Concealed carry (courtesy gunholstersunlimited.com)

As we reported at the beginning of the month, the Force Science Institute has been discussing the thorny subject of blue-on-blue shootings. As is their wont, FSI asked cops to write in with their experiences on the subject. Not to put too fine a point on it, the anecdotes (disseminated by an email blast) are some scary sh*t. I’ve grabbed a couple of close-calls for your dancing and dining pleasure. Suffice it to say, make reholstering practice part of your training regimen. And as I pointed out previously on Who Doesn’t Want to Get Shot by Cops, always remember that drawing your weapon makes you a target for the Boys in Blue. So, first up: an armed robbery call split seconds away from a major oopsie . . .

I responded to an armed-robbery call where I spotted someone I believed to be the suspect running with a drawn gun toward a uniformed officer who had just arrived on scene. It appeared the apparent suspect was about to attack the officer, which led me to consider shooting.

As I drew my gun, I noticed something about him that told me he was a cop. In retrospect I think it was the way he was handling his gun, but at the time I just had a feeling that he was one of us.

Despite my deep concern for the safety of the other uniformed officer, I went with my gut and lowered my gun. It turned out I was right. Thank God that my subconscious picked up that clue and prevented me going any further.

If you’re depending on a police officer’s subconscious or “gut instinct”—and that could well be the case—you are in big trouble. Here’s another similar tale:

I was the handling officer on a silent robbery alarm at a bank shortly after I was released from the FTO program. As I made my approach behind some cars across from the bank, I observed a male adult in civilian attire standing outside the main entrance, holding a revolver at his side.

Believing he was an accomplice in an ongoing robbery, I radioed my observation to other responding officers and was preparing to take this individual under fire when another officer asked me for a physical description of the guy. When I gave it, the officer began yelling that this man was an undercover dope cop.

It turned out that this cop had a habit of jumping “hot” calls. I neither knew that nor recognized him because I was so new to the department.

And now a general warning:

There have been several times when I’ve been involved in off-duty situations and had to advise an on-duty officer who I was and what was happening. I have never had an officer challenge me too much, but I have been lucky, because now that I reflect on these situations, things could have gotten ugly real quick.

Words to live by.

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69 Responses to This is How Easy It Is to Get Shot By A Cop

  1. Draw you gun on a clear an present danger to your self. As they like to point out, just because we can carry concealed does not make us part of the the blue union.

    If you are caught in a crime in progress that is one thing. If you seek out a crime in progress to help, that is another. The second is not recommended.

  2. In 2 seperate incidents I have been under a cop’s gun. Both times ended without a shot being fired and both times I got a full explanation by the cops as to why they had their guns on me. Both times the cops were uniformed and wearing badges. No balaklava’s or that other stuff that looks like it belongs on a video game bad guy.

    • jwm, those are some gnarly experiences. care to elaborate? you kinda left us hanging in the middle of those experiences.

      • Not really all that exciting when you hear all the details. In West Virginia I was foreman for a service doing floor scrubbing and waxing for grocery stores. We went into the stores at closing time and did the floors. One night I heard a tapping at the front door of the store and figuring it was the owner, this was pre cell phone days, I went to investigate. At the front door I found 4 cops wanting entrance. I opened the door and was shoved against the wall by the lead cop who had his revolver, yeah that long ago, pushed up against my chest. The other 3 cops swarmed thru and in a few minutes they brought one of my crew out in cuffs.

        He had been a very bad man and the cops had been informed that he would be there, by his wife I believe.

        I was told by the head cop that they held me at gunpoint because they were unsure how many of us there were and how we would react to his arrest. At that time I was long haired with a bushy beard and more than one person said I looked like an outlaw biker.

        My biggest concern with the events was it put us one man short. But that’s the kind of guys you get when you pay minimum wages.

        • The second time I had a cop with a gun on me was more scarey because the cop looked scared. In California in the late 80’s I was doing night shift at a large warehouse complex. Multiple companies had warehouses there. Somebody triggered an alarm at one of the other businesses and thanks to an alarm monitoring company the cops got the wrong info.

          Myself and a coworker went out to the loading dock for our break and it was kinda dark there. Again, I’m large, ugly and then had long hair to go with my beard. Unkempt would probably be the best description.

          In the dark, responding to a burgler alarm, which turned out to be another business and a false alarm the cop came face to face with me and another guy. His gun muzzle looked awfully big and it was shaking a little. Made me nervous seeing that he was nervous. I took root and told my coworker to not move.

          It was sorted out with no injuries. And an apology from the senior cop on site that sorted the confusion out.

