The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Tactics and Training

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old September 10, 2009, 02:21 PM   #1
Sefner
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 24, 2009
Location: Michigan
Posts: 769
Man with "flaming rag" charges police, kills officer with officer's own gun

http://www.twincities.com/allheadlines/ci_13304026

Quote:
Almost immediately, the 34-year-old Dockery charged at them with the flaming rag, O'Malley said. Trying to protect Terry and her daughter, Crittenden pushed them out of the way. He then began to struggle with Dockery.
Quote:
North St. Paul Police Chief Tom Lauth said Crittenden had a safety holster that would have made it difficult for a suspect to disarm him.

"A weapon can't just be pulled out of there," Lauth said. He said because the battle with Dockery was at close range, the suspect was able to get the gun out of the holster. There was not a safety lock on the handgun, so all that
was required to fire the pistol was for the trigger to be pulled, Lauth said.
There is even a map.

So this one is different. Two officers are charged at after opening the door by a man with a burning rag of some sort. The BG then manages to shoot one officer with his own gun, causing a firefight. Tactically, there are a few questions. Did the BG know there were cops at the door or was he expecting his wife and her daughter (read the article for background on that)? We probably will never know exactly how the officer's gun left his holster in the wrong hands. How does one fight around a carpet that is on fire? How could the situation have been avoided?
Sefner is offline  
Old September 10, 2009, 02:58 PM   #2
markj
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 27, 2005
Location: Crescent Iowa
Posts: 2,967
Sounds like an ambush, those police had no clue what was about to happen.

I still say a gun with a safety is key here, the glock allowed the shooter to aim and pull the trigger. If he had a weapon with a manual safety the BG may have hesitated long enough trying to fire it the other officer may have been able to shoot BG. Maybe not.

My heart goes out to the family of the LEO, he tried his best, he may have saved the gals life too. Most folks just dont appreciate police, I have family here on the force and I pray I get to see em again almost every day.
markj is offline  
Old September 10, 2009, 03:02 PM   #3
Mikeyboy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 31, 2005
Posts: 1,231
Quote:
They were joined by Olson outside the apartment. Terry unlocked the door, and the group walked in.
Almost immediately, the 34-year-old Dockery charged at them with the flaming rag, O'Malley said. Trying to protect Terry and her daughter, Crittenden pushed them out of the way. He then began to struggle with Dockery.

Dockery struck Crittenden with the flaming cloth, burning his head. Crittenden and Olson tried to subdue Dockery. The rag fell

on the floor and started a small fire in the living room, O'Malley said.
Dockery managed to grab Crittenden's holstered gun and shoot the officer once in the head. Dockery then pointed the gun at Olson, setting off a gunfight. Despite being struck in the right arm, Olson shot Dockery five times. In total, there were 14 shots fired between the two guns, both 40-caliber Glock pistols, O'Malley said.

I think having a flaming rag suddenly thrown on your head would screw up even the most skilled police officer. Then your going to comment on why crazy 37 year old was able to out wrestle a 57 year old officer with a burnt face and trying to push innocent civilians out of the way. PLEEAAZZEE it was an ambush, both officer did the best they could.

God bless them and their families.
Mikeyboy is offline  
Old September 10, 2009, 03:12 PM   #4
csmsss
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 24, 2008
Location: Orange, TX
Posts: 2,986
Sounds to me like officer Crittenden had extraordinarily incompetent backup, costing him his life.
csmsss is offline  
Old September 10, 2009, 03:32 PM   #5
MLeake
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 15, 2007
Location: Outside KC, MO
Posts: 10,128
csmsss said:

Quote:
Sounds to me like officer Crittenden had extraordinarily incompetent backup, costing him his life.
How incompetent was the second officer, csmsss? She: took a round herself; didn't lose her own weapon; and, despite taking a bullet wound, put down the BG and won the gunfight.

csmsss, please enlighten us all as to how "competent" backup would have performed.
MLeake is offline  
Old September 10, 2009, 03:37 PM   #6
csmsss
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 24, 2008
Location: Orange, TX
Posts: 2,986
Quote:
How incompetent was the second officer, csmsss? She: took a round herself; didn't lose her own weapon; and, despite taking a bullet wound, put down the BG and won the gunfight.

csmsss, please enlighten us all as to how "competent" backup would have performed.
Since you asked, exactly what on earth was she doing while the perp was assaulting the primary officer, struggling with him and removing his weapon? Biding her time? This situation should never have become a gun "fight", as she should never have allowed the BG to obtain control of Officer Crittenden's firearm.
csmsss is offline  
Old September 10, 2009, 03:50 PM   #7
MLeake
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 15, 2007
Location: Outside KC, MO
Posts: 10,128
csmsss...

