Conroe Texas Police Officer Shotgun Fail

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If someone’s aiming a gun at you, you are in deep, deep trouble. You have exactly three options, attack (shooting first might work), retreat (dive for cover if cover be had) or face the consequences of your inactivity (up to and including death). In this case, Sgt. James Kellerman paid for his strategic blindness with actual blindness; the perp’s shotgun blast took out his right eye. In this report at click2houston.com, the news person repeats Kellerman’s claim that he didn’t shoot first to protect whoever might habe been behind the shotgun-wielding madman. Which tells us he that had no confidence in his own shooting abilities. It also highlights the fact that many members of the police don’t understand the ways of the warrior. And that’s worrying.

comments

  1. avatar Mthughes says:

    I think he and the other officers are heroes. Just showing up to the fight shows bravery. We can say he should have done this or that, but they did their job. They eliminated the threat without civilians getting injured.

    I do wonder if he had an ar15 or handgun, I see one other officer with an ar. Just an idea, but should not cop cars have reinforced doors for bullets to not penetrate?

    1. avatar mitch127 says:

      Reinforced doors on the Crown Vic are a $1200 option, almost no department pays for them.

      1. avatar Mthughes says:

        It also raises the issue of two officers per car

      2. avatar doug says:

        no department pays for them? how much do you think they’re making on our bull sh*t traffic violations…and not to mention everything they spend is tax deductible…where do you think their money comes from anyway

    2. avatar doug says:

      This man WAS a civilian. Just because he commits a crime he’s not considered? Then we all are in breach of citizenship or civility. Of course his crime was a little more than a traffic violation, but Police should never aproach this great of a threat without backup present. It was his fault that the man was killed instead of arested, and who knows? This could have been one convict who after rehab may have done great things, but we’ll never know because of a cop’s mistake…and to tell you the truth, the gun shot should have finished him. This is a deep example of today’s police beeing prejudice and inexperienced. For instance, sure it’s expensive for bullet proof doors, but does that mean you should leave the car if you don’t have them? Some protection is better than none, Dumb-ass

  2. avatar BLAMMO says:

    I lost count how many times he said “Put the gun down.” More than twice, it becomes gratuitous and ineffectual. You’ve given the perp his chance and he will only become less likely to comply from that point on.

    I wonder, under what circumstances the wounded officer would ever fire his weapon.

  3. avatar mitch127 says:

    I attended a seminar on police mindset and use of force last night. Every officer presenting had at least one example from their career where they could (and probably should) have fired but did not. It’s apparently quite hard to kill someone, even when you’ve been trained to and know that you should.

  4. avatar TheDentalWarrior says:

    I saw this story (and video) on Fox News this morning. I was equally perplexed (as the author of this blog post). The officer’s repeated verbal commands (in the face of looking down the barrel of an aimed shotgun) reminded me of the VERY disturbing (and well-known) video of Deputy Dinkheller getting stuck in the OODA loop and paying the ultimate price. That was one of the most sickening videos I’ve ever seen. And, today’s video is VERY similar. This officer was lucky.

    I do understand being concerned about hitting innocents behind the bad guy. But, his concern seemed to vanish after he was shot, and then he fired a shot back missing by a wide margin (and hitting the car window on the driver’s side).

    What happened to the bad guy? I see in the news video that he was shot. But, they didn’t mention if he survived or was killed.

  5. avatar Buuurr says:

    “Mthughes says:

    April 8, 2011 at 10:19 AM

    I think he and the other officers are heroes. Just showing up to the fight shows bravery. We can say he should have done this or that, but they did their job. They eliminated the threat without civilians getting injured.

    I do wonder if he had an ar15 or handgun, I see one other officer with an ar. Just an idea, but should not cop cars have reinforced doors for bullets to not penetrate?”