  3. It’s good to know that officers are able to hold their fire whenever another officer is around. Because we certainly don’t want them to hurt each other as long as there are family pets, children and innocent civilians to shoot.

  4. I heard of a few incidents like this. A cop I talked to said on his way to a meeting he was driving to, he saw another cop fighting some dude by the side of the road and pulled over to help him but stopped short because he was not in uniform.

  5. If you call acting like an idiot “easy”, then yes, it’s “easy” to get shot by a cop.

    You can achieve much the same with a knife, by the way.

    Much ado about nothing.

    I teach my students about the three rings of safety in dealing with responding officers and the innermost ring – your own non-threatening behavior – is perhaps the most important.

    Gun goes in holster. Hands up, and open in the surrender position and it’s “yes, sir” to whatever the officer tells you.

    John

    • I thought we were to suppliate before the copper by kneeling before him. Or perhaps we should prostrate ourselves before the awesomeness in the roadside mud while wearing our go to meeting suit.

      That entire “Get on the ground” nonsense is royalist BS rigth out 16th centruy Eurp.

      • That’s tough talk from an keyboard commando. Let’s see if you put your attitude to the test when you find yourself caught between the cops and the bad guys.

      • I’m sorry, Mr. IMPORTANT is too busy to take time out from his busy meeting schedule after he’s drawn a gun to get on the ground? Sorry, we’ll call back and ask you if you’re able to talk to us after business hours.

  6. This has been said before but it bears saying again.

    If you are involved in any kind of incident where you need to draw a weapon and police are likely to be involved, it is in your best interests to give a clear physical description of yourself to the dispatcher.

    If I get involved with something off duty, the description of myself will be the second thing I say when I call it in. The first one will be ‘off duty officer,’ but that’s good for jack squat if nobody knows who I am.

    The first chance I get, I’m holstering or if need be, putting my gun on the ground when the uniformed guys show up, just in case. Do what you think is best, but I don’t want to get shot either, and that’s what I’m going to do.

  7. Hold up your wallet and yell “I’m on the job!”

    Would they believe you if you were open carrying a cocked and locked 1911?
    Better to have a Glock, XD, M&P or some SBP (Square Black Pistol) to look coppish.

    • I’ve heard others advise holding up your wallet, even if you don’t have a badge in it. It’ll give BGs and cops pause and you won’t be “impersonating an officer.” Anyone else heard this?

      • It’s stupid. When under stress, people get tunnel vision and lose focusing ability. They make rapid decisions that aren’t always thought through as much as they would be otherwise. You’re going to be in the sights of a police officer who is considering you a threat to his life, and you want to pull out a dark object and start waving it around?

        Where do people get these dumb ideas, the movies? Put the gun down and keep your hands empty where they can be seen. Follow all directions. This is what off-duty police officers are trained to do, incidentally; while many are required to carry a badge when armed (often near their gun), grabbing it and waving it around like you’re in “Bad Boys 3” is a great way to become a statistic.

  8. One of the problems is the practically total immunity LEOs have for “accidental” shootings. A quick departmental “review”, and all is right with the world. From the POV of the shooter.

    Get an independent review board, with civilian members; immediate depositions from everyone involved instead of giving the shooter 24 hours to organize his story; and the potential for manslaughter charges.
    Suddenly the number of “justified accidental shooting”s by LEOs drops drastically.

    • Have you read any of FSI’s research or conclusions? Would you want to give a statement immediately after a shooting with the adrenaline shakes, and still in shock? Really?

      • Funny how they want to get a statement from a “civilian” shooter under exactly those conditions, but if it’s an officer involved shooting, they want the officer to take a week off to collect his thoughts before giving a statement without any possible holes in it.

  9. Law enforcement is the only place where mistaken identity can lead to unintended fatal consequences. Back in the late 1990s a SEAL team and an UK Special Boat Service Team showed up at the same target because no one bothered to coordinate the action. Fortunately both teams spoke sort of the same language or else it would have lead to a nasty blue-on-blue engagement in an hostile environment.

    The lesson learned is it doesn’t matter who you are. If nobody knows your place in the situation you are going to be treated as hostile by everyone.

    • If they were US Navy Seals and a UK boat team then yes, it’s very likely they both spoke some sort of the same language and that language was English.

        • They haven’t used Hereford in years. The question should be about the clock tower. They took it with them when they left hereford.

