Crime scene San Antonio (courtesy kens5.com)

We recently ran a piece about running into fake cops (Self-Defense Tip: Call the Cops on the Cops). We know of at least one interstate trucker who can relate. “Joshua McCann was in San Antonio to pick up a motorcycle from a local shop and haul it back to Michigan for a customer,” kens5.com reports. “But, when he pulled into the shopping center, a man claiming to be a police officer stopped him and instructed him to get out of the truck. After exiting, the driver asked to see a badge. The suspect allegedly told McCann that he was going to steal the truck and that’s when the 22-year-old sprang into action .  . .

McCann pulled out his pistol and shot the suspect approximately three times in the abdomen. Responding officers found the suspect sprawled out on the pavement when they arrived. He was taken to University Hospital were he was later pronounced dead.

By that time, McCann had placed his gun on the seat of his truck. Police spoke with him and later confirmed his story with employees from the cycle shop. Several witnesses and the truck driver were taken in to make statements.

Result! Only I’m wondering about putting that gun down on the seat. It’s the rare robber who robs alone – especially if he’s stealing something large. And I hope the truck driver didn’t make ANY statements without a lawyer present. But again, result. [h/t SI]

45 Responses to Defensive Gun Use of the Day: Keep On Truckin’ Edition

        • I don’t see any mention in the original article about how the guy was dressed. Not all police impersonators have the full uniform, I can imagine that some will be wearing regular clothes with a cheap plate carrier. Of course, those can easily have velcro badge or ‘police’ markings added, but it could explain why the victim asked to see a badge.

    • Irrelevant in texas; Title 2, chapter 9 allows for up to and including lethal force to stop simple robbery as well as aggravated robbery

      • You can use deadly force to protect, or retrieve, property in Texas, completely aside from “castle doctrine”.

      • Carjacking falls under two greenlighted lethal force categories in Texas: Robbery (or aggravated robbery if a weapon, disparity of force is involved) and castle doctrine.

        HOWEVER

        Castle doctrine requires removal by force. If the perp just told him to get out, there is no physical force involved.

        So it would fall back on robbery. There is no separate carjacking law in Texas.

        • Seems to me that some years back carjacking was made a federal offense, and a felony. I am not a lawyer, could be mistaken, but that’s what I recall.

  1. This has always been something I have wondered about. If someone lights you up and pulls you over while wearing a uniform and a (fake, lets be honest they arent that hard to make) badge, has a gun, etc etc. Will you really know until it is too late? In this case, the criminal’s boldness/hastiness played to the advantage of the trucker as he came right out and said “JK! I’m not a cop I’m gonna take your shit now”, but what if the impostor cop had cuffed him and put him on the sidewalk citing some obscure legal reason like many asshole legit cops have done to perfectly law abiding people before? Are you going to say “No, let me call the real cops real quick?” Or worse, are you going to honestly say you would ventilate someone you think might not be a cop if all they do until it is too late is act like a real cop? He’s lucky he had the worlds dumbest impostor cop and that his decision was clearer for him. Otherwise this guy would be effed.

    • ” If someone lights you up and pulls you over while wearing a uniform and a (fake, lets be honest they arent that hard to make) badge, has a gun, etc etc.”

      My cousin had just such an incident happen to her in Dallas a few years ago. She was driving back to Arlington, taking a relatively deserted road, when lights came on behind her and a “cop” pulled her over. Fortunately, the wannabe cop was just getting off on the stop and playing cop. He gave her some b/s warning and let her go. Once she saw the guy’s uniform and fake badge she knew she was in trouble. This could have ended very badly. Current police practices implicitly expect citizens to accept this kind of danger as an acceptable risk to allow for no-knock raids and undercover cops to function. The lines between criminals and cops are being blurred. Not a good thing.

