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A recent defensive gun use in Alabama provides an important lesson for anyone who owns and carries firearms for self-defense purposes. A domestic dispute in Huntsville, Alabama, resulted in Lisa Skinner shooting her husband Bradley, only to be shot by police shortly thereafter. The (unnamed) woman had been living at her mother’s house after leaving her estranged partner. The man allegedly broke into the house on Sunday night, armed with a gun. The woman instructed her mother to flee to a neighbor’s house while she triggered an alarm, called the police, and tooled up with a shotgun. When the man refused to drop his weapon and stop his advance, she opened fire . . .

Unfortunately, stopping the attack didn’t end her troubles, as AL.com reports.

Police officers arriving at that moment heard gunshots and saw the woman in the garage, holding the shotgun. They demanded she drop the weapon, and when she turned toward them with the gun in her hand, at least one officer opened fire.

The woman was struck by the police gunfire. Both she and the man were taken to Huntsville Hospital.

Lawson said the woman’s condition was listed as non-life-threatening. The man’s condition is life-threatening.

This story is a shame in more ways than one, perhaps the biggest being that, in the heat of the moment, Skinner either hadn’t planned for or had forgotten what to do when Johnny Law arrived on the scene. When the police approached, shouting instructions at her, she (no doubt instinctively) turned toward them. Still holding the shotgun.

When cops get to the scene of any shooting, they will automatically assume that whomever is holding the firearm is a threat. Unless the threat is still potentially ongoing, putting away the firearm before the police get there may be the best thing to do. Granted, it doesn’t sound like there was much time in this case between the end of the DGU and the arrival of the police. Stuff, as they say, happens.

Oh, and one last thing – AL.com also reports that the Skinner “had taken at least one restraining order out for her own protection” against the alleged her husband, which he had repeatedly violated. I don’t know about you, but I’m glad she realized that hot lead and cold steel provide more security from a determined attacker than a piece of paper.

135 Responses to Defensive Gun Use of the Day: AL Woman Shoots Attacker, Cop Shoots Woman

  1. This was unfortunate, but sounds like it was bad timing. The police likely arrived before she had a chance to calm down and asses, well, anything. 30s later and this probably wouldn’t have happened. 30s earlier, and it probably wouldn’t have happened.

    • Agreed.

      Good chance she was adrenaline dumping like crazy and still tunnel visioned.

      Good lesson for all of us to study. The situation ain’t necessarily over when the immediate threat has been stopped.

    • Exactly why police aren’t a phone and forget service. Either you keep them on the line so that they know what is happening and you keep feeding them info, or you don’t call until you’ve solved the problem yourself or in a place you are clear to talk to them.
      IMHO, anyways.

      • It sounds like she tripped an alarm. Plus, officers arriving don’t always know the up to date details even if the person stays on the phone with 911. Plus, she had a situation to deal with.

      • ‘When cops get to the scene of any shooting, they will automatically assume that whomever is holding the firearm is a threat.’

        Well, that’s wrong. How can this make sense? Given the history of the woman, her husband, the restraining order? Yes, I am assuming they had the access to all that info.

      • “… or you don’t call [police] until you’ve solved the problem yourself or in a place you are clear to talk to them.”

        Ding ding ding ding ding ding ding … we have a winner!!!!!

        If you have a loaded shotgun in hand, you are in a good defensive position, and you know that your attacker is by him/herself, I would always wait until I resolved the threat to call police for the very reason of this article.

      • Dispatch is often very stingy with the data it makes available.

        For example. “Woods on fire” might mean someone thought they saw smoke or, as 911 once updated me as I was enroute “please hurry, we’ve had over 300 calls on this fire”. But initially all we get is “woods on fire” – and we may never get any updates.
        And lest you think it’s because I’m a firefighter, think again. Last car wreck I went to was toned out as wreck with injuries on the interstate. Got there just as two highway patrol cars did (which is saying something – we rarely get two). No injuries – just a car stuck in the mud. Even HP were a little cranky about the false alarm.
        So, don’t assume that keeping dispatch on the phone line will keep responding cops fully appraised. I’d keep them on the line if you could, but don’t overestimate their accuracy or even their legal ability to relay information. There’s some data they CAN’T share; even when the consequences could be fatal. :/

    • Note that her injuries are “not life threatening”, while his are “life threatening”. She used a shotgun, while the cops presumably used a handgun. That is the difference between the two weapons.