    I think he had noble intentions. I don’t think ineffectually entering and leaving a gunfight makes you a hero because you got shot and survived. I reserve the word hero for someone who truly does something heroic. The attitude of this being heroic is what gets folks killed because after many incidents like this one people still fail to see the poor training/response a lot of officers bring to a problem situation. They are happy to call them heroes and many people and officers have come to the thinking that they are in fact heroes and are the only ones (officers) who are capable/able to handle a ‘situation’ (hence why a lot of police think that civilians should not have guns. They have it covered, right? Yeah, right.)

    I don’t wonder anything about the officer having an AR or the like – it simply would be another gun to be unfamiliar with. The armor – irrelevant because he would still have to stick his head up. Instances such as this are the reason why many gun owners go crazy when someone talks about us not needing to protect ourselves. I know this incident doesn’t happen everyday but if this had been an incident in which the bungling officer in question had allowed this nut to harm someone’s kid or anybody else there would be an outcry for his badge and an investigation into what went wrong and two weeks of intensive CNN reporting and Nancy Grace’s opinions (not joking). But! He was lucky and got shot and it turned out okay, so he is a hero. Ppppfffttt. Whatever.

    1. avatar J Scalia says:

      Excellent post, Buuurr… Even if he had a AR, he probably lacked the skill to use it. My fear is seeing poorly training officers deploying such a weapon when it could be taken from them after being killed by the suspect.

      Also, many cops in L.A. believe that only the police and military should have firearms. If that became law, may God help all the defenseless law-abiding civilians because I know that most cops barely qualify and only shoot the minimum number of times per year.

      1. avatar Buuurr says:

        Thank you. Back in Canada we had a recent scuffle with the police and citizens gun issues. Our city police never had handguns. They always had shotguns in the trunks if things went south. Literally the month these guys got their guns they were stating how the local population should not have any firearms unless they pass a brutal testing session (sometimes lasting three weeks) just to go hunting. I am all for the screening for illness and whatnot but that wasn’t the reason the province allowed this. For me it brought to light how untrained the police were in the city. I mean they were literally saying that if we suck with these things all you guys must really suck.

        Anyways. Absolute power and all that…

      2. avatar Mthughes says:

        Yeah because ar’s are so complicated to use…those ineffective cops could never figure out how to use one effectively..

        Let’s say you have a 25 yard target, would you rather take a kill shot with a rifle or handgun? That was the reasoning behind my ar question. I think most would want a long gun… hell insert mini 14 whatever.

        Yes he should have fired, no he’s not a hero for getting shot. But officers show up to gun fights when called. Maybe that is expected of them. I see it this way. If some one told me there was going to be a gun fight I would try my best to avoid it.

        I think all military men and women are heroes, maybe you think I use the term too loosely. These are people who volunteer to protect and serve me and other citizens, and I am grateful to them for it.

        1. avatar NT_ says:

          Right on.

        2. avatar Buuurr says:

          “Yeah because ar’s are so complicated to use…those ineffective cops could never figure out how to use one effectively..”

          No, they are not hard to use. Any idiot can pick up a gun and pull the trigger. Using it effectively and without hurting people is a whole other story. This officer seemed to not shoot because he was concerned about the people behind the prep or around him. How confident do you think this officer would have been with an even more powerful weapon with more penetration? You might as well give a guy with that kind of lack of confidence a tank and expect it to go well. His fear was hurting people by accident when the reality was that if he didn’t hurt someone or, at least try something, the prep would have for sure. You can name whatever weapon you want and put it in this man’s hands and it would have been rendered useful only to his brothers in blue or the prep.

          “Let’s say you have a 25 yard target, would you rather take a kill shot with a rifle or handgun?”

          Well this is an easy answer but has no relevance to the issue at hand. The prep was not 25 yards away, not near it. He was well within ‘unload a clip into his chest safely’ distance. Is that what you mean when you talk about a kill shot or was this officer a sniper and it wasn’t mentioned?

          “That was the reasoning behind my ar question. I think most would want a long gun… hell insert mini 14 whatever.”

          Re-read paragraph one.

