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Old August 3, 2008, 10:21 PM   #1
Malachi McCoy
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primary defense gun

Hi all. On 06-07-08 I was involved in a use of deadly force incident. A Google alert notified me of the discussion on this forum of the incident. Due to the on-going investigation I was not able to join in.

I am not trying to open up a new caliber war.The thread was closed on 06-30-08. (Why not carry the .22 and .25acp as a primary defense gun?)

I would like to point out a few facts and give some insight to the incident, and a first hand account. The following quote is from the original post.
Three deputies ordered Bello out of his truck, but he opened a sliding rear window and fired at a deputy's cruiser, sheriff's spokesman J.D. Callaway said.

The deputies fired back, and Bello opened his passenger door and continued firing. Deputy Arturo "Art" Lence, 53, was hit in the lower torso. The bullet exited through his back, and he fell to the ground.

Deputy Raymond Wilson, 56, was hit in the left forearm and crawled to a ditch on the west side of the road for safety. Bello walked over to Wilson and tried to wrestle the deputy's firearm from him, Callaway said.

That's when Deputy Malachi McCoy ran up and shot the gunman in the head, killing him, Callaway said.

When the bullets were counted, investigators said deputies had fired more than 50 rounds. They think Bello was hit multiple times before McCoy fired the fatal shot.

Deputies believe Bello fired at least 13 shots, Callaway said.
If you don't know the background of this story, the bad guy was fleeing the scene after murdering his wife, a female friend, and an off-duty fire-rescue captain. I spotted the truck leaving the neighborhood and conducted a felony stop along with the following deputies.

As far as who was carrying what...
Bad guy= .45 Ithaca 1911, Remington and Winchester ball ammo
Deputy Malachi McCoy= .357sig Glock 31, Speer gold dot hollow point
Deputy Art Lence= 9mm Sig Sauer 226, Speer gold dot hollow point
Deputy Ray Wilson= 9mm Ruger P85, Speer gold dot hollow point
Deputy Melvin Jones= .40 Glock 23, Speer gold dot hollow point and Bushmaster AR-15 .223, Federal ammo

The News accounts were overly simplified of what had occurred. First let me say that the entire fire-fight lasted 1 minute 28 seconds, from the first shot to the bad guy being killed. The average police shooting lasts 2.5 seconds.

The bad guy did not shoot all at once. He would pop-up and shoot a few shots and then take cover in the cab of his truck, a 1988 Ford F-150.

Two of my rounds (.357sig) penetrated the rear tailgate, the forward bed, into the cab and into 4 inches of seat padding. Theses rounds stopped just short of exiting the seat. None of the 9mm went past the tailgate.

Deputy Jones was the only deputy positioned in front of the bad guys vehicle. He transitioned to his AR-15 but was unable to penetrate the engine block.

The bad guy was only hit by my rounds after he exited the truck. By then two deputies were already hit and down. I engaged him while I was advancing forward (walk-and-shoot). I shot him two times before he attacked Deputy Wilson, one in the stomach and one in lower shoulder. These had no effect. After he was on top of Deputy Wilson I shot him again, striking his shoulder first and then the back of his head, killing him instantly. When the final shot was fired the muzzle was approximately 2-3 feet from his head.

TV police shootouts are as far from reality as I can express.

I did not sneak-up or just run up and shoot him in the head. This was an active engagement and we were all there for the entire incident.

This was not suicide-by-cop. If it was, all he needed to do is point a gun in my direction. He was actively trying to kill as many people as he could.

I was not "just doing my job". I was trying to save my life and the lives of my partners.

I am not "trigger happy".

I began shooting when I was 15 years old as a member of the Sheriff's Explorer scouts. I have received many firearms awards and several Match Winners over the years. I was "Top Gun" in my academy and I have qualified as pistol master every year. Unfortunately many law enforcement officers do not train on their own and the training they receive is often sub-par.

That said, it is a different animal when your target is shooting back. What more can I say but that it is terrifying knowing that your life may end at any second. I do feel more confident now and think I can react better in the future after this.

I fired 29 rounds with 2 magazine reloads.
Lence = 27 rounds with two reloads.
Wilson = 9 rounds.
Jones = 6 rounds .40 and 6 rounds .223

I would encourage everyone who like to get some insight on the psychology of taking a human life to read 'On Combat' and 'On Killing' by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. I had read these books before and after this incident and he spot-on.
If you are carrying a weapon, these are a must-read.

Best regards,
Deputy Malachi McCoy
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Old August 3, 2008, 11:01 PM   #2
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Deputy McCoy...

you had the experience we have not and hope to avoid.
Your training and instincts took control and ended the situation.
Basically it came down to placement to end it.
The other LEO's involved responded as they could even with injuries.
There no MONDAY quarterbacking here.
Hope you & your fellow officers never repeat this again.
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Old August 3, 2008, 11:58 PM   #3
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God bless you buddy, you did a hell of a job.
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Old August 4, 2008, 12:35 AM   #4
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Built "Ford-Tough"

I gotta get me a F-150...

