Making the 911 call after you shoot

Making the 911 call after you shoot

This is a discussion on Making the 911 call after you shoot within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; This is something I thought would be very valuable for us all to prepare for. Most of us should know better than to talk to ...

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Thread: Making the 911 call after you shoot

  1. #1
    Member Array BelaOkmyx's Avatar
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    Making the 911 call after you shoot

    This is something I thought would be very valuable for us all to prepare for. Most of us should know better than to talk to the police if you are arrested or questioned. Anything you say can and will be used against you, and just as importantly, nothing you say can be used to help you. The police work for the prosecutor and they are trained to get you to incriminate yourself, so it is best to say nothing at all, not even things you believe are innocuous and could never incriminate you. (Because even if they don't directly incriminate you, they can be used to open up lines of questioning that can, lines that would have been inadmissible if you had not mentioned something or another.)

    But if we have to shoot, there is a time when we have to talk to a cop, on the record, and that's calling 911 to report what just happened. I've been reading some crime and trial reports where the accused called 911 and the 911 tape was used as evidence against him. So I was wondering if there is already a formal way to make that call, that gives emergency responders all the information they need, can not be used to incriminate you, and will not make you sound suspicious in front of a criminal or civil jury.

    I was thinking a format along the lines of- "My name is [name], I'm at [location], and I just shot an assailant at [location where you shot]." Then... hang up, before they can get you to say anything else? Or maybe not, maybe stay on the line with dispatch until the units arrive, but say nothing else? And would you give any more information about the person you shot- a description, do you think you hit him, do you think he is deceased or needs an ambulance, what was he armed with?

    This might actually be a good thing to practice (not with a real 911 dispatcher of course!) because if you ever have to shoot, you are going to be shaken, you might have been injured by the guy, and you don't want anything coming out that will get you in trouble you don't deserve.

    It seems to me lawyers must have already worked this out, and can tell you exactly what to say and not say. Anybody aware of any online resources on this topic? Thanks in advance.
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    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    There are varied schools of thought when it comes to this issue. Some say to simply give the info you suggest during the 911 call. I think that is too little info. All the responding officers will know is that they are showing up to a call where someone has a gun.

    I think you should describe what the BG is wearing, where he is or where his buddies went to. What you are wearing, where you will be, indicate that you will be waving to the officers when they arrive. Tell them where the BG's weapon is if he dropped, threw it away, what type of weapon it was, what he did or how he threatened you.

    Depending on where the incident took place will matter a great deal as to what I am willing to say to the 911 operator or the responding officers. If I am in my home or office, I am going to give them as much information as possible. If I am in Walmart parking lot or some neutral location, maybe not so much about the incident other than to point out any witnesses, or such that they may need to know about.

    It will just depend on the situation.
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    I calling my friend (my firearms lawyer) then 911 or somebody else can make the 911 call (if there are others at the scene).
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    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
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    VIP Member Array blitzburgh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BelaOkmyx View Post
    This is something I thought would be very valuable for us all to prepare for. Most of us should know better than to talk to the police if you are arrested or questioned. 1Anything you say can and will be used against you, and just as importantly, nothing you say can be used to help you.2 The police work for the prosecutor and they are trained to get you to incriminate yourself, so it is best to say nothing at all, not even things you believe are innocuous and could never incriminate you. (Because even if they don't directly incriminate you, they can be used to open up lines of questioning that can, lines that would have been inadmissible if you had not mentioned something or another.)

    3But if we have to shoot, there is a time when we have to talk to a cop, on the record, and that's calling 911 to report what just happened. I've been reading some crime and trial reports where the accused called 911 and the 911 tape was used as evidence against him. So I was wondering if there is already a formal way to make that call, that gives emergency responders all the information they need, can not be used to incriminate you, and will not make you sound suspicious in front of a criminal or civil jury.

    4I was thinking a format along the lines of- "My name is [name], I'm at [location], and I just shot an assailant at [location where you shot]." Then... hang up, before they can get you to say anything else? Or maybe not, maybe stay on the line with dispatch until the units arrive, but say nothing else? And would you give any more information about the person you shot- a description, do you think you hit him, do you think he is deceased or needs an ambulance, what was he armed with?

    This might actually be a good thing to practice (not with a real 911 dispatcher of course!) because if you ever have to shoot, you are going to be shaken, you might have been injured by the guy, and you don't want anything coming out that will get you in trouble you don't deserve.

    It seems to me lawyers must have already worked this out, and can tell you exactly what to say and not say. Anybody aware of any online resources on this topic? Thanks in advance.
    1: INAL - This is completely my opinion - but I don't see saying nothing doing you any favors.

    2: If you've done nothing wrong and acted within your local laws, you should be "good to go". However, I wouldn't recommend speaking in detail without proper legal representation present.

    3: It might just be wishful thinking on my part but if it was a clear cut case of self/home defense, what part of a 911 tape could be used against one to incriminate them? Of course, I do understand that's there certain DA's that will try to make a name for their self and in the progress make a mountain out of a mole hill, but the fact remains-- if it was a legitimate case of home/self defense, there shouldn't be any incriminating evidence whatsoever.