      • From our own “Yes, Prime Minister”, when a State funeral is being arranged with many international VIPs attending…

        +++
        Bernard Woolley: [on the phone] Yes, we will want simultaneous translators… Oh, no, not when the P.M. meets the leaders of the English-speaking nations…. Yes, the English-speaking nations can be said to include the United States. With a certain generosity of spirit.
        +++

    • This is the big reason why I work hard on identifying turds flying hither and yon through my environment before they impact turbine blades and adroitly arranging to be somewhere else.

      I figure attitudes in a gunfight go this way:

      1. Perp won’t like me, because I’m interfering with his business model.
      2. Cops won’t like me, because I’m in the proximity of the situation that initiated the radio call that caused them to spill jelly filling goodness down the front of their uniforms.
      3. My wife, who might be there or might not, will give me holy hell even if I live through a situation I could have avoided.

      The first two parties are seriously pissed off in the event that yours truly (or any other CCW carrier) intrudes upon their preconceived notions of how their day was going to unfold. The third party will make my day, should I survive, unpleasant as well.

      If I had to deal with only one side of this three-way cluster, I’d say “OK, I’ll sign up for that.” But being sandwiched between one party who views my potential demise as a footnoted cost of doing business, and another party who would view my death as an opportunity for paid vacation, with a third demanding “WTF were you thinking?”

      Hmmm, yea, I think I’m going to work hard to give that a clean miss.

      • “Paid vacation”? They are generally assigned to desk duty if they have a shooting, and I don’t think they view that a either a “vacation” OR a badge of honor; they stay behind at the station while their confederates go out on the street.

        • I’m the taxpayer, I’m paying for it, I’ll call it as I see it. They can protest all they want when they’re the ones paying for it.

        • Apparent good shoot=desk duty for a week or two while they dot all the i’s on their final report.

          Apparent bad shoot=paid leave for a few months while they sort it all out.

          Obvious bad shoot=paid leave for a year or more while they wait for all the “civilians” to forget about it.

  10. No worries mate.
    I just wear one of my many black T-shirts with the Internationally-recognized “NO” symbol emblazoned on it in red with large, bold, and bright-colored yellow text on both the front and back that reads:
    “DON’T SHOOT ME, I’M A LIBERAL”
    I’ve one for nearly every occasion, printed in English, Spanglish, Mandarin Chinese and Arabic.
    ( Must be working, I haven’t been shot yet. And not that it matters, because nothing really matters and what if it did? But FWIW… the chicks really dig it. )

  11. How about we wear a uniform and knock on owner’s doors. Instead of in blue jeans or gestapo gear kicking in doors guns blazing.

  12. Sometime before I retired from active duty, I was talking about weapons with a young Lt. // he was going thru flight shool // and the subject of conceal carry came up. His answer to it was simple, if the feller has a gun, he get’s shot.
    That’s one of those moments when I wish he was my student so he could graduate as the new janitor for a high school.
    Smh…..

  13. The moral here for me is anytime you are calling something in state “Off duty officer” and a description of yourself. So what if you aren’t actual PD. Tell them later you just wanted to make sure you didn’t get shot. Surely they’d understand that it’s ok to fib a little to get the desired outcome. It works for them right?

    • It may or may not save your life. It may or may not be the prosecution’s icing on the cake that you were a cop-wannabe vigilante who was itching for a chance to shoot somebody.

      I think I’ll take my chances with the truth.

  14. “As I drew my gun, I noticed something about him that told me he was a cop. ”

    Law-abiding “good guy” armed citizen never even crossed his mind, if he wasn’t a cop, he was going down…..

      • You could read it that way, and I suppose it may have been intended as such, but it as likely or more so that he meant to disarm them in their capacity as government employees. Which is actually no different than the vast majority of us who work in the private sector. Carrying is against company policy at work and if I did so and was caught, I would be fired. I need the money, so I don’t carry, and hope that nothing will happen on my way to and from, and at work.

    • What’s sadly comical about that article…

      “The Reverend Al Sharpton, a civil rights activist, said he and his National Action Network “are completely concerned of a growing pattern of black officers being killed with the assumption that they are the criminals.”

      Rev, in this case, it has nothing to do with “assuming blacks are criminals”, in NYC, if you have a gun, you’re assumed a criminal and are taken down post haste. All guns are illegal to Ray Kelly and Mike Bloomberg. period.

  15. “… preparing to take this individual under fire …

    Not preparing to point your hogleg at him and yell “Police! Freeze!” Harrumph. Wish I coud put a question mark in there.

    That’s one reason why we need widespread open carry.

    Bank robberies would be harder, and police would need more in the way of critical thinking skills.

    Oh, a great many LEOs do have very good brains, but that dumbasses can now also easily join the club is not good.

