Understandable freak out, but no. The proper protocol: give the 911 operator your name, address and a short description of yourself (so the responding cops don’t cap yo’ ass). Then either hang up or put down the phone and get on with the business of defending yourself and your loved ones. The latter option is the best IF you use the subsequent recording as an opportunity to establish a case for self-defense. In other words, you might want to yell something like “Leave now. The police are on their way. I’m armed. Don’t make me shoot you.” Either way, coming off all Dirty Harry to a 911 operator will do you no favors in a civil or criminal courtroom, should it come to that. Which it always could.

43 Responses to What Not to Say to a 911 Operator During a Home Invasion

  1. This guy was likely so pumped up on fear & adrenaline he likely had no idea what he was saying. It was his brain trying to prepare him for the moment if / when the bad guy came through his front door.

  2. Im fine with how this went down… would I have done things different? All things equal would there still be a perp shot? Most likely to both.

  3. One of the greatest lessons I learned from Force-on-Force training is how to talk to 911. It’s invaluable!

    “I need police and ambulance. A man broke into my house and he’s been shot.”
    “Okay, sir, can you give a description of the victim?”
    “I’m the victim!”

      • “I’M THE VICTIM!” great stuff!
        Give location, situation, and situation again. This is police radio procedure. That way if you can’t communicate for any reason after the first sentence, the know where to start looking for you.
        also as Robert said give a description of yourself (or have a non-combatant do it if you’re otherwise engaged).

  4. I can’t help but feel bad for the poor guy, he was clearly scared shitless and wanted to appear strong and like that previous commentor noted, “pump himself up”. I just hope the prosecutor for the state (if charges are filed) doesn’t use this against him to defend the innocent snowflake that only broke to help pay for school and that he was getting his life back on track. ::rolls eyes::

  5. From Fox 25: “Following the incident, several neighbors were asked about the confrontation and whether the homeowner was justified in shooting the intruder.”

    This makes me absolutely rage. It’s like asking children about the national budget. Why would anyone care what the neighbors think? Their opinions are worthless!

    • What bugged me the most in that report was what one of the neighbors said.

      Carla Carney, who also lives nearby disagrees, she says three gunshots is too much.
      “You should protect your house, but if he was shot once, why continue to keep shooting?” said Carney.

      Three shots is to much? The guy didn’t kill him. He used just enough force to stop the violent threat against him and his wife. I have a feeling that if Carney in that situation that she would have emptied the thing in to his a$$. What purpose does a quote like this have in this article other then to take a good self-defense story and twist it in to a man goes too far in defending his family story.

    • Roger, roger! And don’t say “descending to” or “climbing to” since “to” can be confused with “two.”

      “Descending two-thousand feet” is sufficient.

      I know the AIM includes “to” in its recommended verbiage, but I’ve heard it lead to confusion a couple times.

      If you need a better authority than myself, read or listen to the US Airways Flight 1549 transcript, right before those fine fellows became heroes.

      US1549: ‘cactus fifteen forty nine seven hundred climbing five thousand’

      No “to.” Perfect! 🙂

      • ICAO is now using “climb to” in lieu of “climb and maintain” in some regions. As a USAF controller this will possibly be the most difficult change if I ever get stationed i

    • Depends on jurisdiction… in many places (like where I live), the law is pretty explicit– forced entry automatically justifies the right to use deadly force. If you shoot someone who has kicked in your front door (while you’re inside), it’s a justifiable homicide, no if’s, and’s or but’s.

      • Same. But it still is a good practice to keep your words to a minimum with 911. You can still be sued by the family and even if you win you lost because of the court costs and lawyer fees.

      • Legally intent to use deadly force does not equate with intent to kill. A good prosecutor with an ignorant jury would say, that the man had intent to kill the person, not just defend himself, and shot 3 times instead of once to make sure the guy died. They could further argue that the guy had to have been able to hear the cop car pull up prior to the shots being fired (not clear from the 911 tape, but could be argued).

        I know there are a lot of armchair accusations going around, but what do you want to bet this guy never once took training on DGU aftermath? Ya think maybe, just maybe some forethought and training could make some difference here?

  6. I don’t see anything wrong with this. Sure the guy could have said better, choice words, but he didn’t. Who ever said you have to warn the intruder that you are armed. Honestly that is a very bad idea in my eyes. Sure just let the guy outside, who also may be armed, know that your armed. That can end poorly. If anything shout that the police are on the way, and if he doesn’t leave and manages to get in. Surprise, now he knows your armed.

    • I’m with you – he warned the operator he was armed, he told the guy to get out of his house after minutes of him on tape breaking in, and he kept calm.

      This guy can obviously be calm in life or death situations – that should be commended, not condemned.

  7. I have a lot of respect for the author but this is classic Monday Morning Quaterback bs. Until you are put into a situation where you know you are about to take a human life and know you may lose yours in the process I think this 911 caller should be given the benefit of he doubt. I worked many years in law enforcement until a violent encounter ended my career. This reminds me so much of the Brass sitting in their nice comfy offices, drinking a cup of coffee, while reviewing video and audio recordings of incidents. Very easy for them to critique, fom afar, something they were not a part of. Shoulda, woulda, coulda definitely applies here,

      • Nope. You need to think ahead, plan, and train so you know how you will react to a very high degree of probablity. That’s your responsibility. Whether it’s flying, scuba diving, shooting, driving a car– you think, plan, prepare, and train so that in the moment you are following well-thought out pre-planned responses as opposed to winging it. An ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure.