      • Yeah the daily news is full of people who get shot or severely injured and their lives ruined by legit cops who didn’t take too kindly to someone questioning their authority. So criminals for <$50 at a costume shop (if they don't just steal it from a police officer/station), can play like a real cop and rip you off before you even realize what's happening. Think about it, who does their dry cleaning and who checks to make sure all the uniforms come back? Police are on this pedestal where you dont run from them, you dont stop and ask them questions, and you dont dare defend yourself if they turn abusive. The line is blurry indeed… No Bueno

        • These incidents have become a regular occurrence nationwide, and it puts citizens in an absolute no-win situation. Administrators need to issue public warnings, provide clarifications for stops and improve LEO ID standards as soon as humanly possible.

    • Is it the case that all cops today have very elaborate lights? (PLEASE correct me if I’m mistaken!) When I was young the cops had just a “bubble-gum” machine on the top of the car. Pretty easy for anyone to emulate such a “light”. Today, all the cops I’ve seen pulling someone over have radically complex lighting systems that I think would be hard to duplicate or even emulate persuasively.
      With enough money and determination I’m sure that a really crazy criminal could do a good enough job cobbling together a persuasive imitation of a cop’s lighting system. Or, if he had enough money, he could buy a cop’s lighting system and get it installed. However, I’d have doubts that very many of the crazies who want to try to impersonate a cop would go this far.
      IF I’m correct about this then a civilian could make a call based on whether the lighting system on the “cop’s” car looked convincing – or not.
      If the “cop’s” lighting was not the least bit convincing then continuing to drive at a moderate rate of speed to the next well-lighted and active location (gas station) would seem to be in-order. If a phony “cop” he would probably grow impatient and leave. If a legitimate cop he ought to realize that the driver is not trying to escape and is trying to reach a safer location because s/he has a legitimate concern that his lighting is not convincing.
      If the “cop’s” lighting were persuasive but not altogether convincing the motorist is (I believe) entitled to delay the confrontation by telling the cop? to summon a marked car. Roll down the window only an inch and keep the doors locked. Don’t offer any license/registration/insurance. If he’s giving you an argument then tell him that you intend to proceed at a moderate rate of speed to the next lighted and populated location before continuing the confrontation. If the cop? goes ballistic then it’s all the more important to proceed with that plan and phone 911 in transit. If he summons back-up from a marked car then – whatever the risk – you have to undergo the confrontation.
      What is the flaw in this analysis?

      • This is correct. It is much, much harder to fake today’s police cars than yesteryear. Fake cops who try and pull someone over will usually have very few lights on the vehicle, maybe a bubblegum light, and will often not be in full uniform. Even then it’s a very rare occurrence. If you are in doubt ask to see the officer’s ID card. If you are still in doubt ask for a second officer or call the police yourself- though be aware a 911 call center will not immediately be able to tell you if a police officer is on a stop where you are.

        • I think the point we are trying to make is what do you do if you ask him to call a second officer or ask for time to call dispatch yourself and the officer says no or becomes agressive? Plenty of evidence that completely legit cops have done just that when a person questions them or doesnt do exactly what they say. He claims you are resisting arrest and grabs you/ attempts to cuff you and/or draws his gun on you, do you assume he is an impostor and clear leather/kydex? Not likely.

      • Not all unmarked cars have the full light setup. Some look pretty tame compared to the marked car package.

        That being said, if you legitimately believe the car behind you with flashing lights may be an impersonator, trying to get to a well lit and populated location before stopping sound like a good idea. The advice I would add is that if you choose to do this, call 911 immediately (not sure for other states, but WA has an exemption in the driving/cell phone law for calling 911) and tell the dispatcher what is happening.

        If the dispatcher tells you that yes, they do in fact have a car in that area trying to make a traffic stop, and that the suspect car isn’t stopping, then you have confirmation that it’s safe to stop. At least, no less safe than it would have been. If the dispatcher passes this info on to the officer, then it should go a long way towards calming things down before it gets out of control.