    4: IMO, you started off well, though I wouldn't hang up. Me, personally, I'd say something along the lines of, "Yes, it's me 'Mr Blitzburgh'... I've shot a home intruder due to fear of my life and my loved ones, my address is xxxxxxx St, please send help!" - You want to clearly state that you felt you were in immediate, immenent danger. Also, give a description of yourself so they can identify you as a 'GG', let them know who else is in the house (such as your wife/gf/fiance, kids, etc.) so they know they're GG's too.

    I know things can go south, but in most cases, if you acted completely within the laws of your state/county and did nothing wrong, there shouldn't be much to worry about (though I also don't disagree or doubt that there's also a chance of you still being 'screwed' under the same circumstances either).
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    Member Array BelaOkmyx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    Thanks, this is just the kind of thing I was hoping to find!

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    Massad Ayoob (Aftermath Shooting) - YouTube

    ...this man is an expert witness and has gotten a lot of folks a fair decision in court...

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    VIP Member Array Crowman's Avatar
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    When calling the police after a shoot and depending on the situation it is best to call the non-emergency number for the police if the shooting happens in your area. reason being is the all 911 calls are recorded(you just might say something that you shouldn't have). Most if not all non-emergency numbers are not recorded. Wouldn't be a bad idea to program your cell with the non-emergency number. Just saying............
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    VIP Member Array Gene83's Avatar
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    Just my two cents but not calling the emergency number might make people think that you were callous and uncaring toward the individual who was just shot and it might be better to state "There has been a shooting" rather than making the admission "I just shot someone".
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  10. #10
    VIP Member Array Secret Spuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crowman View Post
    When calling the police after a shoot and depending on the situation it is best to call the non-emergency number for the police if the shooting happens in your area. reason being is the all 911 calls are recorded(you just might say something that you shouldn't have). Most if not all non-emergency numbers are not recorded. Wouldn't be a bad idea to program your cell with the non-emergency number. Just saying............
    Someone just tried to take your life... and you fired your gun. Now that person is running/hiding/bleeding/dying or all the above... How could anyone ever consider this a non emergency?

    Keeping in mind also that often while an armed citizen may prevail in an armed confrontation... he or she may also be wounded. As Farronwolf pointed out... the incident may not be over.

    Calling 9-1-1 is something thats usually done in the heat of the incident. If it were me I'd call as soon as possible. My call would be as concise, and informative as I'm capable of at the time. One piece of advice I'd share is... Never say "I SHOT HIM" or "I KILLED HIM"...I'd use the words "I FIRED MY HANDGUN" or maybe "THERE WAS SHOOTING and I FIRED MY GUN"

  11. #11
    Senior Member Array Weeg's Avatar
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    At least tell the dispatcher what you look like and what you are wearing? Might be a good idea so the incoming troops have a description of the good guy/gal? ESPCIALLY snce theyare responding to a call involving a shooting?


    .
    Last edited by Weeg; February 27th, 2013 at 07:19 AM.
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    VIP Member Array suntzu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crowman View Post
    When calling the police after a shoot and depending on the situation it is best to call the non-emergency number for the police if the shooting happens in your area. reason being is the all 911 calls are recorded(you just might say something that you shouldn't have). Most if not all non-emergency numbers are not recorded. Wouldn't be a bad idea to program your cell with the non-emergency number. Just saying............
    Who told you that? Many of the calls are recorded.
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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Whomever said they are calling their lawyer first IMHO is way off base,if it goes to trial he fact that was the first call you made could make a Jury think you did something wrong and failure to get EMS/Police responding asap could make the difference between whether a wounded perp lives or dies,again at trial could look really bad in the eyes of a Jury.
    I'm going to call and give them the info they need,most of the time the 911 dispatchers will be asking questions ,I'm making sure of a couple of things like what crime was being committed,the fact I had to defend myself,I have a Concealed handgun permit My clothing description, race, etc. so responding officers don't shoot the guy with the gun,as soon as possible as units arrive,I'm going to reholster or lay my gun down and step away from it
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    Senior Member Array KBSR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snub44 View Post
    Massad Ayoob (Aftermath Shooting) - YouTube

    ...this man is an expert witness and has gotten a lot of folks a fair decision in court...
    This is the best (IMHO) tact to take with the responding police officer. Massad covers it well, though really doesn't address the 911 call and what you should say or not say.

    I'd be the person calling 911, if it was able to, and I think I'd say "There has been a shooting, at (insert location) and there is (one, two, three) subject(s) in need of medical attention. My name is (fill in your name and physical description), and I was forced to defend (fill in pertinent details, i.e. myself, my family, other innocents) when this subject (fill in the threat in as few words as possible). I'll be here waiting on the officers".

    I think I'd hang up at that point, to avoid answering additional questions, and then follow Massad's advice for the rest of the incident. Holster your weapon, and pay particular attention to witnesses/evidence, so you can point it out to the responding officer(s).

    Good thread OP. Better to have a plan, then not. Be safe.
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    "I shot someone because I was in fear for my life" sounds so Zimmerman-like and will support you about as well as lake ice in Bermuda in July. It's so "rehearsed." Try something believeable like, "The SOB tried to kill me!"
    ruger91 and Secret Spuk like this.
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