          “Yes he should have fired, no he’s not a hero for getting shot.”

          Yep and nope.

          “But officers show up to gun fights when called.”

          It’s their job.

          “Maybe that is expected of them.”

          Yep, it’s their job.

          “I see it this way. If some one told me there was going to be a gun fight I would try my best to avoid it.”

          Then you would be out of a job.

          “I think all military men and women are heroes, maybe you think I use the term too loosely.”

          I do.

          “These are people who volunteer to protect and serve me and other citizens, and I am grateful to them for it.”

          I am too but I trust in folks who do it competently. As an aside – they get paid for it.

    2. avatar Mthughes says:

      To be clear, I said they were all heroes, not for being shot, but for going into harms way willingly, just like military personnell.

      I personally don’t want to show up to a known gun fight.

  6. avatar J Scalia says:

    This officer is NOT a hero. A hero goes above and beyond what is expected of him. What happened here is FAILURE TO ENGAGE AN ARMED AND DANGEROUS SUSPECT.

    I’m a retired LEO in Los Angeles and have been been involved in law enforcement training for over 10 years. This man is a failure as a police officer and is extremely lucky to be alive.

    I agree with Blammo here. In fact, there is NO REQUIREMENT for police to order a suspect to drop a gun when there is an immediate threat. Failure to take immediate action could result in DEATH TO THE OFFICER OR INNOCENT PERSONS.

    And yes, this video reminds me of the Deputy Dinkheller shooting. Verbal commands are useless and ineffective when dealing with suspects intent on killing you or plans to commit suicide by cop.

    You’re right, too Mitch127 – many cops cannot and do not shoot when they should have. I bet you are familiar with Col Grossman and his Killology / Warrier Mindset. I agree with you wholeheartedly. In my first shooting, the first thing to run through my mind is whether I was shooting the “right” person because he was aiming a gun at an innocent victim. Although, in each shooting, more than anything I felt angry that someone would try to kill me, or another innocent party. I didn’t feel “SCARED” as this failure stated in his interview.

    I recall an officer on my watch in south Los Angeles that would NOT shoot a man that was aiming a rifle at him. The suspect later surrendered and the officer told everyone, “I knew he wouldn’t shot me.” THIS IS THE WRONG MINDSET AND COULD GET YOU KILLED. I asked the officer how he “knew” the suspect wouldn’t shoot him and he just repeated he “knew” the suspect wouldn’t shoot. UNBELIEVABLE.

    I could go on and on but I’m too upset after watching this video and seeing his interview. If I were his superior, I would recommend a demotion or termination.

  7. avatar Ralph says:

    This is crazy. In the video, an officer refuses to shoot an armed suspect. Tomorrow, an officer will shoot and kill a man brandishing a comb. What the hell is going on?

    1. avatar J Scalia says:

      Just imagine if the suspect had ran into the store and killed a few people because the officer let him get away… Would anyone call the officer a hero then???

      1. avatar Buuurr says:

        Nope, that was exactly my point. People are silly.

  8. avatar Nate says:

    What a shame. Even faced with the possibility of being shot and killed, the officer had a hard time making the decision to pull the trigger. I usually hate to bring politics into fundamentally non-political situations like this, but I think this helps explode the myth that carrying a gun makes you prone to use it whenever you want. I mean, if even cops, with all their training and experience, can have difficulty defending themselves from imminent death, how can anti-gun people possibly believe that private citizens will pull out their guns and fire away indiscriminately at the slightest provocation? Shooting someone is a horrible thing to have to do, and I think there are very few people who will do it lightly, as this police officer unfortunately shows.

  9. avatar Cowboy Dan says:

    “Shooting someone is a horrible thing to have to do, and I think there are very few people who will do it lightly, as this police officer unfortunately shows.”

    A lot of the indecision on the part of police officers is probably due to their training. Our range officers also ran the annual training sessions, and as I recall, VERY few were big on “Stay safe and protect the innocent.” Most of them were of the “If you shoot somebody, you’ll lose your job and probably go to jail” mindset.