  2. Nothing is more important than officer safety. Maybe safe spaces like the ones springing up at universities could be made available so cops can spend their entire shifts in a completely safe and reassuring environment. It’d likely be safer for everyone that way.

    • Indeed, sir. Civilian safety is irrelevant. None of us want to go home safely at night or sleep in our homes without a horde of government gangsters barging in at 4am.

      • Or it could be a completely legitimate shooting by the police, based upon the limited information they had at the time. If someone was standing over a bloody body holding a smoking shotgun, and turned your way, you might just open fire as well. Especially if you had just been yelling “drop the gun!” aftet you had arrived at the scene of a domestic shooting.

        It’s pretty easy to judge behind the comfort and security of your keyboard.

        • Don’t like the risks involved in dispensing violence on behalf of politicians? Don’t be a cop.

          It’s not our faults cops decided to become footpads for the State.

        • Shooting the traumatized person that called them for help ain’t a good shoot. If police get to make the excuse that things were confusing, fluid, and scary for their non-stop f-ups so should everyone else. Why is she in cuffs and not the j-hole who shot her? She didn’t screw up as much as he did. She at least shot the right person.

        • A lot of us might do as you say, but we’d almost certainly be punished severely for it. Police rarely are. I suspect that what most of us would like to see is the guilty punished and the innocent not punished instead of non-cops usually punished – cops exempted (unless politically expedient).

        • You’re generally right, but if the cops are summoned to the scene by the armed person in question (or someone else that explains that the victim is armed and defending themselves), shouldn’t they be expected give the any armed people at the scene some benefit of doubt? Sure, it does put the officers at more risk, but doing otherwise puts the victim at more risk, and which one is preferable?

        • Yup. One thing we do know, the media rarely gets the facts right first time.

          Can’t help ask, how did the dog do?

        • I agree with you completely, I feel bad for Skinner, but in this scenario, from strictly the information we have been given in this story, I do not think it was a wrongful shot by the officer/s, it was unfortunate that she got shot, but if you are standing over one shot body on the ground, and then turn your gun to me, I would likewise believe you were going to shoot me, and in my opinion, the officers made the right call for the situation, as it would appear to somebody in that situation, at that time.

  3. It’s a pretty natural reaction to turn toward the sound.

    “Drop the gun!” may as well be “hey, you! look over here!”

    • It is a natural reaction, and I can think of at least three recent cases where someone was ordered to drop a gun but was shot while turning towards the sound of the officer’s voice. It is essentially a startle/ self protection reaction–so knowing this, maybe officers should learn to approach subjects a bit differently to avoid tragedies.

      • ^^^ This.

        Which is more realistically achievable, changing the basic human nature of turning towards a sound when they are in that state of mind (for EVERYONE in the country) or changing the training of paid employees. Granted, both might be difficult but the former is an impossible expectation. Since we are supposed to be a freely armed society and, hopefully, will be one again, officers need to be trained to expect armed victims to be, well, ARMED.

    • Especially if you’ve pumped off a couple of shotgun rounds without ear protection. Her response was probably “WHAT?”

    • This a thousand times. It has happened way too many times. Remember the kid in California with the airsoft AK? Cops rolled up, yelled at him, shot (and killed) him as he barely turned. Cops are WAY too quick to pull the trigger. They volunteered for the job. Hell, I’d even argue that a cops life is worth LESS than the public’s because of that. Cops should take every pain to avoid pulling a side arm, like that recent case in Ohio. People losing their lives to the whims of armed agents of the state is not a free society.

      • Did you seriously just say a police officer’s life is worth LESS than someone else’s life? Dude, only a mentally disturbed person would say something like that. Hopefully, you will clarify by saying that ALL lives are EQUALLY valuable.

        • >> Did you seriously just say a police officer’s life is worth LESS than someone else’s life?

          While on duty, and insofar as this factors into the life-or-death decisions the officer has to make, yes, he’s absolutely right. The whole point of having police is to reduce the risks to other citizens.

    • No one has mentioned if she shot the dude with a shotgun, I bet SHE COULD NOT HEAR! Moral of the story–don’t call the police.

  4. the woman’s condition was listed as non-life-threatening, The man’s condition is life-threatening.

    If the cop who drilled her was a better shot than she was and she was worse than the cop, it might have been the other way around.

      • Getting shot with a 12 gauge at home defense distance and still being breathing is perhaps the most remarkable thing about this story to me. Maybe 3″ shells woulda done it?

        • Maybe it was birdshot, or perhaps she just hit an arm or leg rather than center mass.

