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Your next move- how would you handle this situation?

1389 Views 12 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  StandOnGuard
Here is a scenario that really happened. I believe this came from Mas Ayoob.

An off-duty plainclothes police officer was walking home late at night. He heard a woman screaming from a nearby alley, which was followed by 2 loud gunshots. The officer quickly went to the corner closest to the alley, and called 911 to report the incident while approaching the scene. He then peered around the corner to assess the situation. He saw a woman lying on the ground, not moving, and a male suspect with a revolver standing above her. The male was angled slightly away from him and was about 25-30 feet away. Then the officer, fearing for the woman's life, drew his own duty weapon, and cautiously approached the suspect. He then trained his weapon on the suspect, identified himself as a police officer, and ordered him to drop his weapon. The suspect started to back away, but did not drop his weapon, despite another order from the officer. Although the suspect was refusing to drop the weapon, he was not making any aggressive movements, and seemed to be more confused than threatening.

If you were in the officers shoes, how would you handle this situation?

How would you approach and handle this same situation as a civilian CCW holder who is armed?

After some discussion on this I will give the real life outcome, which has an interesting twist to it, prompting more thought and discussion.
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14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
SOLO, your response would probably be the highest choice as a civilian CCW holder.

It would be best to:

Have your weapon ready.

Observe the situation without being seen.

Call 911 and continue to monitor the situation with them.

Only consider intervening if the suspect became hostile toward the victim.

It is true that you do not know the details of what had happend, as the full events of the circumstance were not personally observed.
Without knowing all of the facts, it is difficult to make a correct judgement of what took place.

If you do intervene, could you justify lethal force if the suspect does not personally threaten or attack you?

Could you be charged with escalating the situation to a lethal force encounter just by getting involved?

The other responses so far would probably be good choices as a LEO, as you have the authority and responsibility to intervene.

· Registered
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I appoligize for the delay- I was away on a big high-end home theatre installation this week.

Here is how the scenario played out in real life:

The suspect with the gun started to point his gun at the officer and was screaming "please don't shoot me". At the same time the officer again repeated "drop your weapon" and as the suspects arms came up, the officer shot the suspect twice in the chest/abdomen, at a distance of about 15 ft. The suspect dropped the gun and sat down against the alley wall. The officer kicked the gun away, cuffed the suspect, and re-holstered his weapon.

Then the SHTF.

The woman who was on the ground attacked the officer, knocking him down, and went for the gun on the ground. A struggle ensued, and the the officer was barely able to restrain the female before backup arrived. She was screaming things like "you shot my boyfriend", and was threatening to kill the officer.

It took awhile for the situation to get sorted out and the facts straight.

The background facts were that the man and woman had dated for almost a year, and then the man broke off the relationship, as the woman was extremely possesive, and followed him everywhere, even when he was at work, out with friends, etc. The woman refused to acknowledge the breakup and would be inside of his apartment when he got home, was still following him around, and confronted and attacked a female friend of his that he went to lunch with one day. The man got a restraining order against her, and she was both enraged and despondent over this.

What happened in the alley before the officer arrived was that the woman followed and confronted the man, and pulled out a snubby .357 magnum on him, and was screaming that she was going to kill him and then herself if he did not continue having a realtionship with her. The man grabbed her to attempt to get the gun away, and she fired the gun, sending a couple of rounds off close to his head. He managed to get in a few blows in the struggle, knocking her semi-unconscious, and got the gun away from her.

When the officer confronted the man, he was for all intents and purposes, deafened from the muzzle blast of the .357 and from the auditory exclusion of the stressfull situation. Since the officer was in plain clothes, the man only saw someone else with a gun coming at him. He did not know whether to drop the gun or use it to defend himself. He later stated that he could not really think or make any rational judgements at all as the whole situation had caught him totally off-guard.

The officers rounds fortunately had not hit anything extremely vital, and the man recovered fully. He also decided not to press charges, civil or otherwise against the officer, only against his ex-girlfriend. The officer was absolved of any wrongdoings for his actions.

The officer stated that if faced with a similar situation in the future, that he would be more likely to continue to monitor the scene and wait for backup to arrive before rushing into the situation.

As many of you have already figured out, the main lesson here is that it is wise to not fully intervene in any situation that does not immediately affect your safety/life (or that of an innocent third party) if you do not know enough of the facts of the situation to form an unbiassed or accurate judgement of what is transpiring.

There are so many variables that can occur, not only in the immediate event, but also the background and the aftermath.

As some of you have stated, the female was the BG, but she could have just as well been the victim, how do you tell?

The man could have been an undercover LEO. What position would that put you in if you intervene with a weapon drawn?

What if the man had decided to press charges against the officer and his dept.? How would this have affected his carreer?

If you intervened and shot the suspect, what charges might be brought against you, esp. if the suspect had died? What emotional trauma would you have knowing that your intervention had cost the life of an innocent man?

The possibilties are endless.

In a situation in which you are not immediatly involved, always err on the side of caution.

And remember, the greatest weapon that you have is the one between you ears, and an undrawn sword is more powerfull than one weilded.
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