... did you READ the article? The part where it says
Quote:
Crittenden and Olson tried to subdue Dockery.
In other words, she was also in the physical struggle; both officers were trying to use non-lethal means to subdue the BG up until the point that the BG took Crittenden's gun.

He then shot Crittenden, and then shot Olson. Olson returned fire. Twelve rounds were apparently fired from that point, but it's not clear how many were fired by the BG. Olson scored 5 hits, so even if she fired all 12 her hit percentage would be 41.67%, but odds are the BG fired a few so her hit percentage was very likely closer to 80% or better. And that's after taking a GSW to the arm.

That should both answer your question, and at the same time tell you why I think you are way out of line.

Out of curiousity, what is your line of work? Do you have ANY experience in subduing a combative male, whether one on one or as part of a team? Or do you just like to malign cops?
MLeake is offline  
Old September 10, 2009, 03:57 PM   #8
jgcoastie
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 2009
Location: Kodiak, Alaska
Posts: 2,112
Quote:
Do you have ANY experience in subduing a combative male, whether one on one or as part of a team?
It's a heckuva lot harder than most people think.
__________________
"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them." -Richard Henry Lee, Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress, initiator of the Declaration of Independence, and member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights.
jgcoastie is offline  
Old September 10, 2009, 04:02 PM   #9
MLeake
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 15, 2007
Location: Outside KC, MO
Posts: 10,128
From a tactics perspective...

... if somebody attacks me with a flaming anything, I'm not going hands on, we've already escalated to the handgun end of the force continuum as far as I'm concerned.

I won't fault the officers. They were reacting to an ambush; also, they may have been concerned at first about gunplay with the woman and child in a confined space with them. I'm just saying I consider a flaming rag, a torch, or anything similar to be a deadly weapon, and would recommend reactions should take that into account.
MLeake is offline  
Old September 10, 2009, 05:31 PM   #10
cracked91
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 17, 2009
Posts: 385
This is a sad story, and a worse situation. I can see why a man only armed with a flaming piece of cloth might not seem to warrant lethal force right away, but no matter which way I look at it the original actions of the officers seemed tactically unsound, though maybe Im just reading it wrong. Assuming it was a right inside the door ambush(which they made it sound like) how did 4 people get in before they noticed him? Officers are trained to always be aware of their surroundings. Why did the officer even try to take the two females back into the apartment when they were aware that there might be someone inside, I would also say why did the officer not back out of the apartment right away, but the answer is because there were 3 females right behind him. Once you get into a wrestling match, especially with multiple people, you lose track of whose hands are where and you get tunnel vision with the adrenaline, so I can see how he got his gun taken from him, I just think there could have been measures to prevent this.

Im not bagging on the police, and I feel for the officer and his family, but this is tactics and training, and the purpose is to learn from other's mistakes.
cracked91 is offline  
Old September 10, 2009, 05:43 PM   #11
TexasGunSlinger
Junior Member
 
Join Date: February 2, 2009
Location: Houston , Texas
Posts: 12
Quote:
Do you have ANY experience in subduing a combative male, whether one on one or as part of a team?

Horrible incident, we cant afford losing good officers, especially now. This does show the need imo for better hand to hand combat training for police. or at least forced refresher courses to help prevent being overpowerd by a bg.
TexasGunSlinger is offline  
Old September 10, 2009, 05:53 PM   #12
MLeake
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 15, 2007
Location: Outside KC, MO
Posts: 10,128
As far as how could they not notice him...

... even when you know somebody is probably in there, you still need to spot exactly where he might be. This doesn't happen via mysticism; the officers may not have had much time to look around after going through the door.

Without knowing the layout of the apartment, we don't know how many hiding spots were within easy access of the front door.

Also, a flaming, fuel soaked rag thrown at one's face might pose a serious distraction.

For those who are simply posing what if's in order to use this tragedy as a chance to discuss tactics and learn from what happened, great, that's why they have forums like this.

For those who want to start out by assuming that the officers were incompetent: NYT reporter Stephen Farrell was rescued by British SAS forces in Afghanistan this past Wednesday. His interpreter died in the crossfire. One of the SAS troops died, as well. Would any of you like to suggest that the SAS are incompetent?

The sad fact is that trained people can do things according to procedure, and sometimes the good guys still get hurt or killed. We don't like it, and for many of us the first impulse is to start shrilling that "he did it wrong; she screwed up" etc. Often, what we really mean is, "I need to believe that I would do better because it's too frightening to think otherwise, therefore I must believe that he or she screwed up."