  5. +3 (first three posts here)

    Yes, we mos def need “safe spaces” now at universities and police departments. The rest of us will just have to take our chances, I guess. Oh well.

  6. After firing off a shotgun indoors without ear protection you can’t tell me your ears aren’t still ringing and your hearing is impaired. But, if the threat was gone the gun needs to go on the floor.

    • My guess is she heard something like “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE*Unintelligible*-oundEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE”
      (Think’s it’s “Turn around”)
      BLAMBLAM!
      EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

  7. “When cops get to the scene of any shooting, they will automatically assume that whomever is holding the firearm is a threat.”

    Maybe this should not be the case in a country where every citizen has the right to keep and bear arms.

    Just sayin’.

  8. She had just discharged a shotgun multiple times indoors; odds are she had severe hearing loss and could not clearly understand who was shouting what behind her before she turned. The police should not have shot plain and simple. They had a description of the perp and the victim.

    • Which, in the case of most domestic calls, is just about as accurate as Obama’s state of the Union speeches. Folks here have obviously never responded to a domestic shooting / disturbance if they think that the initial information from the call can be deemed accurate without independent evidence / verification.

      • So you would say this shooting of the woman was justified? I notice you haven’t responded to any other of the posts in regards to hearing loss with your “cops perspective”.

        • This is what bugs me, I understand where the cops are coming from but in theory based on her 911 call and others they should know:

          Female victim
          Male home invasion subject

          So they shot someone who matched the description of their victim. Assuming they heard the shots, anyone who knows a damn thing about firearms should realize she probably has hearing loss. Deploy your Tazer, give her an extra moment to see hey its the good guys, instead they shot a victim. this all or nothing I need to go home no matter what attitude some LEO’s have bugs the hell out of me.

        • to JSILL: zackly. What good are dispatchers, radios and computers if they don’t inform the responding cops of the particulars of the situation? And what good are cops if they do more harm than good?

        • So I’ve got about 15 years experience as a police officer. Sometimes dispatchers get all the details right. Sometimes not. Sometimes people call 911 – and lie their asses of. People have committed murder and called 911. Many witnesses are borderline worthless, which is also a factor in police investigation. I’ll take physical evidence over statements any day of the week.

          I know it sounds like I’m automatically justifying police conduct. I’m not. Y’all are judging their actions from the comfort of your keyboards with 20/20 hindsight. That’s a typical response from inexperienced people who haven’t been in a fight or in combat.

          So I’m not exactly sure of the particulars of the police commands and if / how this poor woman turned towards / and or / pointed her shotgun at police.

          It could very well be that the police need more training. Most do. I’ve trained pretty extensively, trained new officers, provided shift supervision, etc. I know enough to know that I don’t know it all. There are new tactics to learn, and I enjoy shooting and training.

          But if you’re holding a loaded shotgun and standing over a bloody body, that’s going to make me nervous whether I’m on duty or off.

          I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: every shooting needs to be judged objectively based upon the totality of the circumstances. Part of those circumstances involve the perspective of each and every shooter, the information at hand, and the justification, or lack thereof, for every round fired.

        • Y’all are judging their actions from the comfort of your keyboards with 20/20 hindsight. That’s a typical response from inexperienced people who haven’t been in a fight or in combat.

          This is a perfect example of the attitude we’re talking about.

        • Well Grindstone, how did you handle the shootings and domestic violence calls you’ve responded to? How accurate was the information you got from the 911 dispatcher? How did you determine which party, if any, was the primary aggressor? Which crimes, if any, had been committed? How many times have you stood behind someone with a loaded shotgun standing over a bloody body and thought “no big deal, that just a law abiding citizen”?

          Maybe you should give a class on it.

        • “. . . stood behind someone with a loaded shotgun standing over a bloody body and thought “no big deal, that just a law abiding citizen”?”
          Context is everything. Suppose you are called to:
          – a store robbery in-progress. Female clerk behind the counter is lying in a pool of blood. Male in a hoodie standing over the front of the counter reaching into the till with one hand, holding shotgun in the other hand.

          – a domestic call. Call is from mother of woman at mother’s home. Female standing over body of male lying in a pool of blood. Female standing still holding shotgun, not running away.

          Cop has cover options; either side of door to garage.

          Can you figure out the probability of a threat from each armed person? If the man in the store killed the clerk is he likely to try to escape? Is he likely to kill a cop in order to complete the escape? If the woman in the garage killed the man, is she likely to try to escape? Is she likely to kill a cop in order to complete the escape? In each case, what are the cop’s options to seek effective cover? What are the respective probabilities that the individual holding the gun has a legitimate claim to self-defense?