    • This is the thought I had. If a citizen opened fire on an armed person, and turned out to be wrong, there would be hell to pay.

  16. I hear enough about accidental police shootings in the news that it causes me to keep my distance from them as much as possible, but getting shot by a cop statistically is still about as probable as seeing two unicorns bumping uglies in field of daffodils, not very likely.

    • are you fu@%ing retarded? if you were to find two unicorns poking each other with their corns it would DEFINITELY be in a field of daffodils… get your ish together before you make such ridiculous comments…

      also, do your chances of being a police statistic increase if you see a black unicorn?

  17. I’ll just mention, for the same of argument, that there were no *actual* mistaken shootings in the aforementioned stories. Old ladies delivering newspapers got shot, yes, but that was a little while ago (and a colossal clusterf$ck).

    Last week I was chasing a resistive suspect across a few freeways, up an embankment, over a fence, and a few hundred yards down the sidewalk. An off-duty police office drove past me in an unmarked minivan as I was running. The off duty cop slammed on the brakes, and hopped out of his car. He was wearing a plain white T shirt, blue jeans, and a mustache. He had a stainless 1911 (which looked rather nice, by the way) in his hands. He yelled “Get the F$ck on the ground! Show me your GD hands!”

    The suspect complied, and I handcuffed him with a felony prone technique (my gun was drawn as well). No contraband, but No ID, either. A warrant check with LiveScan confirmation can back clear of misdemeanor or felony warrants. I suppose he just felt like running.

    Anyways, I didn’t “almost shoot” the off duty LEO, who had a small badge on his necklace. Since a trigger pull is an everlasting commitment, you better be damn sure of the commitment you are making. Regardless, I would have thanked the officer who helped me just as heartily if he was a CCW holder.

  18. Cops spot you with a gun and you are toast. The worst they will face is vacation with pay and counseling to convince them it was your fault.

  19. I am a 30 year retiree from Detroit P D. I cannot speak for other police departments but in my opinion the training in Detroit was almost non- existent. The firearms training especially was not of major concern. I realize Detroit as a whole is a broken city and should not reflect on other departments. I understand New York has had a lot of problem in the area of “bad shootings. Police departments should not be at the whim of crooked politicians, or politics in general but they are and it is a shame. Affirmative action and politics have no place in determining an effective and competent police department. These to factors have impacted the Detroit police department to where it is just not capable of protecting Detroit. The court system an politics in the courts just exacerbate the problem. The “supreme” court being the biggest offender. Courts now make law and ignore the constitution and have lost any sense of a moral compass, common sense, or integrity.. Crime is BIG business and an industry in itself including the prisons. The public is anesthetized (NUMB) by sports, entertainment , and apathy. This is not the America I grew up in I am over 70 and you can see it is only going to get worse. A blind man can see this, if he is paying the least bit of attention. John ch 3.

  20. I’ve been drawn on twice:
    1985 in Chico, CA: A city police pulled me over for fake traffic reasons. Basically because I was wearing a suit in a convertible and only 23yrs old? A woman police officer walked up on the passenger side and leaned all the way across to put her muzzle against my head. I’d thus far not really said a word or done anything.
    1992 Pleasanton, CA: As a CPA, sitting in my CPA friend’s office at 8pm, each with a beer and feet on the desk. A city policeman came inside and through an office or two and pointed his pistol at my face. Luckily, he recognized me as he’d just bought a house from me.

    Yep, even white guys wearing suits are treated badly by cops!

    Question, in case#2 should I have drawn and shot in self defense?
    (except unarmed…)

  21. This is my late afterthought comment.

    I don’t understand the cop hating on this particular thread. The subject isn’t no knock raids or gratuitous canine shootings. It is about what happens when police arrive in the middle of the kind incident that we all should agree we pay them for. If you want to know why armed citizens have less tendency to shoot the wrong guy it is because when we have an uninvited house guest at zero dark thirty we are pretty sure that it is safe to the shoot the guy(s). If we are out on the street when the bad guy comes after us he has had the consideration to identified himself as a bad guy. Now imagine you are responding to a situation rather than being the target. I bet that private citizens wrong guy percentage would be the same as the cops because we will have no better situational awareness than the boys and girls in blue. In DoD/IC force protection training they tell you that when SEAL team arrives get on the ground and stay there because if you are moving you are just another target to be neutralized. So my advice to everyone who could be caught in the crossfire swallow your pride and comply with the cops less you become another blue-on-blue statistic.

    “You have to know when to hold ’em
    know when to fold.
    know when to walk away,
    know when to run.”

    Those four lines are good advice for the armed citizen to follow.

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