Just my take on things.
MLeake is offline  
Old September 10, 2009, 06:40 PM   #13
w_houle
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 29, 2007
Location: Junction City, KS
Posts: 1,389
I understand most of what's going on except this:
Quote:
There was not a safety lock on the handgun, so all that was required to fire the pistol was for the trigger to be pulled, Lauth said.
So are cops suppose to have some kind of super secret decoder ring for their guns?
__________________
How could you have a slogan like "freedom is slavery" when the concept of freedom has been abolished?
w_houle is offline  
Old September 10, 2009, 07:47 PM   #14
Slopemeno
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 19, 2007
Posts: 2,344
Decoder ring? No, but remember there's a gun at *every* call they respond to- Thier own. An "on-safe" carry mode is smart, and has saved lives before.
Slopemeno is offline  
Old September 10, 2009, 07:49 PM   #15
MLeake
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 15, 2007
Location: Outside KC, MO
Posts: 10,128
w_houle...

... this refers to the argument put forward by many that autos should have safeties because in the event the officer loses retention, if the safety is on it might confuse the BG long enough for the officer to draw his BUG, use his Tazer, etc.

Frankly, I don't think most BG's are quite that stupid, and I also think that the mental effort would be better spent on more weapon retention training. I'm not sure how often that training is required, but IMO it should be included any time there is recurrent weapons training or qual conducted.
MLeake is offline  
Old September 10, 2009, 08:00 PM   #16
w_houle
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 29, 2007
Location: Junction City, KS
Posts: 1,389
I think it was the word lock that threw me off. You want a safety on the gun? Fine, but let's not go down the road of a "smart gun", because that's what I first thought when I seen the word "lock".
__________________
How could you have a slogan like "freedom is slavery" when the concept of freedom has been abolished?
w_houle is offline  
Old September 10, 2009, 08:05 PM   #17
MLeake
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 15, 2007
Location: Outside KC, MO
Posts: 10,128
It could well be...

... that the police chief said "safety," but the reporter's notes, and firearm knowledge, weren't quite on and the reporter added "lock." It's possible that the chief misspoke - he'd have been under enough stress.

However, given the retention holster, I think the safety argument would have been moot here because that holster means one of two things:

If Dockery (the BG) pulled the gun from the holster, that would imply he knew how to work the holster, in which case he'd have probably known how to manipulate a safety.

If Dockery did not know how to work the holster, that would imply that Officer Crittenden had been attempting to draw the weapon himself, and Dockery took it at that point; if that had been the case, Officer Crittenden likely would have thumbed any safety off during the draw.

Either way, I don't think a safety would have helped.

And again, sometimes the good guys get hurt, even when they don't do anything wrong. Sometimes the other guy is stronger, faster, or more skilled; sometimes the other guy just gets lucky.
MLeake is offline  
Old September 10, 2009, 08:05 PM   #18
mustang_steve
Member
 
Join Date: September 6, 2009
Posts: 31
I agree, a safety mechanism would have been a possibly life-saving feature in this case. They add no time to disengage when drawing. I have a safety on my pistol and it's easily disengaged when drawing, so long as you are familiar with your pistol. This depends on when the safety is disengaged during the process though.

On the other hand...this would have been a situation where I think tasers would have been more effective....tase his butt and sort it out when things are in control.
mustang_steve is offline  
Old September 10, 2009, 08:12 PM   #19
MLeake
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 15, 2007
Location: Outside KC, MO
Posts: 10,128
I think some people here are assuming way too much response time was available...

The way I read this, the officers, woman, and teenager had just entered the house when Dockery charged them, flinging a flaming rag at Officer Crittenden.

This being the case, with five people in close quarters in an apartment, when would a Taser be deployed?

Officer Crittenden's first reaction was to push the woman and teenager out of harm's way. Officers Crittenden and Olson then immediately were involved in a physical, point-blank fight with Dockery.

Assuming this apartment was probably not so luxurious (going by Dockery's track record and mug shot, he wouldn't have been likely to afford a nice place - looks like an addict's face and rap sheet), so the quarters were probably very close.

Close quarters brawls don't tend to be pretty, and can make it very hard to deploy weapons for fear of hitting partners or bystanders.

If the situation had developed in a more spacious environment, then the officers might have had more time to use Tasers or coordinate a response. As I noted in an earlier post, though, if somebody came at me with a flaming object, I'd assume Molotov or similar, and I'd draw a firearm and not a Taser or pepper spray can.
MLeake is offline  
Old September 10, 2009, 08:16 PM   #20
pax
Staff
 
Join Date: May 16, 2000
Location: Washington state
Posts: 6,950
Quote:
However, given the retention holster, I think the safety argument would have been moot here because that holster means one of two things:

If Dockery (the BG) pulled the gun from the holster, that would imply he knew how to work the holster, in which case he'd have probably known how to manipulate a safety.

If Dockery did not know how to work the holster, that would imply that Officer Crittenden had been attempting to draw the weapon himself, and Dockery took it at that point; if that had been the case, Officer Crittenden likely would have thumbed any safety off during the draw.

Either way, I don't think a safety would have helped.

And again, sometimes the good guys get hurt, even when they don't do anything wrong. Sometimes the other guy is stronger, faster, or more skilled; sometimes the other guy just gets lucky.
Good post, and good points -- especially the last two sentences.

