“Three Los Angeles County deputies were relieved of duty, and two of them were arrested following an off-duty shooting incident near La Mirada Regional Park,” latimes.co reports. “Deputy Pete Gomez of the sheriff’s media bureau said he could not say what happened at the park during the predawn incident, but that brandishing or pointing a gun could be charged as an assault. ‘I don’t know if there was an argument, I don’t know if there was a fight. I do know this will be thoroughly investigated.” The three deputies had minor injuries and no one was shot. What does that tell you?

For those of us in The Job, this incident isn’t as big a surprise as you’d imagine. I have yet to come across a shootout between colleagues—besides taking shots at the local watering hole off duty. But there have been plenty of disputes between law enforcement officers both on and off duty where I work.

The rule among the rank and file is simple enough: be careful who you mess with. The person you hate today may be your life-saving (or not) backup tomorrow. No one wants to mess with the cop who may have to shoot the bad guy that’s about to “make YOUR day.”

Usually police have a at least of modicum of mutual respect. Truth be told, the police force is like a fraternity. And like most frat house altercations, cop-on-cop violence is usually over a girl. Or money.

Some of these altercations have been settled by management. Some of them have been sorted out by guys within a team. Some of them have been “negotiated” privately. When conflicts remain unresolved and violence flares, it can get pretty ugly.

The police involved in this incident should be investigated with the same rigor that would be applied to civilians in the same situation. Keeping in mind that, in the end, we in the law enforcement field are just a “slice of the population.” We come with all the same baggage and problems as most “regular” people.

All that said, I find it deeply disturbing to read about three law enforcement officer getting into a gun battle with each other. Thankfully, the officers (and no innocent bystanders) were hit. Which should open a separate enquiry into LA firearms training. Sad but true.

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23 Responses to Three Off-Duty LA Deputies in Fraternal Shootout

  1. If I were a member of the LAPD (and I’m not), I think I would wish that you had put an LA County Deputy’s badge at the top of the story, rather than an LAPD badge. Unless I’m mis-reading the story, the LAPD doesn’t have anything to do with it. Rather like putting the marine corps emblem as the lead graphic in a story about sailors getting arrested while on shore leave, isn’t it?

  2. Sailors arrested on shore leave? Sailors getting in trouble on liberty? Nope, never happened, must have been the Marines.

    • That is true and was reported in the LATimes. Maybe it was a quarrel over…oh forget it. BTW, I wonder how the mass media is going to twist this one?

  3. “What does that tell you?
    — To avoid going anywhere near La Mirada Regional Park for a dawn sun worship ceremony?”

  4. Christopher, you stated, “I have yet come across a shootout between colleagues—besides taking shots at the local watering hole off duty.” Well, here ya go; an example of cop on cop violence involving guns and fueled by demon ethanol. Yes, cops are all too human. What’s interesting in the case below, which one rarely sees in the press, is that the officers involved actually had names and weren’t hidden from the public. As the story unfolded here in Boston, all of the officers directly involved were named. The shooter, not named in the story below, was quickly identified in the press. If I recall correctly, after the department inquiry (I’m not sure if there was an actual trial), the shooter was forced to take an early retirement.

    http://www.northeastshooters.com/vbulletin/threads/8522-Cop-Shoots-Cop-in-West-Roxbury

    From the Boston Herald;

    Source: Cop shot fellow officer
    By O’Ryan Johnson and Michele McPhee
    Friday, June 23, 2006 – Updated: 12:16 AM EST

    A Boston police officer sent a .40-caliber round speeding through the hip of a fellow officer early yesterday morning in West Roxbury as the two argued over whether he was sober enough to drive, sources said.
    The injured cop, Officer Joseph Behnke, was taken to Brigham and Women’s Hospital where he was treated and released for a non-life-threatening wound, police said.
    The shooting capped a night of drinking by Boston cops that began on a boat docked off the Venizia in Dorchester, wound through more Dorchester bars and landed at Behnke’s West Roxbury home, a high-ranking police source said.
    The shooter was attempting to leave the home when Behnke approached, telling him he was in no shape to drive and asking him to stay. The source said an argument ensued and the shooter pulled his Glock .40-caliber semi-automatic, shooting Behnke in the hip.
    “It’s a disgrace,” the source said. “For a cop to pull out his gun and shoot another cop is a disgrace. He should be locked up.”
    Following the shooting the trigger man drove away and Behnke, whose wife is a nurse, drove him to Brigham and Women’s Hospital where he was treated and released.
    The shooter was identified as a cop assigned to South Boston with about 20 years on the department. Behnke has about four to five years on the force, a source siad.
    Police and the district attorney’s office would not confirm the story, but said they are investigating.

    • Good read, thanks! Like a small society we do have our internal problems. Grant it, both these situations are to the extreme but it can happen. Hopefully the investigation will be transparent to the public. Thanks again!

    • “It’s a disgrace,” the source said. “For a cop to pull out his gun and shoot another cop is a disgrace. He should be locked up.”

      Yeah, he should be shooting members of the general public! Who does he think he is?

  5. In San Antonio, TX, years ago there was a shoot-out between two officers that had been close friends. As I remember, it took place in the front seat of a car. One fellow died and the other was wounded. The survivor’s story was that he had confronted his buddy for being on the take. The conflicting rumor was the survivor had been messing around with the deceased’s wife. I always wondered if the survivor ended up deaf. Eh?

  6. Professionalism in the field and off duty is ever so important when your coworkers are all armed at nearly all times. Courtesy goes a little further when it can save you a gunshot wound. Never know what can push someone over that edge. Cops are human too and I would hate to find that out for myself.

    Then again, I never hang around my coworkers any longer than being on duty stipulates. Experience has proven it is a bad idea. I mean its nice to share business jokes, inside jokes are the funniest, but it isn’t worth the hassle.

  7. “The three deputies had minor injuries and no one was shot. What does that tell you?”

    Well given that we know police only tend to hit their target about 25% of the time, it tells us that either A) no one pulled the trigger or B) as usual, they missed their target. Did the report happen to say if any shots had actually been fired?

  8. Two female cops arrested after a shootout over one male cop? Like an old New Order song, this sounds like a bizarre love triangle. It’s a shame for the citizens of LA that this is but one of several major scandals rocking their law enforcement services. They deserve better, but they never seem to demand it, from their police.

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