    I cleared leather on duty once in four years as a correctional officer. A van tried to get between me and an ambulance transporting an inmate who was in prison for killing at least one police officer down in the Miami area. I pulled my pistol and pointed it at the driver of the van. He backed off and we completed our mission. The officer in the ambulance and the paramedic in the back with the inmate both thanked me for doing what I did.

    I had our head institutional security officer come out to talk to me about it, and it probably is the incident that ended up costing me my job. He was a real prick, and more concerned with what MIGHT have happened if I’d shot the guy. I got right back in his face and asked him if it would have been preferable for a cop killer to escape, and maybe kill a couple of more officers (me and B.J.) and a couple of paramedics.

    He didn’t have a good answer for that. If it hadn’t been for him and a couple of other bosses with like mindsets, I might still be there.

    1. avatar GAKoenig says:

      Let me get this straight- you drew down on someone simply because they drove their van between you and an ambulance?

      Was this on a public street? Was there any indication to the driver that they shouldn’t have driven/parked where they were? Was there any indication that the ambulance had this dangerous prisoner inside?

      Frankly, you sound like someone who was itching to “clear leather.” I’m a former EMT who has transported prisoners before. When we did, we not only had a deputy with us, but they were fully physically restrained and chemical restraints were prepped and ready should there be anything close to a problem.

      I don’t see how someone driving a van between you and the ambulance constitutes anything resembling a lethal threat requiring you to draw your weapon.

      Unless there is a LOT more to this story, than your boss was 100% correct in letting you go. Drawing down on citizens isn’t to be taken lightly.

  10. avatar stateisevil says:

    They showed incredible restraint with that man. All too often I see what looks like police committing murder, but once a long gun is being pointed at you by somebody who has obviously lost it, you must look at the front site and squeeze the trigger.

  11. avatar Magoo says:

    Hmm, “the ways of the warrior.” Here are warrior rules of engagement as applied to law enforcement:

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      I don’t think you know much about the whole warrior mindset. Either that or your’re being deliberately provocative. My money’s on the latter.

      1. avatar Magoo says:

        I know what the word warrior means because I own a dictionary: soldier; one who engages in warfare. If you have another definition, you or somebody else made it up. You wouldn’t mean that ridiculous prose poem you ran a while back, do you?

        Opinions vary, but allow me to join law enforcement professionals everywhere in asserting that I don’t want cops with anything approaching a “warrior mindset.” Police officers are not soldiers and civilians are not the enemy. We want peace officers on the beat, not an occupying army.

        1. avatar Robert Farago says:

          As they say in the porn industry, if you don’t understand it, it’s not for you. Only in this case it is.

  12. avatar Nikegoddess says:

    I work in Conroe where this happened and had interaction with Sgt. Kelemen about 5 almost 6 years ago. I know now that he must have been a rookie then and wasn’t impressed with his response to our problem. We had teenagers vandalizing the business right when we were closing and I was 23 yrs old and unwilling to see how far they would go. We had a description of the two kids, their vehicle and license plate. They even drove past while we were telling him what happened and he peeled out after them but strangely couldn’t catch them. We felt he didn’t try very hard because they just threw trash in our parking lot and a coke at the windows. Because of his lack of effort, they came back
    three nights that week to egg our storefront,
    which I had to clean up.

    STILL, I am upset hearing about his injury. I think he should have shot the guy especially after seeing the guy wouldn’t put down his gun. It cost him his eye and put the other officers in jeopardy and any innocent people around as well.

    My boyfriend is a retired sheriff’s deputy from the hill country and was injured in the line of duty but not for a lack of trying to get the bad guy. I’ll be interested to see how they treat the sergeant when he’s well and if they find something for him to do for the department. The sheriff’s department just disabled my boyfriend out because of his shoulder being damaged instead of making him an investigator or some other less physically demanding position. Very disheartening. My boyfriend NEVER wanted to shoot anyone and never killed a suspect but if it came down to life or death or stopping someone he used his weapon, be it his handgun or his AR 15.