        If they tell you that they don’t have anyone in the area, or nobody trying to make a traffic stop, then hopefully they will get marked units heading your way immediately. Whatever happens from this point is dependent on the specific situation, but it may be one of the times when listening to the dispatcher helps.

        • Missed my edit window- Hannibal is correct, the dispatch center is not instantly aware of everything going on, and there can well be a delay. However, if you’re already planning on driving several minutes to somewhere you feel safe, then you have the time to wait.

          In my area, it’s considered sloppy and dangerous to make a traffic stop without calling it out on the radio, but it still happens from time to time. More likely to cause a problem is different agencies in the same area but with different radio channels and dispatch centers. If the county guys or state patrol do something in the city where I work, we won’t know about it unless they ask their own dispatcher to call ours. Obviously, this can add to the delay.

      • I have seen former police cars that for one reason or another “slipped through”removal of police equipment and went to auction as is and sold even so they are supposed to be removed but some do not

        • Thanks.
          The cheap lights in the YouTube vid were not very persuasive. i hasten to add that I’m not confident that I would be discriminating enough – at night, when I’m tired – to conclude that these lights just don’t look ENOUGH like the lights on other cop cars. I’d be apt to jump to the conclusion that it’s obviously a cop.
          The vid does an excellent job of showing how asking for ID is pointless. If the ?cop? shows you ID you would be hard-pressed to authenticate it. If the ?cop? pulls a gun on you the best you can say is that you would be drawing on a drawn gun.
          In major metropolitan areas it seems like a cop always calls for backup before he approaches the civilian. Heretofore, I had thought this rather a waste of cop resources. Now, I see it as reassuring to the civilian. But, this practice is not going to be consistent and especially not in less densely populated areas.
          Looks to me like the vid’s political position is the only viable one; all traffic stops should be made by marked cars.

    • Most agencies in my part of the world work traffic in cars that are marked (even if they are slick tops – ie without overhead lights) or some unmarked version of a standard law enforcement ride such as a Charger, Tahoe, Crown Vic, Taurus etc. When you can see the car, the oversize tires, antennas and spotlights are usually a good clue. Oklahoma state law says that only law enforcement can operate red and blue emergency lighting. OK law also says that officers must carry their badge, commission card issued by their employing agency and their certification card (CLEET card) at all times. Again in my world officers almost never do traffic stop in civilian clothes unless they are undercover and are making the stop as a part of some other action such as a narcotics bust. Even with that our department policy is to wear positive ID such as a Raid shirt and display a badge.

      With all of that, yes it is possible to buy overhead lights, corner strobes and all sorts of cool vehicle stuff on the internet and through E-bay with no questions asked. Phoney vehicle markings can be done pretty easily – all it takes is some stick on vinyl, an x-acto knife and lots of patience. In the same vein, uniforms are pretty easy to come by on the internet. Lots of us wear 511 pants and military style shirts every day. We’ve all got black nylon duty rigs and service style pistols, be they Glocks, M&Ps, 1911s or whatever. At one time patches and badges were hard to get. Today many agencies have gone to embroidered patches and badges and now the patches are done on a sewing machine with over the counter software.

      So in the opinion of this tired old deputy it would be pretty easy to create a very convincing vehicle and law enforcement persona, if the imposter knew law enforcement enough to make things “look” right to the casual observer. The big problem would the lack of official documentation – and that can only be verified by checking in.

      I have never done a traffic stop in my POV or when I was out of uniform. I have done quite a few motorist assists and have called in the tag number on the radio or via cell phone as a safety precaution. As a supervisor I drove a slick top marked Crown Vic for several years. I would never be offended if somebody asked to see my ID.

      I guess that none of this helps when you’re being lit up at 2am on a deserted road. If I was suspicious I’d look to see if the supposed officer had a radio -because real 2 ways , not scanners, are still pretty tightly controlled. I probably would try to pull over in a well lit public area if I could and I’d definitely be very cautious.