          Perhaps making judgment calls in likely contexts is not a part of the curriculum in police academies. Perhaps screening candidates for the capacity to make correct judgements instantaneously is not part of the evaluation process.

        • You just keep proving the points further and further. You are not beyond reproach. You are not above us.

        • Grindstone, I’m curious how pointing out your lack of experience “proves your point.” Simply put, I have experience in these matters and you don’t. In particular, I pointed out that information given by 911 dispatch could be inaccurate or incomplete. Some of the folks here think you could bet your life on the accuracy of the information given by police dispatch. That’s couch commando inexperience, and it shows. Police get bad info every day from various sources. I’ve shown that to people first hand as a training officer.

          As to the shooting, it could certainly be a bad shoot. That possibility is both very possible and very disturbing. I’ve certainly called other shoots dirty.

          On the other hand, the shooting could be justified. If someone with a loaded shotgun standing over a bloody body turns towards me, and turns their shotgun towards me, I’m going to open fire. Particularly if I’ve just told them to drop the gun. So it could be a justifiable shoot, based upon the perspective of the responding officers. Wouldn’t that make all these cop-bashers look foolish?

        • How can you say I don’t have experience when you know literally nothing about me? You’re making an assumption based off a faulty conclusion and accepting it as fact. Seems like shoddy police work for me.
          If “perspective” mattered, then why is the Tulsa deputy being charged after shooting what he “perceived” to be a taser? No, you’re just excusing this behavior, the behavior of others, and your own. Holding armed agents of the state accountable to the people they enact violence against is critical if our society is to be “free”. Your excuses only underline this importance even more. You’re so self-centered you only think of your own perspective, but not that of the people you are supposed to “serve”.

        • Ok, Grindstone, here’s your big chance to prove me wrong. Cite examples of how you’ve handled a domestic violence call like this. I’m all ears. I’m already on record being at the termination point of the “polite pursuit” which ended on Arroyo Parkway south of Colorado Blvd. on 04/15/15 in Pasadena, CA. Most of the SoCal news networks carried it. I was holding the Rem 870 with orange fore end and stock with the bean bag rounds and helped search the car.

          I’m making the “assumption” that you haven’t handled calls like this because you think the information given by police dispatch can be treated as gospel. Any cop working the streets knows that isn’t true. I’m also basing my “assumption” on the fact that you are clearly clueless as to how chaotic domestic violence calls can be. It’s frankly difficult to tell who the aggressor is, and what crimes, if any, have been committed. Sometimes only one of the husband / wife, girlfriend / boyfriend, girlfriend / girlfriend, boyfriend / boyfriend needs to be arrested and / or charged. Sometimes both. A similar situation exists with road rage (ADW) scenarios. Again, any cop with experience on the street would know that. The posters here who think 911 dispatch information is totally reliable are betraying their ignorance. TTAG and conservative media networks have extensively covered gaps and delays in government databases.

          Also, 911 dispatchers are working with government computers that occasionally have glitches, inaccurate records, or don’t return with immediate responses. For instance, checking local and NCIC warrants typically only takes a minute or two. The JDIC response typically takes several minutes or longer. Sometimes the system just goes down, or lacks connectivity. Again, any cop worth his salt would know that information.

          So based upon your lack of knowledge of what I just explained, your failure to provide any real world examples of how you’ve handled situations like what the police responded here, I am in fact forming the opinion that you aren’t a subject matter expert. You could potentially do the same with me, but the fact is that I do train and supervise officers. I’m also not overly concerned with your opinion. I’ve gone on record as to changing my opinion and / or admitting my mistakes, but I haven’t seen you doing that.

          And again, this could be a dirty shoot. I don’t know how many times I have to repeat that before it will register. Or, as I mentioned previously, this could be a good shoot. You seem to be so dead-set on this being a dirty shoot that you aren’t open-minded enough to know if this was a legitimate use of force.

        • I’m making the “assumption” that you haven’t handled calls like this because you think the information given by police dispatch can be treated as gospe

          Your detective skills have failed you yet again. Do a search on my name in this thread and point out the comment where I have ever made this claim. Or any other claim you attribute to me. You just made a fool of yourself. Again.

        • @Accur81 & Grindstone: Two liberty minded patriots verbally beating each other bloody in public usually doesn’t do anyone any good. We need as many comrades as we can get. Perhaps just let this scuffle die here and now? Or not. It’s a choice for each of you to make.