    He’s taught me that if it’s me or a bad guy to do
    what I have to to protect myself or anyone
    unable to do so.

    I do feel bad for Sgt. Kelemen but I’m thinking more training should be in order for CPD as far as shooting and dealing with crazy people with guns. Plus, and this is gonna sound kinda shallow but, he is a HUGE guy. I thought departments needed cops to pass physical agility stuff and physicals. This guy doesn’t look like he could. My boyfriend is diabetic (type 1 and not overweight at all!) and doesn’t ever understand the overweight cop issue. Seems kind of self explainatory that they should be able to pursue if necessary.

    I hope he gets well soon and that maybe they talk to him and the other officers about the incident and what should have been done and make changes for future altercations.

    STILL,

    STILL

    1. avatar J Scalia says:

      Hello Nikegoddess. Thank you for your insight into this department, and sorry about your BF. I 100% agree with you that the Conroe department has some serious training issues.

      From what Sgt. Kellerman said, he was afraid that someone might be in the store behind the suspect and in the line of fire, and he decided not to shoot because of the danger to these unseen persons. I call BS on this one! It sounds more like a lame excuse for his inaction more than anything.

      In police work we are often faced with split-second decisions that require balancing the pros and cons of our actions. For that matter, this event wasn’t even a split-second decision, as we see it took quite a while before Kellerman was shot. At 00:15 Kellerman can be heard giving verbal commands to put the gun down. It is incredulous that a full 10 SECONDS later (00:25), Kellerman has a perfect shot and refuses to take it. This occurring after he allowed the suspect to advance on his position!

      Even if we believe Kellerman’s lame excuse, that means that in balancing the decision to fire at a suspect who was probably no more than 15-20 yards away, Kellerman assigned greater weight to the UNSEEN and possibly non-existent persons inside the store rather than firing his weapon to save his own life which was in IMMEDIATE DANGER.

      It is incidents like these that keep raising the police officer body count. It is truly a miracle that Kellerman wasn’t killed as a result of his inaction. Though only speculation, it WOULD NOT suprise me at all if Kellerman said he would not have done anything different if presented again with the same circumstances. EPIC FAIL.

  13. avatar aerie_dweller says:

    Sgt. Kellerman is not the only one to blame for this incident. The suspect is the primary cause, Sgt. Kellerman didn’t take action when he was able to, but where is the officer who apparently arrived mid-video, pre-shooting? We hear a siren approach and arrive, but we never see who was driving that car. While Sgt. Kellerman was the first to arrive, and the one who initiated contact with the suspect, why didn’t the second officer take action? There’s no rule that says you have to have the gun pointed at you to use force.

    Perhaps the second officer arrived on the left and didn’t have a good shot. I can understand that. But I’m still curious if the second officer attempted any flanking upon arrival, or if s/he “got in line” behind Sgt. Kellerman’s car…

  14. avatar Ted says:

    What the hell??? Somebody just say it!!! This guy got his stips by sucking somebodies ass. He sure as hell didn’t make them by being courageous. These folks that are putting on the badge today are just setting themselves up for failure. If you think you can go in there and talk this murderer into giving up his gun and then giving you a hug then you haven’t dealt with a whole lot of assholes that are true criminals. I’ll tell ya man these guys don’t give a shit about you’re touchy feely bull shit. They will take your head off any damned way they can. Trust me please on this one. If your faced with this situation please please please kill that piece of shit in front of you that is pointing a gun in your face. Please don’t ask him to just give it up and let’s just hug!!! PLease Please Please don’t do it. He will kill you every time, just dispatch of the asshole and take 6 months off for the investigation and that’s it. He gave you a bunch of good paid off time to spend with your family or if you make the wrong decision then you just might be giving him the satisfaction of making your kids Fatherless and your wife Single again. This is not what you want PLEASE

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