      • Very useful input to civilian motorists. Is the cost and effort to install such a lighting kit (bought off e-bay or whatever) substantial enough to dissuade a criminal? If such a kit is not-that-hard to install and not that expensive then it is within the financial/effort capacity of a typical criminal and even the lights test isn’t a good sign that the cop is real.
        Asking for identification doesn’t strike me as a good-enough strategy. By this time the ?cop? is too close for comfort. If he has done a good enough job of lighting up his car and replicating a uniform he probably has a fake ID. Moreover, the civilian has little idea what a real credential would look like. While studying the credential one’s attention is diverted from the cop? dropping one’s situational awareness. That’s pretty dangerous.
        Seems to me that – while still moving – you have to make a judgement as to whether to proceed with the stop in the immediate area; or, to proceed at moderate speed to a better lit and more populated venue. Once the ?cop? is at your window the civilian is highly vulnerable to the ?cop?

      • While I don’t disagree with the notion that many stops in the major metro areas are initiated by full dress cruisers, OKC has used all sorts of non-descript vehicles in traffic enforcement. For several years OCPD used a battered red ford ranger to pace speeders, who would then call in a B&W to make the stop. The officer in the ranger would write the ticket in the B&W’s book….it looked and felt like a scam to everyone who ever got one of those tickets.

        When you get out into the rural areas (Union City and Minco for example) you’d find patrol cars that were grey or beige and had no obvious markings. You’d have to look really close to notice the reflective vinyl markings that were a couple shades lighter or darker than the paint.

        If you are having to go to that sort of effort to generate traffic enforcement revenue, you do not have enough of a problem to warrant the effort.

        Oklahoma state law requires the Highway Patrol to use obviously marked, black and white vehicles for traffic enforcement. I wish the state would make the same demands of the county and muni police departments.

  2. If this guy was a commercial truck driver he may be in an world of hurt. As the law about carrying a firearm on a commercial truck carries a heavy federal penalty. At least it was that way back in 2001 when I closed the door for last time on an 18 wheeler. Good shoot though, hope it works out well for the guy.

    • There is no federal law or regulation prohibiting commercial drivers from carrying in compliance with state law. This myth has been around for a while though. It seems some companies use it as an excuse to keep their drivers from carrying. Ask to see the actual law or reg.

      You obviously aren’t allowed to carry when delivering to a sensitive area like a nuke plant or military base. That applies to everyone though. Not just commercial drivers.

    • I am a Trainer in the Safety Department for a Commercial truck company. I also hold a Class A CDL. And, since I am on this site daily, I value my firearms freedom. I have this conversation daily with drivers both in person and on truck driving websites.

      NO, no, no, 1000 times no. There is no law at the FEDERAL level that has anything to do with carrying a firearm in the cab of a commercial vehicle. The same laws that apply to anyone else carrying also applies to commercial drivers. For a driver that operates in 48 states and goes on industrial customer properties in those myriad jurisdictions, that is itself a legal minefield of mind blurring proportions. That is why most truck companies have company policies banning firearms in their trucks.

      • I am also a former Safety & Risk Mgr and a CDL-A holder. Same issues as discussed above, including the false assertion that there is some federal prohibition against a firearm in the truck. I carried my little S&W Airweight inside a work glove for many years. So long as you are in compliance with local (unconstitutional) anti-gun laws you are entirely legal. But there is that sticky issue of many, many industrial locations where you might pick up or deliver that are posted as prohibiting weapons. In most cases, with the possible exception of Texas and a 30.06 sign, these signs have the same legal weight as any other “No Guns” sign. Since except for entering Canada I have NEVER in the last 12 years had any person ask or attempt to enter my truck for an inspection it would seem that so long as you leave the pistol inside the truck and out of sight there shouldn’t be a problem.

        Keep in mind, however, that if for some reason you are discovered to be in violation of the shipper or receiver’s no gun policy it may reflect badly on the business relationship with the company you drive for and they will not be happy with you about this.

