.

I feel for the family of the suspect, however if the had the good sense that God gave a chicken, he would have put the dadblamed gun down whe he was told to do so. If I'm looking down the barrels of 6 .45's held by 6 police officers, I'm not going to push the issue at the moment. We can argue the finer points of the 2nd Amendment later, for the moment I'll stick to doing exactly what they're saying.

LanceOregon
August 20, 2009, 02:29 AM
If I'm looking down the barrels of 6 .45's held by 6 police officers, I'm not going to push the issue at the moment.

Dude:

Did you not read the story? The guy wanted to commit suicide.

The police did exactly what the man wanted them to do.

--

MajorWhiteBoy
August 20, 2009, 02:51 AM
it's a rediculously strong possibility that he made a motion that indicated a threat, and most people would have fired on him. but if he never intended to, i feel pitty for him. he messed up. he got shot. that being said, if he truly meant no ill will, which is something the cops could not have known, then i do feel bad for him. i don't condemn the police officers involved, but i'm glad i don't have to do anything more than give my thoughts on a forum when it comes to this. if he did ask "why are you shooting me?" i think it would haunt me to my grave.

GojuBrian
August 20, 2009, 02:57 AM
I have no problem with the number of rounds fired at someone threatening with a .44magnum rilfe.

6 cops with two mags each doesn't take long to equal 59rds. They do need practice though.

How many times should police shoot someone? Until the threat stops. If that's 5 good, 59 good, 559 so what. :rolleyes:

LanceOregon
August 20, 2009, 03:42 AM
Gun violence in Chattanooga is getting out of hand. The police have been very hard pressed.

The city council recently voted to ban all guns from City parks and campgrounds, including those concealed by CCW permit holders too.

The department issued handgun is the S&W 4566, which holds 8 +1 rounds:

http://www.bowersweapons.com/100_0327.JPG


So if six officers emptied their guns, that would account for 54 shots right there.


--

SoupieXX75
August 20, 2009, 04:27 AM
After 6 mags of .45, what is there left to shoot at??

I'm not trying to be judgmental, but I am picturing swiss cheese...

jmr40
August 20, 2009, 05:18 AM
43 hits out of 59 shots is 73%. That is pretty good shooting. I have read that the average is around 25% in police shootings. The whole thing lasted less than 30 seconds from 1st shot to last. I suspect he was dead on his feet within a few seconds and just took a while to go down. Never shot a man, but have seen deer react that way to perfectly good shots.

Skan21
August 20, 2009, 05:23 AM
Seems excessive. I mean, 43 .45's? Seems like a lot. Did they shoot the guy until he stopped moving? I don't particularly care, as I was not the one shot, and moreover I wasn't there. 43 seems like a lot though.

chris in va
August 20, 2009, 06:22 AM
Where the heck were the AR's? One shot would have done the job.

rburch
August 20, 2009, 09:38 AM
After 6 mags of .45, what is there left to shoot at??

I'm not trying to be judgmental, but I am picturing swiss cheese...

Six guys can put a lot of lead down range in very little time. I have no problem believing that many rounds could be fired before he went down.

I'm pretty sure I could get through 2 mags in the 30 seconds they say the shooting took. Not sure how accurate I'd be, but should be able to get close to 75% into a torso target.

Scattergun Bob
August 20, 2009, 09:56 AM
"on any given day, the suspect in your sights many not favorably accept (react to) the flavor of caliber in your magazine."

A standard used in my world is to KEEP firing until the focus of my attention is no longer a threat. A standing man with a gun, projecting hostile intent is still a active target First shot until Last shot fired. The key is for the good guys to be the ones firing the last shot!

I never second guess shooting incidents, there are so many variables. Just glad the good guys won.

Good Luck & Be Safe

Mello2u
August 20, 2009, 10:48 AM
http://wdef.com/files/Alonzo_A_Heyward_Medical_Examiner%20Report_20090803_025557.pdf

After looking at the preliminary autopsy report (link above), there are only two chest wounds! There are a total of 22 bullet wounds on the anterior portion of the body. This preliminary report does not distinguish between entrance and exit wounds.

Looks like only two good hits out of 59 rounds fired!

So this sheds light on why so many rounds were fired, because most missed.