    • In aviation we call this debriefing, or hangar flying, or Learning From the Other Guy’s mistakes. NTSB has a website with the investigations/reports from all the aviation mishaps, I highly recommend anybody serious about flying read them because you’ll learn a lot of mistakes to avoid that killed others.

      Yes, this is shoulda, woulda, coulda– but don’t think of it as a critique of the other guy but as a debrief of what went right, what went wrong, what could have been done better. Then apply those lessons to yourself.

      This guy made choices, he achieved his goal of having himself and those he was responsible for alive and unharmed. He did yell at the guy to get out, the implication being he was giving the intruder to run vice being shot. But, his other comments may (that’s may) be used against him… That’s what hangar flying is about, taking apart somebody else’s (or a hypothetical) situation so you are ready when the excrement impacts the rotating etc.

      or, as Groucho Marx used to say, “I could go on talking to you kids forever, but it’s time to play You Bet Your Life.”

  8. Monday morning quarterbacking is not my cup of tea, however, while this person was whispering to the dispatcher he could have taken a moment to yell at the person at the door-it is obvious it took the perp some time to get the door open. The homeowner and his wife were armed, he made it known to the dispatcher-yet it does not seem he made an effort to defuse the situation by advising the perp. Was the perp made aware the house was occupied? that may have made him choose another target. Had he known the resident was armed that in and of itself MAY have persuaded him to think it over. Had that been the case, that firearm may have never needed to be discharged. I was not there so I only ask, however the words he chose to employ are on tape which can now be brought to bear against him in court by an anti-2a prosecutor, or used against him in a civil suit by the perps family.

  9. Shutting up is so hard for us humans to do 🙂 Seriously . . . And I would not recommend lying to 911. Short and simple is best. And you better believe a good attorney will research your internet activity (like here) for anything he/she could use against you in court.

  10. Nothing wrong with that call. Trying to nitpick words a real victim is saying during an adrenaline pumped life and death situation is totally unfair. He even waited until he had no other choice. Not like he fired prematurely or anything. Just thank the guy for thinning the herd.

  11. I don’t think anyone is implying the guy did or said the wrong thing…just that all else being equal, the victim give himself the best chance of not ruining his day anymore than already is by saying only what is necessary.

  12. I once took a 9-1-1 call from a woman wanting information on a freind who was arrested. Yes a 9-1-1 call and she was freaking the fv@k out. My point is this guy handled himself pretty well, he was calm and clear in everything he said. Overall, I would say he had control based on what we know. He didnt sound like he wanted to shoot the guy either. Poor choice of words? Yea probably but I am not a lawyer. To me his fear was almost palpable and I think that will work to his advantage.

  13. I usually start my 911 calls with a standard “Excuse me while I whip this out.” From there, I break into “say hello to my little friend”…. maybe a “Yipe Kye Ya, M******f******”…. I kinda just like to free form my dialogue.

    Seriously though. One of the more useful handgun training events I have attended forced us to practice our vocal commands. “Somebody dial 911” at the top of your lungs. “Stay down”, “I have called 911”, “show me your hands” all need to be yelled clearly during a DGU.

    You have to train the way you will perform.

  14. I can’t knock the guy for what he said. At all.

    Scary situation.

    He is allowed by law to shoot an intruder. He even warned the guy.

    That he said some choice words before shooting the subject should have no bearing on his actions in as far as anyone attempting to deem his actions in this shooting ‘illegal’ because ‘he said ______ ‘.

    He protected himself and his family. Good job. Sad place to be in as well.

    No telling what I might be saying if someone breaks in here.

    Of course, ‘Go ahead, make my day’ wouldn’t be one of them.

  15. In what backwards country do we live if this guy could in ANY way be held criminally liable for this? If someone is illegally and forcefully entering your home, you could yell “I’m King Kong motherf&%*#r!!!” and fill his ass with 30 rounds of SS109 and should still not receive even the slightest slap on the wrist.

    There is nothing that gets my blood boiling more than the thought of a POS or the deceased POS’ family somehow taking legal action against those whom said guilty party intended to do harm in the first place.

    Freedom has officially vanished when courts put the interests of thugs ahead of citizens.

  16. I’ve been almost in that situation. Guy kicking at door; tell the wife to call 911; warn the guy through the door that police are enroute and he’d best scram.

    Twenty seconds later, the door gives way and the yoot takes a twelve inch steel bolt through the sternum.

    Even had he been armed, I’d still likely have prevailed; people (even yoots) tend to just stop and stare dumbly when confronted by a steel crossbow.

    Strangely enough, he didn’t die – but the invasion was at that point over. The other bolt in my over/under could stay in place as he was alone. Had he had two friends…? Well, there’s the blade on the end, but it’s not soevvective from behind cover.

    Now I’ve a Tokarev.

  17. Things never to say to the 911 operator:

    “Joe Biden told me to give him both barrels.”
    “I just shot a man in my pajamas.”
    “When he climbed through the window, my gun just went off. Several times.”
    “This is exactly why I switched to hollow points.”
    “I shot him inside the house, but I dragged him to the front yard because he was bleeding on the Persian rug. It took me twenty minutes to get the stain out.”

  18. The title of this article is “what not to say to a 911 operator”, but the article doesn’t explain what shouldn’t have been said or why not? I’ve been a 911 dispatcher for 20 years and it sounds like a typical call.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *