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Old July 16, 2008, 01:21 AM   #1
gvf
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"Here Come the Cops ! NOW What Do I Do?'

I guess usual advice if ever in shooting to avoid the cops shooting you in error, is to call 911, let them know this was SD, who you are (good guy) and describe yourself, clothes etc. Fine, but I can see times when that wouldn't work. An example:

Smoke clears, BG is down and not moving, stunned you stand there, gun in hand. But you do remember after a bit to call 911. You do and go through the above info pretty quickly, and - because this is usually how you end a cell call - (you only use it occasionally) - and your attention is riveted on the inert BG - you disconnect and turn off the phone soon as you're done talking. So 911 can't get further info to you - but you're not thinking so clearly. Seems but a few seconds after that: sirens are all over the place, and here they come! How the cops got there so quick is secondary to your relief and you feel pretty safe as they know you're the good-guy. Doors open and, gun still unconsciously held out a bit , you turn quickly towards them to point at yourself so they make the connection you are the caller and to shout "It's OK!". Unfortunately, the first police round has just hit you in the throat - and there's merely a gurgling sound as you go down.

What happened? A bystander a distance away saw "one man shooting another", called 911 immediately, before you did after your long stunned pause. The second report from 911 (from you) is starting but the cops are responding to the first, now exiting cars and drawing and hyped beyond belief. They have seen the "man who shot the other man", gun in hand - the other man lying inert - quickly turning towards them with a gun partially raised and he's screaming in rage. Adrenaline takes over...

Far fetched? maybe, but a shooting is adrenaline-city for everyone, and that's when things easily go haywire. And there are other situations also that could screw up the call being made period, or being made but garbled after the first part in transmission, static etc, and others as well.

So, what is a good and safe "always" routine to go through right after a shooting, say with the BG down and inert to make it simpler. E.g. what do you do with the gun? Especially if the cops are pulling up? Hold on? - seems very risky. Move your arm to place it in holster or on the ground? Seems very risky. And then what do you do? etc., etc., etc.: for anytime, having called or not. Because one thing seems clear to me: assume nothing as far as what the cops may know or may not know.

Last edited by gvf; July 16, 2008 at 07:36 AM. Reason: edit
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Old July 16, 2008, 04:31 AM   #2
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For one I wouldn't hang up with the 911 operator until the police were inside my residence and were aware of who I was. Secondly if the perp is down and out I would immediately secure my weapon in a holster even if it is just holstered sitting on a counter or table.
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Old July 16, 2008, 06:13 AM   #3
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First thing I'd have to say that I wouldn't get off the phone with 911 unless something forced me to. If I'm at home I want the operator to tell me "They are on scene NOW". If I'm in public I want 911 to hear everything that happens after the shoot if stuff gets stupid with onlookers, accomplices, or the BG himself. I don't turn off my phone when I'm done with it...the batteries are rechargeable.

What to do with your gun is another story...I have no training on this but common sense tells me that if the BG is still alive and capable of trying to re-arm (hopefully you have kicked/moved his/her gun away from their hands) your gun stays out in low ready. Especially if you're not sure that there's not another BG around waiting to get you. You're standing somewhere you won't be putting anyone else in cross-fire should the worst happen again. You be sure to relay what you're doing and your position to the 911 operator so the police know what to expect when they enter the scene.

On the other hand, BG is not moving or breathing AND I'm sure that no one else is lurking? Gun gets re-holstered. 911 is informed of that fact too.

Worst case the police enter and have received no info about the details of the shooting, follow their orders to the letter, don't argue and tell your story until THEY consider themselves safe. Don't assume you know what they want you to do and make a move with a firearm in your hand.
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Old July 16, 2008, 06:22 AM   #4
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1. Safety and re-holster your weapon immediately! You don't need a cell phone picture of yourself standing over the body with a smoking gun.
2. Call 911 (even if someone else already has) and do not hang up with the dispatcher until the LEOs arrive.
3. Do NOT touch anything, or allow anyone else to touch anything pertaining to the scene/evidence.
4. Do NOT discus the incident with ANYONE, especially the press, if they arrive (they monitor police radio bands). If possible, do not allow pictures of you especially, or anything pertaining to the incident to be taken, except by the LEOs. If pictures are taken, point out the photog to the LEOS, they may want the pics for evidence.
5. When the police arrive, do exactly what they say, no matter how unfair it may seem. They will probably confiscate your weapon. You may be searched. You may be handcuffed and placed in the back of a patrol car. You may be arrested.
6. Briefly, and as clearly as possible, tell the officers FACTUALLY what happened, then ask to speak with a lawyer before you say anything else. Point out witnesses, if any. Some LEOs will try to discuss the incident in length with you, do not do this until you have legal representation.

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER apologize for shooting!!! In court, an apology can be taken as an expression of remorse or guilt. A good prosecutor will take that and run with it, and a jury will go where they're led. You can never be sorry for actually defending your life. To the contrary, do not act with bravado and strut around. ("Yea, I shot the m-f! That's one less!") Simply be normal. Evidence will do a lot to get you off and so will your attitude and demeanor.

I think that's about it, but someone else will probably think of something I forgot.
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Old July 16, 2008, 06:58 AM   #5
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My CCW instructor, a retired officer, had some simple advice for when LE arrives after a self-defense/home defense shooting. What one says (and doesn't say) is critically important. He recommended just a few things to say:

"Officer, I want this man arrested." (regardless of medical condition of BG)

"I feared for my life."

After this, refer all further statements to your attorney (go silent). In his opinion, the potential for "civil" action from the BG's family, regardless of how blatantly guilty the BG may have been in the original incident, is perhaps the greatest down-the-road threat to the innocent defender. He spoke from personal experience in this...seemed like sound advice.
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Old July 16, 2008, 07:23 AM   #6
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delete

Last edited by gvf; July 16, 2008 at 07:56 AM. Reason: delete
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Old July 16, 2008, 07:24 AM   #7
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Quote:
the potential for "civil" action from the BG's family,
I believe that. Remember, a criminal jury decides "beyond a reasonable doubt". A civil jury decides on "the preponderance of evidence".
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Old July 16, 2008, 07:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
. Call 911 (even if someone else already has) and do not hang up with the dispatcher until the LEOs arrive.
What do you do with your hands, especially if say, it's night on the street, the police will see an object (the cell) in your hand. (I agree with you by the way about staying on phone: "But there's the rub!": You have an object in your hand in the dark -)

I called 911 in New York in my building once, hearing screaming.(Obviously I had no gun there). On the way downstairs to see if I could place it's location, the super of the building explained it was a resident who was mental and occasionally "went off" but was harmless. I strode outside to wait and tell cops it was nothing when they arrived. Bingo, they were already there, in force, getting out of cars. Soon as they saw me exiting building with object in my hand (cell), they all immediately moved back in the cars, and slammed the doors. I realized at once I had made an error keeping anything in my hand, and raised arms straight up, stopping in my tracks - with cell held plainly visible. They gave me orders from afar to approach and how to do it. Then relaxed when I told them I had called. (Payed no attention to my saying everything was OK though and went in in force and talked to super themselves, some staying near me outside. Why? If as an assaulter in a domestic fight knows the victim has called 911, pretending he was the caller and it is now unnecessary for them to stay is a tactic cops are familiar with. So, they investigate anyway - while keeping an eye on the "bearer of good news")
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Old July 16, 2008, 08:12 AM   #9
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Speaking from an LEO point of view, you have described the worst case scenario. Unfortunately, it has happened several times to plain clothes officers. Uniformed officer thinks the plain clothes officer is a bad guy and then shoots when he see him holding a gun or shooting at a suspect. It's about the same situation with citizens. You have to remember that unless the responding officers have been given a description of you and your actions, you are in bad situation. So I think:

1. The first think you need to do is get out of the open and get behind some cover, any cover. This is before you call 911. This is before, during or immediately after your gunfight, whatever is most convenient at the time. This will help protect you against the bad guy, other armed citizens and police officers who mistake you for a bad guy.

2. Do not holster your pistol, unless you are absolutely sure the guy is completely incapacitated. Personally, I'll need to see brains on the ground before I'll feel certain of this.

3. Call 911 or sound off for somone else to call. Keep them on the phone until police arrive. You'll probably hear sirens on approach but maybe not if the officer wants to conceal his approach.

4. Stay alert for police. At the very instant, you are aware of police presence, I say lay the gun on the ground, making sure the muzzle doesn't point at police, and show your empty hands. Trying to holster at this point may confuse the officer and he could think you're going for a gun. With your hands clear, the officer will simply challenge you, place you in the prone position and handcuff you for safety reasons until he or she gets it all figured out.
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Old July 16, 2008, 08:39 AM   #10
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Classic

I learned this years ago. A memory aid post shooting: CLASSIC
Cover: Get behind some or better
Load: Tactical top off.
Announce: Give instructions like don't move, call 911 for me, etc.
Scan
Sideways: To break tunnel vision
Inhale: "power breating" to oxygenate
Call / Communicate: 911 or for backup.
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Old July 16, 2008, 11:13 AM   #11
Keltyke
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bds32

Good advice. I was relating what I was taught, twice, by two retired LEOS with about 25 years experience each. Your suggestion to describe yourself to the dispatcher is excellent.