Longdayjake
August 20, 2009, 11:10 AM
When deadly force is used sometimes you dont realize how many times you are pulling the trigger. I have had officers tell me after a shooting that they thought they shot 2 or three times when they actually emptied a magazine. I have had other officers say that they emptied their magazine when they only shot 2 or three times, dropped a loaded mag and loaded another. I have had officers say that they saw their bullets hit a BG when in fact they missed. The mind plays tricks on you when its pumped with all kinds of adrenaline chemicals.

jmr40
August 20, 2009, 12:58 PM
You really expect a sniper to shoot the gun out of someones hand to solve problems. Sounds like they followed procedures pretty well and this is clearly a good shoot. The report says 3 volleys of fire can be heard on video within 30 seconds. It would appear that the suspect pointed his gun at one of the officers. All 6 fired 1-3 shots and paused to re-evaluate the situation. The suspect was still on his feet and a threat so another volley of 1-3 shots per officer was fired. The suspect was still a threat so a 3rd volley was fired after a pause to evaluate the situation. I realize my theory is speculation, but based on the news report it seems very likely.

No gun can guarantee someone will drop on the spot. I've seen animals shot with non-survivable wounds stand perfectly still for 15-20 seconds before falling. Or run for 100+ yards with no heart left and holes through both lungs from 30-06 wounds

As far as the number of hits, that is pretty good shooting. A person being shot is not going to stand still with a bullseye drawn on his chest. As far as there only being 2 wounds to the chest, that means little. After the first shots the suspect may have been kneeling, squating, sitting, of laying down. For sure he is going to be moving, a lot. His chest may have not been exposed.

Edit:

When I started typing I was responding to a post suggesting a sniper could have ended this by shooting the suspects rifle. Since the moderators have deleted that post, mine makes less sense.

pax
August 20, 2009, 01:00 PM
Moderator Note

I deleted a couple of posts for generalized cop-bashing and too much cussing. If you want to bash all cops, do it elsewhere. If you have something else to say, make your point minus profanity, please.

pax

James K
August 20, 2009, 01:24 PM
A pretty common situation when there are several officers involved. Each one thinks only of the need to defend himself and keeps firing. The result is, literally, overkill. Even if the shooting was justified, the image is of a police force run amok, firing wildly and with little concern for the life not only of the target, but for the lives of innocent people.

I don't know the answer, but perhaps there should be some order naming a team leader who will determine in advance who shoots and when, and calls for a cease fire when the victim is no longer a threat. There seems to have been plenty of time to establish control while the police were trying to persuade the man to drop the rifle.

Jim

pax
August 20, 2009, 01:56 PM
A little light reading for those who believe that a suicidal suspect poses no "real" danger to responding officers:

http://www.forcescience.org/fsinews/2009/07/force-science-news-126-new-study-yields-best-profile-yet-of-suicide-by-cop-offenders-and-their-threat/

And a little light reading for those who do not understand how or why that many rounds might be fired in such a short time by responding officers:

http://www.forcescience.org/fsinews/2005/07/study-reveals-important-truths-hidden-in-the-details-of-officer-involved-shootings/

pax

jbrown50
August 20, 2009, 02:08 PM
As far as the number of hits, that is pretty good shooting. A person being shot is not going to stand still with a bullseye drawn on his chest. As far as there only being 2 wounds to the chest, that means little. After the first shots the suspect may have been kneeling, squating, sitting, of laying down. For sure he is going to be moving, a lot. His chest may have not been exposed.

This seems to be what most people fail to realize. An adversary isn't going to just stand still like a paper target.

This guy was suicidal, had lots of priors, had been drinking and was likely pretty strong physically from working for a moving company. It's just one of the examples of what could happen when you cross paths with someone who has come to the conclusion that they have nothing else to lose.

pax
August 20, 2009, 02:10 PM
One more interesting read for those interested in learning: http://forcescience.org/articles/tempestudy.pdf

That one is a fascinating look at response times.

pax

bds32
August 20, 2009, 02:11 PM
59 rounds and six police officers comes out to close to ten rounds per officer. I know some fired more some fired less. But it doesn't take very long at all for six officers to shoot 59 times especially when all six perceive an immediate threat to themselves and/or others. As stated, the number will always sound excessive to the public and to the untrained.

As usual, the family and friends have attempted to turn him into a nobel peace prize winner who was just having a rough day. He didn't really mean to hurt anyone. If a person gets drunk, arms himself with a rifle, talks of suicide, and then walks around in public, threatening others, there should be every expectation that six police officers will show up and then react to the threat presented.