          Of course, if one or both of you verbally punch me in the nose… I had it coming for sticking it where it doesn’t belong! 😀

        • @John,

          No worries. I’m trying to call Grindstone out on his weaksauce “you don’t know what I know” material. If he had any vast insights into police 911 systems or domestic violence calls involving weapons, he surely would have taken the chance to share them by now. I would think it would be obvious at this point that there are gaps in the 911 system. Those gaps can be dangerous to the law-abiding citizen right after a DGU. Perhaps Grindstone is too upset to be making good points, or maybe he’s just too tired after a long day of work like me. And, as I’ve said before, it could be a dirty shoot by a panicky cop.

          Regardless, I’m going to have a nip of scotch and a good night’s rest. Peace out.

        • Grind, you strike me as the lonely 15 yr old looking for attention, and/or disaffected troll.
          Not taking sides, just saying. You could look up what the classic signs are, and go back and read your own posts, and see if you can get it. Or not.

        • This woman was put in a bad position that was not her fault. With the “limited” information we have now, it appears the Officer was justified. I wish those like you would take the plunge and show others how it should be done. You could certainly process a massive amount of information in a split second while a your adrenaline was pumping through your veins and you would have certainly taken an extra second or two to think, “i wonder if her hearing was affected by discharching that shotgun inside the house, maybe she can’t hear my partner correctly, I think I will wait, and see what happens”. Really?? Not all cops screw up, so far this doesn’t seem to be the case. But we need more information. But hey, just keep showing your ignorance by judging others without all the information.

      • You roll up on a domestic call. Someone has just been shot and the female is a cop in uniform holding a shotgun. Do you tell her to drop it. She probably can’t hear clearly and she turns towards you. Do you shoot? Is it the uniform that gives pause? If so, why not train officers about the individual right to bear arms and that the victim might just be armed and still “in the moment”?

        Training paid officers better is a realistic task whereas trying to eliminate the basic instinct to turn towards a sound in that moment for every person in the country just isn’t going to happen.

        • And, Accur81, I hope you don’t take away from my comment that I’m piling on you personally because that’s not my intention. It’s more of a general question/comment. In my opinion, based upon my limited experiences (relative to yours), I think this shooting of the female in the story to be understandable. I’m not sure that I’d call it justified because I think the system that provides the training might need to account for the potential of an armed victim, especially one that might not have any training or experience and might not be able to actually hear at that moment. So… IMHO understandable that the officer fired his weapon but the system is not justified for having neglected to examine training, policies, and procedures that might make these specific types of situations less likely.

          This might be a freak accident but that doesn’t mean that departments can’t learn something from it and at least consider, in training and policy, the possibility of an armed victim that doesn’t know better or that even might not be able to hear a command.

        • Employers shouldn’t expect to be hiring robots who do what they are trained to do and nothing else. Certainly not robots with the power of life-or-death. If we call a cop an “officer” then we ought to expect of him a level of judgment much higher than we expect of an assembly-line worker.

          As to the police academies and departmental training, I agree; they should be learning from mistakes that they encounter and that they hear of from other jurisdictions. The problem with “systems” of any sort is that they are more-or-less amenable to learning from experience. Systems of humans are driven by human egos. If those human egos are wrong-headed they won’t change course. The only remedy is to fire those in charge and hire replacements who – hopefully – will learn.

          Typically, municipal police departments report to a mayor who reports to a city council. The chief dances to the tune of his political masters. If and only if the citizens of the municipality exert their political will upon the mayor and councilmen will anything change. Typically, the voters are far more interested in whether the trash is picked up and the snow plowed than whether some nameless neighbor on the other side of town is wrongfully treated by a cop. That being so treated herself is a low-probability/high-consequence contingency that is easily dismissed.

          Sheriffs seem to hold more respect. Perhaps this is because the Sheriff is directly elected (in most but not all jurisdictions) and he is responsible for just one general topic: good order. If he is guilty of malfeasance in office he can’t buy his way out by picking up the garbage, plowing the snow or giving patronage jobs to the sons of the right people. Maybe there is something to be learned here.

          Could we imagine a scheme where the Chief is elected by the citizens of the municipality? Where the precinct captain is elected by the citizens of that precinct?

      • Now let me see if I can figure this out.
        – Domestic call
        – man on floor bleeding
        – woman standing up with smoking shotgun in hand

        Seems to me that it’s either murder; or, self-defense.