        One other thing that has been proposed as the supposed reason that firearms are not permitted in commercial motor vehicles is that the ammunition is a Hazardous Material (Explosive) that requires HazMat plackards on your tractor announcing the presence of the hazardous material in any quantity. I have heard this advanced by State Troopers who should know better – they carry more ammunition in their cruisers than I ever did in my truck. A quick check of the HazMat handbook, however, reveals that small arms ammunition in small quantities are NOT required to be plackarded because gunpowder is listed as FLAMMABLE, not EXPLOSIVE.

  3. Better to have the gun on the seat than to be holding it when the cops arrive. Don’t want to confuse them.
    I’m sure he took a few seconds to make sure the area was safe.

      • Trigger-happy cops? Not wanting to be thrust to the sidewalk, cuffed, and disarmed? Or not wanting to have to remove the pistol from the holster in the presence of a nervous cop? If I’m standing in the open door of the truck, a gun on the seat in arm’s reach is plenty accessible, and when the po-po arrive, I just have to take a couple of steps away from it.

        • Trigger-happy cops? Not wanting to be thrust to the sidewalk, cuffed, and disarmed?

          If the responding officers are thus inclined, I’m pretty sure you’re likely to get that treatment merely for indicating that you were the shooter of the assailant. The location of your gun would likely be immaterial.

          Or not wanting to have to remove the pistol from the holster in the presence of a nervous cop?

          Who in their right mind would do that? The point of it being holstered is that it is in a safe location, and not being handled. I couldn’t imagine an officer requesting you to unholster your own weapon. More than likely, they’re going to unholster it for you, while wearing gloves, in order to preserve evidence.

          If I’m standing in the open door of the truck, a gun on the seat in arm’s reach is plenty accessible, and when the po-po arrive, I just have to take a couple of steps away from it.

          I’m not a police officer, but I think I would consider a situation of an admitted shooter being within arm’s reach of an unsecured firearm to be considerably more inherently dangerous than if that firearm were secured in a holster.

          Placing the firearm back in the holster after a DGU is an indication that the threat has ended, and that the victim no longer believes himself subject to a threat necessitating the use of deadly force. The firearm is secured, and the officers can see that they don’t have to deal with an adrenaline or otherwise post-traumatic stress situation with respect to the firearm.

          If that firearm is unsecured, and within an arm’s reach of the person who just underwent a deadly-force traumatic event, as a responding officer I would see someone who could step away from the firearm, but who could just as easily grab it and start shooting.

        • That’s why I said when the cops arrive you step away from the cab. So the gun is no longer in arm’s reach. Get it? And who’s to say an ill-trained cop would not ask you to remove your gun and lay it down. Or draw down on you as soon as they see your holstered weapon. All of which _might_ be avoided if you don’t have a gun on or about you when the cops arrive.

  4. He refused to produce a badge at which he stated his intent to steal the rig, one would assume he wasn’t counting on charity of the driver for compliance. Probably a new standing order to all journalists to omit whether criminals were armed in all initial reports of DGU’s until it can be determined if a “story” can be easily spun into the “proper” narrative.

  5. The guy took action, put the gun down to make sure he wasn’t mistaken for a threat, told the police about his reasonable self-defense and therefore walked away instead of going to jail and having his life turned upside down and pockets inside-out.

  6. Florida in the 90’s had a full time county deputy pull over, handcuff, and rape multiple women. No “fake cop”. Love the advice about calling 911 while rolling. I would indicate by slowing down, right turn signal flashing, hand signal – your intent to pull over to prevent the situation from escalating.

    Also be prepared to explain your reluctance to stop immediately to minimize a legitimate PO’s annoyance. And yes, they will be annoyed. Worth it though for your safety.

  7. Well so far I think this was a good shoot a good story and a happy ending.
    One less dead criminal and a crime averted by a legitimate law-abiding gun owner.

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