Nothing wrong with this deal what so ever.

ChileVerde1
August 20, 2009, 08:40 PM
A while back when some dirtbag in Polk County, Florida who got pulled over in a routine traffic stop ended up executing the deputy who stopped him. The deputy was shot eight times, including once behind his right ear at close range. Another deputy was wounded and a police dog killed. A state wide manhunt ensued. The low-life was found hiding in a wooded area with his gun. SWAT team officers opened fire and hit the guy 68 times. Naturally, the media went nuts and asked why they shot him 68 times. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, told the Orlando Sentinel, “Because that’s all the ammunition we had.” Talk about an all-time classic answer. Gotta admire the man for being honest.

God bless all LEO's that have to take a life in the line of duty. Sometimes the worst part of it is not the actual shooting but the scrutiny you recieve afterward from everybody. Monday morning QB's will say "couldn't they have used non lethals or shot him in the leg or something?" I've heard it all! Those poor guys will get it from all sides; their own IA, the public, the media, yes even some of their own colleagues will even chip in. They'll be called racists, stormtroopers, etc... by those in the Ivory tower's that have the luxury to sit back, reflect, and opine on their actions. It's been my experience that those who bash Cops do so because they've been on the wrong side of the law at some time or another!

jbrown50
August 21, 2009, 09:31 AM
It's been my experience that those who bash Cops do so because they've been on the wrong side of the law at some time or another!

True, there are some who have a hidden or personal agenda or even a political agenda but I think one of the problems is that good cops suffer because of what bad cops do. Cops are human beings and they make mistakes but there are a few who are tyrannts with a badge and those few make it tougher for the real cops to do their jobs properly and without undue public scrutiny. We tend to naively ignore the warning signs until it affects us personally.

The biggest problem though is that too many of us are unwilling to address quality of life issues in our communities that when left to fester will ultimately lead to tragic situations such as this one. We expect the police to somehow magically be able to peacefully quell a situation that we have allowed through neglect to reach it's plateau.

Another problem is that we say we support the police and give lip service, that is until we're stopped and ticketed by one for doing 60 mph in a 25 mph zone with children playing nearby or for driving erratically while talking on the cell phone. We make comments such as: "why are you harrassing me, you should be out there chasing drug dealers" when our irresponsible and hypocritical actions are just as dangerous to innocent life as the drug dealer's.

skidmark
August 21, 2009, 12:35 PM
In my mind it's not the number of rounds fired, or rounds hitting, that matters. It's what the person being shot at does once the shooting begins.

As far as I'm concerned, it is "shoot until the threat is stopped" or all the shooting you do will just **** off the person you are shooting. If it means that you shoot the person to the ground to ensure the threat is stopped, then so be it. At least you will be alive to deal with any legal repercussions that may arise.

In the case at hand my mind says the cops were also thinking "shoot him to the ground" as the way to assure the threat was stopped.

Note that none of what I post has to do with whether or not the shooting was justified, necessary, apopropriate or excessive. It is merely one person's thoughts on when you decide to stop shooting.

stay safe.

skidmark

Sparks2112
August 21, 2009, 12:39 PM
Just goes to show they're not death-rays. Also, if you take a look at the autopsy report, only 2 shots were anywhere near COM....

Now repreat after me...

Placement is king, Placement is king, Placement is king....

Deaf Smith
August 21, 2009, 09:02 PM
First off, I presume all six cops fired.

59 rounds 43 hits.

That's just about 10 shots per cop.

Now in real life, when someone raises a gun toward you, you don't say, "mine", like vollyball. Each of the cops reacted. Each fired pretty much at the same time. All fired till the BG dropped.

Yep, 59 shots, no suprise. 43 hits, hey, that's good shoot'en.

Does anyone here really think in combat one GI says, "my shot', and opens up on the machinegun nest? No, right?

It was not excessive force for EACH of the cops. They did what they did cause they knew they had to stop the guy with the rifle. Ten shots can be shot in just a second or two, before the BG even hits the round, by someone who can shoot. And from that hit rate, I think those cops could shoot.

Simple as that.

And as Randy Harris said, "People who point guns at the police tend to get shot. People who point guns at a lot of police tend to get shot a lot."

Mello2u
August 22, 2009, 12:27 AM
Deaf Smith

First off, I presume all six cops fired.

59 rounds 43 hits.

That's just about 10 shots per cop.