Seriously, good work. You saved your partner's life, it sounds like, and together you took down a guy who would have hurt others in the future.

Real life isn't pretty, sometimes. Tough -CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED-.

Today was the one-year anniversary of the shooting I was involved in. I didn't even think about it until my wife mentioned it.

No great epiphany here: Sometimes you're called upon to do a tough thing in the line of duty.

The finality of it is heavy, though. It comes upon you quickly, then it's over, and you spend a lot of time sorting out the details.

I'm sure your department did a debrief. It really helps. I think it's good to get your story out there. It's also instructive for others. Thanks.

I'll write mine after the civil suit is resolved.

I really had to consider my professionalism. It's easy to get complacent in the job.

I also had to consider the fact that I might be called upon to use lethal force again in the future. I thought about it, and I'm OK: Again, back to the professionalism.

Isn't it funny how the media tries to get a good story, and, of course, nobody who really knows anything will comment until the investigation wraps up, so they got to whomever will give them a sound-bite, like the family's attorney...

It didn't bother me, 'cause I was there, but it upset my mother, which added to my stress.
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Old August 4, 2008, 12:47 AM   #5
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Oh, and I presume you are NOT in favor of either a .25 or a .22 as a primary defense gun...
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Old August 4, 2008, 07:50 AM   #6
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Thanks, its not often that the public gets the 'other side' to a story. We are fed what the media wants us to have.
Nemo Me Impune Lacesset

"The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so.".........Ronald Reagan
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Old August 4, 2008, 09:39 AM   #7
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Deputy Malachi McCoy ...

... Sir, thank you for your civil service.

Also, thank you for your first hand account of a bad day gone worse. Your perseverance in the face of mortal danger and dedication to your profession are a credit to yourself, your fellow officers, your department and all who serve.

God bless you officer McCoy.
If you don't stand for something you'll fall for anything. My stand begins with "WE THE PEOPLE" ...
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Old August 4, 2008, 09:49 AM   #8
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First off, I'm glad to hear that you and your fellow deputies survived and I hope your injured buddies are going to make a full recovery. Sadly, we lose a lot of brothers and sisters in situations just like this. Secondly, you did a hell of job winning the gunfight. I'm sure that your mid-brain kicked in and you performed exactly as you trained. As a peace officer, I have taken my survival very seriously and have read the books you mentioned. I train myself and my people for the day that may or may not ever come. Your triumph serves as another example of how to win. Lastly, I appreciate you sharing your experience and details about bullet peformance with people you don't know.

I'd be interested to know if there were any tactical "lessons learned" as a result of the gunfight.
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Old August 4, 2008, 09:58 AM   #9
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Deputy McCoy, First I want to thank you for putting your hide on the line to keep us safe.......from my family and I.....THANK YOU. Second thanks for the follow up. Third if you ever need a firearms transfer or to order a gun, our shop would be honored to give you whatever you want at me and I'll give you the shop name (in Tampa).

Now I would like to pick your brain if I may.....As a gun enthusiast, competition shooter, and student of tactics I would like to ask you a few questions that might help myself and others with the one aspect of gun fight preparation that we simply cannot mimic.......the pressure. Its effects, training that countered its negative effects etc.

1. Did you experience things like slow motion, tunnel vision, auditory shutdown?

2. Did you at any time go into auto pilot mode reacting with your training?

3. How many hits vs shots fired did you get while the bad guy was exposed?

4. Do you feel that competitive shooting helped you survive this event and how?

5. What if anything different will you do in the future while training now that you have this experience?

6. If nothing different, what training exercise/s do you feel gave you the edge?

7. What, if anything, would you do differently if this thing happened again?

I learned to ton from an interview of a highway patrolman who had survived a shooting incident. The most important being how his mindset allowed him to survive. He was behind in the reactionary curve but continued to fight because he became angry that the scumbag was going to kill him and take him from his family. He remembered telling himself to prepare to take bullets reasoning that if they killed him he wouldn't know and if they didn't he would take the POS out with his last breath. As luck would have it the scumbags gun was on safe and in the time it took for BG to realize this the patrolman was raising his weapon to fire. The bad guy was so traumatized by this that he couldn't manipulate the safety fast enough and the patrolman shot him dead ending the incident. Here mindset and training allowed the patrolman to survive a situation that he should not have. I hope to learn from your experience as well.
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Old August 4, 2008, 02:32 PM   #10
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Thank you, in my book you are a true Hero, not only by saving the life of Deputy Wilson but whoever was next.
The BG had to be stopped and stopped quickly. Thank God for people like you that put their lives on the line to protect us.
Thanks again for your service and stay safe
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Old August 4, 2008, 03:13 PM   #11
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Thank you, Deputy Malachi, for what you do for us.

I hope all is, and will continue to be, well with you.

Last edited by Relayer; August 4, 2008 at 03:51 PM.
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Old August 4, 2008, 04:13 PM   #12
David Armstrong
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Congrats, Deputy, and Godspeed to the other officers as they heal from their wounds.
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