I was talking about when the incident is over and the threat is negated. Obviously, if there is still a threat, you don't disarm. "Fire until the threat is negated."

Taking cover might cast suspicion as "hiding".

Holding your gun and laying it down when the LEOs arrive does two things, it shows them you with a gun in your hand and it shows you moving, neither of which is good. I'd rather present them with a completely still subject (arms outstretched) who immediately announces he/she has a CWP and is armed. Let the officers handle the gun in the way they've been trained.
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Old July 16, 2008, 12:16 PM   #12
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What you should do when you hear them sirens is start to run like hell to get away, so they don't shoot you. Be sure to wave your gun behind you though in their direction just in case they do get too close to you, you will then scare them and make them back off. Yeah, that's the ticket. Funny answers for funny questions.
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Old July 16, 2008, 12:54 PM   #13
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good advice Keltyke, movement is generally a bad idea in this kind of situation and you usually can't go wrong with staying still and showing no threat
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Old July 16, 2008, 01:53 PM   #14
David Armstrong
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Quote:
So, what is a good and safe "always" routine to go through right after a shooting, say with the BG down and inert to make it simpler.
This is the routine we used to teach for our off-duty and/or undercover officers:
1. Holster gun if this can be done safely. Place hands in surrender position.
2. If not, hold gun above head with both hands in surrender position as officers arrive. Follow officer instructions immediately. Do not point, argue, make any sudden moves, etc.
3. Identify yourself as the good guy as soon as you can, but remember the officer responding to the call is in charge.
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Old July 16, 2008, 02:39 PM   #15
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What to do to maximize the chances of being ID'd as a/the good guy on a firearms related call, be it a shooting or other wise, is a good thing to know.

Unfortunately, it is a complicated thing at times, with no clear cut solutions.

The simple answer is: Do not appear to be a threat.

But how? I'll explain my take on it, in order:

Prior to LEOs arrivig on scene:

Call 911. The advise to call with details and descriptions is sound. Try to inform dispatch of injuries to yourself and others which will have to be treated.

Get the gun out of your hand. Holster it, drop it, place it somewhere, whatever.

Keep your hands visible. Raised, out, at your side, it doesn't matter, so long as they are visible.

Unfortunately, situations being what they are, you shouldn't count on being able to that. Phone calls can't be made, guns have to be in hand, and hands cannot always be displayed as imagined.

Which means the plan about what to do when the LEOs arrive and find you gun in hand has to look like this: Do not appear to be a threat.

If you were able to make that 911 call you should still ideally be on the line. Use that to your advantage, re-iterating your location and description and talking the LEOs in to the dispatcher.

Get the gun out of your hand. Holster it, place it on something, or drop it, whatever. Slowly. Deliberately.

Keep your hands visible.

Now the LEOs are on scene, as in out of cars, guns drawn, looking at you and possibly pointing their guns at you.

Do not assume. Do not assume they know you are a LEO. Do not assume they recognize you. Do not assume you are obviously the good guy.

Comply. Immediately. Period.

Don't move. When directed to move, do so slowely and deliberately.

Don't turn toward the LEOs if you still have a gun in your hand. It is the only exception to the comply immediately rule. I've actually seen this: a LEO, not realizing a third party was armed with gun in hand, command the man to turn followed not by movement but a calm question about what to do with the gun first. It may have gone badly had the man turned. A very heads-up move on the part of the carrier, by the way.

Talk. Relay immediately critical information and that you're the good guy. IDing soemone as a/the good guy is easier with information to make the decision with. And LEOs really are much more interested in the bad guys. (I'm not saying to forget your rights. I'm talking about briefly IDing what happened, who and where the bad guys is, and that you aren't the bad guy.)

Expect things. Expect things will be tense. Expect guns will be pointed at you. Expect to be man-handled a bit. Expect to be handcuffed. Expect to be detained. That way you're prepared in advance and should any of that happen your body language will reflect your preperation and acceptance. When those things don't happen, even better. But remember, the main idea is for other things not to happen, like you getting shot.

Anyway, that's it off of the cuff. The risk cannot be elliminated, but it can be managed.
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Old July 16, 2008, 03:01 PM   #16
gvf
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Excellent Advice Just Given Above

This was very good post - many have been; the above gives a general principle to use for any situation, which as Erik says can be changing, and accounts for uniqueness in each situation.
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Old July 16, 2008, 03:13 PM   #17
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There is one important point to this scenario and one I have to stress over and over to folks.

YOU MUST NEVER ASSUME THAT A BAD GUY IS ALONE. IF YOU SEE ONE THEN ALWAYS ASSUME THAT HE HAS AT LEAST ONE BUDDY IN THE AREA.

For this reason it is exceedingly unwise to disarm yourself unless you are absolutely certain that the situation is under control.