Now in real life, when someone raises a gun toward you, you don't say, "mine", like vollyball. Each of the cops reacted. Each fired pretty much at the same time. All fired till the BG dropped.

Yep, 59 shots, no suprise. 43 hits, hey, that's good shoot'en.

They may have a hit rate of about 37%. Only 2 wounds were center-of-mass. There may have been as few as 22 hits, if it is assumed that the wounds on the anterior body were entry wounds; and those on the posterior body exit wounds. There were a total of 43 wounds which counted both entrance and exit wounds. Most of those 22 possible hits were below the waist. See the preliminary autopsy report.

Poor bullet placement for most of the shots that hit.

LightningJoe
August 22, 2009, 05:37 AM
43 hits of 45 Auto would have turned a block of ballistic gelatin into mush. But people aren't made out of Jello. Stopping power=psychology. If he's determined to continue functioning, just poking holes is not a good way to stop him.

skoro
August 22, 2009, 12:30 PM
I can imagine that the cops were tense and the adrenaline levels were high. But 43 .45acp hits? Seems like a blatant case of overkill.

cowboy33713
August 22, 2009, 02:12 PM
Howdy-
Would like to say right off the top that I HAVE worn the uniform.
I CANNOT say I am at all surprised about the statement that cops bring deadly force with them and are PREDISPOSED to use it- Many shall do so as their First Choice! Given a chance, many want to. I have seen this mentality first hand ; it is ugly. " 43 wounds with some of them in his chest would indicate all shots were not while he was lying down." How so? Is it impossible to shoot a man in the chest if he is on the ground with six cops emptying their guns into him?
It sure SOUNDS excessive- sounds like the "majic number" of rounds is "how many do you have?"
__________________
- it is ugly. stinks to high heaven.

Double Naught Spy
August 22, 2009, 09:10 PM
Poor bullet placement for most of the shots that hit.
People say stuff like this a lot, but it oversimplifies the nature of the target. You don't just place your bullets on the target. It is a dynamic moving entity. Plus, the optimal portion of the target isn't always what is available.

I can imagine that the cops were tense and the adrenaline levels were high. But 43 .45acp hits? Seems like a blatant case of overkill.

Nope. You just have 6 individual cops firing until the threat was negated. At no time were any of the cops counting the number of hits and calling for a ceasefire because the pre-ordained proper number of hits had been attained. No such criterion exists. If the suspect would have collapsed sooner, the cops would have stopped shooting sooner.

Nnobby45
August 22, 2009, 09:44 PM
How many times should police shoot someone? Until the threat stops. If that's 5 good, 59 good, 559 so what.

59 rounds? It's a bogus point. As DNaught pointed out, each cop is responsible for the rounds he/she fired and not those fired by other cops. If shots were fired until the individual was incapacitated, then each cop followed his training. Each cop involved fired about 10 rds., and isn't accountable for the other 49 rds fired by someone else.

Agreed that marksmanship wasn't exactly stellar, though the man who wanted to be shot suffered 43 hits--- which represents reasonably good marksmanship based on police shootings.

Rifleman 173
August 22, 2009, 09:46 PM
Drunk and armed??? Sounds like "terminal stupidity" to me. Never get blitzed and start waving guns around. Social events like that end up with somebody landing on the coroner's table full of bullet holes. It doesn't matter what color, religion or anything that you are. It's nature's way of thinning out the gene pool.

bcarver
August 22, 2009, 10:10 PM
I saw this term used.
How dead was this guy?
Was he completely dead or just a little dead?
I think cops should only shoot until the suspects are just barely dead.
Not overly dead but dead.
I also think they should wait until the suspecttry to shoot them like Matt Dillon did on Gunsmoke
Seems like six cops made the same decision...This guy needs to be shot and shot until he drops.
If the perp didn't want to be shot at 59 times he should have dropped his weapon or hit the ground faster.

Man lying on ground with rifle or sniper in prone postion.
distraught drunk young man or guy who shot veteran cop who hesitated to fire weapon.
It is all about spin and timing.

T. O'Heir
August 23, 2009, 02:30 AM
59 rounds? Geezuz! A cop, up here, fired 19 rounds, last week, and missed with every one. Justifiable discharge, while running after the criminal twit, according to the news reports. Bullets were sent all over a residential neighbourhood. Hit houses, garages, etc.
Our cops are a good bunch of people, but they can't shoot.
"...or rounds hitting, that matters..." Except that most people think that cops are trained to use the kit well. They're not. If you're issued a firearm to defend the populace, you should be competent with the equipment. Most are not. The days of cops being shooters before they get hired are long gone.
"...Where the heck were the AR's?..." Line cops don't get a rifle.