We all have this fantasy that of course the good guys win (unless they're not really good guys, or unless they did something to bring it on themselves). It' s hard to live in the real world, where sometimes good people lose even when they've done nothing egregiously wrong.

pax
__________________
Kathy Jackson
My personal website: Cornered Cat
pax is offline  
Old September 10, 2009, 09:01 PM   #21
Slopemeno
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 19, 2007
Posts: 2,344
True. A lot of people forget what putting a uniform on really means.
Slopemeno is offline  
Old September 10, 2009, 10:04 PM   #22
cracked91
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 17, 2009
Posts: 385
I am not suggesting the officers were incompetent, 9 years is on the force and still alive shows better. What I am saying is that doing things a little differently might have saved the officers life. The biggest tactical problem I see here is the decison to bring the mother and daughter into the apartment. Maybe they had the key and just went in first?

And as for the hiding spot, generally if the area is dim lit, the officer should not have progressed much more than a foot into the doorway before checking with flashlight.
cracked91 is offline  
Old September 11, 2009, 07:28 AM   #23
MLeake
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 15, 2007
Location: Outside KC, MO
Posts: 10,128
According to the article...

Terry (the mother) opened the door and let them in.

I'll admit, I had the same thought about why the officers didn't clear the apartment before bringing in the mother and daughter.

I don't think the officers really thought the guy would attack them. The article said Dockery had a lengthy criminal record, but didn't specify violent crimes - lack of evidence isn't evidence, per se, but the odds are the reporter would have leapt at the chance to point out a history of violence on Dockery's part.

The article said that Dockery had four prior violations of the restraining order - which may have led the police to think this would be just another in a series of (to that point) non-violent encounters. One would think that any violent resistance to the police during the previous four violations would have put Dockery in prison for a while, so it would appear that there had not been any on the previous occasions.

Last, according to the article, Terry had called the non-emergency number to request assistance. Since 911 is easy, and the non-emergency number requires lookup by oneself or via the operator, it would seem Terry did not consider the situation to be worthy of an emergency call and went to extra effort to NOT dial 911.

Based on the above factors, I think the complainant didn't think the situation was a threat so much as an aggravation, and the responding officers entered with that mindset. Unfortunately, what they encountered was not what any of them expected.
MLeake is offline  
Old September 11, 2009, 08:53 AM   #24
serf 'rett
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 25, 2009
Location: Stuttgart
Posts: 1,342
safety?

When I read this
Quote:
There was not a safety lock on the handgun
I connected it with this
Quote:
between the two guns, both 40-caliber Glock pistols
Wasn't the chief trying to indicate the Glock's had no frame or slide mounted safety?
Quote:
so all that was required to fire the pistol was for the trigger to be pulled, Lauth said
serf 'rett is offline  
Old September 11, 2009, 09:42 AM   #25
44 AMP
Staff
 
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 11,364
A Sad occurrence...

Another example of an officer putting the safety of others above his own, and sadly, paying the ultimate price to protect them.

Did you look at the map? From the time the attack began, they were at arms length distance the whole time. Very tight quarters.

Point#1: Retention holsters aren't. If you can draw it, so can they.
Now, maybe the attacker knew how to work that particular holster. Maybe he just got lucky. Maybe he got control of the gun after the officer began his draw. We don't know. But the fact is that a retention holster (of any type) just increases the odds of preventing a gun grab, it is not a positive prevention.

Point #2
Code:
... that the police chief said "safety," but the reporter's notes, and firearm knowledge, weren't quite on and the reporter added "lock." It's possible that the chief misspoke - he'd have been under enough stress.
Actually in this case, the term is spot on. Safety Lock is the correct term for the thumb safety. Check a parts diagram of a 1911, or the military manuals. Safety Lock is the correct term. It isn't the term in common use anymore, but it is still the correct term.

My guess is that the chief was referring to the GLock's lack of a safety lock (manual safety/thumbsafety) as a comparison against some other auto pistol (perhaps the ones his dept used before Glocks) which did have safeties.

You can argue that Glocks are no less safe than DA revolvers, or some DA autos, and you would be right, as far as that goes. And you can argue that having a safety on his gun might not have changed anything in this case, and you would be right, as far as that goes.

But the fact remains, that there are documented cases of officers lives being saved after they lost their gun, because the safety was on, and the attacker was not able to shoot them before they could take action.

These things might not have made any difference, that is true. But they might have. My personal opinion is that an officers gun should have a safety lock. A lever that stays on until moved off. Not a decocker, not a passive trigger tab, or grip safety alone, but a positive lever that "locks" the gun from operating. I'm not an officer, so my opinion is worth what you pay for it, but for what tis worth, there it is.
__________________
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:55 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.13641 seconds with 7 queries