In fact I consider it common sense to retreat to safety and then call/turn yourself in from there. Yes a zealous prosecutor will try to make hay about "fleeing the scene" but I'd rather have to defend myself against that than face your nightmare scenario or the one where the downed badguy's buddies open up on me when I drop my defenses.

NOT legal advice, just personal opinion.
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Old July 16, 2008, 03:51 PM   #18
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Should You Face Cops or Have Back to Them With Hands Up?

Quote:
Keep your hands visible. Raised, out, at your side, it doesn't matter, so long as they are visible.
Should You Face Cops or Have Back to Them With Hands Up?
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Old July 16, 2008, 04:08 PM   #19
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Should You Face Cops or Have Back to Them With Hands Up?
I would think that that would be dependent on the individual situation and the demands of the responding officers. If it were me, I would try very hard not to assume any position until I was explicitly told to do so. Standing very still is much less likely to get you shot in this situation than moving without being told to.
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Old July 16, 2008, 06:40 PM   #20
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If it is within your control, I'd recommend facing them.

But as Jon-M just said, there are so many variables I wouldn't get too wrapped up in it. If you happen to be facing away from the LEO addressing you, so be it and go from there.
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Old July 16, 2008, 09:53 PM   #21
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Quote:
or drop it
Like hell I'll drop my Steyr on asphalt! I'll SLOWLY bend and lay it down.

Quote:
Expect to be man-handled a bit.
Ah, I don't think so, scooter. I'll have a cop on report. If I'm offering no resistance, there is NO excuse for my being "man-handled".

Quote:
Should You Face Cops or Have Back to Them With Hands Up?
Stand still wherever you are. No matter what direction the cops come from, THEY will tell you what direction they want you to face. DO NOT move unless they direct you.
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Old July 16, 2008, 10:02 PM   #22
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Guys,

You're acting like this is a old black and white movie with no speech. Take cover, keep your gun out until the cops get there. When they announce themselves identify yourself, tell them where you are, and ask them how they want you to proceed. Follow all directions. Just ask that they cover the BG you have already shot.

Most of this is mall ninja garbage guys. The cops are just as scared as you are, most likely they want to be the one with the upper hand so give it to them. On a silver platter. Don't lose your head, do what they say.
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Old July 16, 2008, 10:44 PM   #23
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Take cover, keep your gun out until the cops get there.
Oh, that's good. I'm in cover, holding a gun. Yea, the cops will really believe I'm the good guy now. "Hey guys. I'm over here behind these garbage cans and I'm holding a gun. I just shot somebody." That'll put some pressure on those triggers. A holstered gun is not nearly as much of a threat as a gun in hand.

BTW, if you continue to display your gun after the incident is over, you may be considered "brandishing". You may also be challenged by a similarly-armed newcomer to the scene.
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Old July 16, 2008, 11:14 PM   #24
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Keep in mind that if a cop shoots you right between the eyes, the only thing he'll get is a 3-day paid vacation, so approach the situation knowing that.

Personally, the very second I was done shooting, I'd call 911 on my cell. I wouldn't say anything except this:

"I need an ambulance right now at [x] location between [y] and [z] streets. A man's been shot." It's critical to use the passive voice (e.g., "been shot") instead of the active voice (e.g., "I shot") because of your 5th Amendment rights.

Only if pressed by the dispatcher should you admit to being the shooter, and then only by saying something like, "He attacked me with a knife. I tried to run away, but he wouldn't stop chasing me. I begged him not to make me shoot him, but he kept coming at me with the knife. I was scared I was going to die." Again, don't ever say "I shot him."

While you're on the phone with 911, empty your handgun, open and clear the action, and set it down several feet away from you with you seated on the ground. With you on the cell phone and seated on the ground, it may take several moments for the police to even see the gun.

I think this way, you're less likely to be shot by a cop.

But only marginally.
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Old July 17, 2008, 07:42 PM   #25
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Well it didn't take too long for someone to state they wouldn't follow the directions, which is a key contributer to folks getting shot. Not getting shot, bearing in mind, being the goal of the thread.

Think about it: "STOP POLICE! DON'T MOVE! DROP THE GUN!" Delivered at gun point. This is not the time to deviate from the following two well intended bits of advise: (1) Comply. Immediately. Period. (2) Don't move.

---

As for the man-handling part, it probably comes down to definitions. I recognize that many folks define the realities of being physically controlled, cuffed or not, as being man-handled, no matter how relatively gentle or appropriate, and use the term with that understanding. Thus defined, is a very real, high probability, aspect of responding to high-risk, shots fired calls. Be prepared for it, that is all, so you can curb the reaction to resist, which would predictable lead to poor results, possibly to include the shooting the thread is trying to avoid.
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