JohnLaird
August 23, 2009, 06:10 AM
1. Correct me if I'm wrong but don't most shootings happen when you mix drugs/alcohol or mental illness with guns? 2-4 hours of annual training is a joke.
2. Most shootings ARE very fluid and things happen very fast. They should have been trained to deal with it.
3. Those cops could have easily killed a bystander with that much shooting.

PT111
August 23, 2009, 07:27 AM
I saw this term used.
How dead was this guy?
Was he completely dead or just a little dead?
I think cops should only shoot until the suspects are just barely dead.
Not overly dead but dead.
I also think they should wait until the suspecttry to shoot them like Matt Dillon did on Gunsmoke

Is that like being just a little bit pregnant? Matt Dillon was so much faster than anyone else he could wait on the other guy like a lot of gun carriers of today. Cops normally don't get enough training to have that advantage. :D

Rich Keagy
August 23, 2009, 09:33 AM
I thought the cop rule went something like this: "When one of us (cops) starts shooting, all the cops empty their guns into the threat." Also, "A cop who doesn't observe this rule is an unreliable partner."
That's just what I've heard.
I neglected to add that I am not a law enforcement officer.

ilbob
August 23, 2009, 09:50 AM
If someone is trying to kill me and I have a gun in hand, I probably will keep shooting until I perceive the guy is no longer a threat. I cannot fault the officers involved for the number of shots fired.

Whether it was a justified shooting gets decided by colleagues of those who did the shooting. In fact, they announced their decision on that point pdq.

I thought the cop rule went something like this: "When one of us (cops) starts shooting, all the cops empty their guns into the threat." Also, "A cop who doesn't observe this rule is an unreliable partner."
That's just what I've heard. Its not far from the truth. But it is not just cop culture. It is human nature. If someone is shooting you feel the need to do so too. Especially once your adrenaline gets going and you are on a hair trigger.

The reality is that if it happened the way the police tell the story, is the guy was not rational and trying to reason with someone who is not rational is not likely to be successful. At some point the cops may have had little choice in the matter.

One might argue about their tactics, or the way they choose to handle the situation, but once it started to go down, its tough to see it going any other way than how it did.

verti89
August 23, 2009, 10:14 AM
"3. Those cops could have easily killed a bystander with that much shooting. "

I'm sorry but bystanders who are watching six cops face of with an armed crazy person? Kind of like watching a train wreck from on the train isn't it? I am not saying they deserve to be shot but if people start pulling out guns and im not one of them...i will be vacating the premises.

nitetrane98
August 23, 2009, 12:07 PM
Here's a few thoughts for those without any LE background. When you get a call on something like this everybody who is remotely close to the scene runs hot to get there. Adrenalin pumping like mad. Generally speaking the first to respond will be the primary officer. Of course a supervisor will be enroute too, sometimes, but not always, he will take the role of PO when he arrives. Depending on the call.
6 regular patrol officers do not train together like a SWAT team will. I can only imagine the amount of confusion and chaos that might have gone on before the shooting began. One of the biggest clusterf#### I've ever seen happened at a multi agency felony stop. Poor sucker, armed robbery suspect, at gunpoint by 4-5 officers and each of them telling him to do something different. "Hands in the air," Hands behind your head." "On the ground." 'Don't move." "Turn around slowly." "Get on your knees." "Stand up, sit down, fight fight fight"

Each officer at the OP had a different perspective, different experience, different gun handling ability, and different mindset in how they intended to deal with such a situation. I seriously doubt that any one of them could tell you who fired the first shot. But I will bet that since all of them fired in unison, they all saw the same thing. One might have reacted a hair faster than the others.

The notion that every officer has to empty his gun is not completely farfetched but actually not completely true in my experience. I backed up a situation once that ended in an OIS. The guy and his partner emptied their guns into a car and wounded the BG. I didn't have a clear shot at the BG so I didn't shoot. It kind of reminded me of recon by fire but I didn't think I needed to add to the suppressive fire. This particular BG never fired a shot. He did pull a gun from under the seat however. Nobody said a thing about it to me. The partner caught hell from the rest about 15 rounds fired and no hits, though.