        Let’s take a cautious approach here. If it’s a domestic call and the man is on the floor bleeding and she is the murderer, well then an arrest is probably in order. She was probably pretty pissed at the guy lying on the floor. Would she be just as pissed at me (the cop responding to the call)? Did I ever do anything to annoy her? Maybe if I just step back; get a little cover; let the ringing in her hears settle down for a few minutes. Observe for a while; see what happens next.

        Or, maybe just shoot her; lot’s of time to get the facts later.

        On the other hand, maybe the domestic dispute has been settled for the moment. Maybe the woman has a plausible claim of self-defense.

  9. Glad she is ok and that a gun was part of her survival….. Smart woman just wish she hadn’t got shot by the cops for fighting for her life……

    • We’ve had a few cases in my area of police showing up to a residential dispute and having a case of mistaken identity resulting in the injury or death of the wrong person. At least she survived, looks like the dude in the stretcher might not feeling as great..

  10. A WOMAN called 911 about being attacked by her husband, a MAN. When the cops get there, they see a WOMAN holding a shotgun and a MAN shot. Logically shoot the WOMAN, right?.

    • The dispatcher probably didn’t tell the cops much more than “domestic disturbance”.

      It’d be nice if in our modern, always connected world, the dispatcher could connect the cops to the woman’s cell phone, so she could tell them, “I’m the woman in the garage with a red shirt. I have a shotgun.” And they could tell her to step out of the garage, with the shotgun above her head.

      • if the dispatcher and cops cannot get the situation right – and there was history to this situation – then they are incompetent and should be fired.

    • Even if the dispatcher relayed the message the fact that someone says that someone else is the aggressor doesn’t make it so.

      • Bingo. Domestic disputes are chaotic. Some folks need to watch some old episodes of “Cops” to figure out that basic truth.

        • Actually where I live cops responding to a domestic dispute have been shot. Responding to a domestic dispute is probably one of the worst things for a cop. This case also proves that having a restraining order is worthless.
          Not only was he able to break into her house but also was able to obtain a firearm.
          This really should be a teaching moment. If you shoot someone and they are no longer a threat, place your firearm on the ground.

    • Hey, just like Einstein doesn’t work at McDonalds, not all cops can be Dirty Harry.

      He probably got one shot off before another cop smacked him in the back of the head for being stupid.

  11. Shotgun for personal protection from the bad guys- Check.
    Body armor for personal protection from Police-….. Crickets.

    • You’re going to need a lot more than kevlar to protect yourself against the cops these days.

      Think IED’s.

  12. One important point. All parties involved in the shooting incident, including the cops, are civilians. Please don’t get into the military mindset of thinking cops are some sort of samurai class apart from us peasants. If you want to use a term to differentiate them, try “fellow citizen”. We have enough trouble with militarized law enforcement as it is, without imbedding in the public mind the notion that they are somehow a breed apart. They are not. And if that ever does become an eventuality, then expect to be living a police state.

    • Wrong. The Legal System does not treat them as citizens. They have Sovereign Immunity, and are above the rest of us. A completely different, and wrong, standard is applied to them and their use of deadly force. To say we’re the same, in philosophical theory, is true. But reality is that they are considered super-citizens, above the rest of us, and virtually never accountable for the same things that regular citizens would be held accountable. You don’t have to like it for it to be true… You’re right, they’re not special or more able. They’re not super-citizens; the (in)justice system simply lets them get away with pretty much anything. That’s what makes them different. The law applies to us, but not to them.

      • that’s BS. They do not have “sovereign immunity”. They just sometimes lie. Michael Slager is charged with murder, for example.

        One good way to clean up the police is to make body cameras mandatory, to encourage citizens to film them, and to prosecute cops who snatch cameras/cell phones, lie to cover their buddies, etc.

        • geez, S-Ty, I actually find myself sorta agreeing with you here.

          But the woman should take legal action against the officer for asault and a 1st amendment violation.

        • I’m completely ok with body cameras – as long as I can turn them off on break or in the crapper. Some “well meaning folks” want them on 100% of the time, and that isn’t realistic.

        • I’ve wondered about how to cope with cop privacy with respect to on-body cameras. The thought occurred to me to add a switch that would turn-off the video or the audio, mutually exclusively. The suppressed recording would resume automatically in – say – 5 minutes.

          If the cop were calling his girlfriend on his cell phone he should be entitled to turn-off the audio but no objection to keeping the video rolling. If he is changing in the locker room he should be entitled to turn-off the video but no objection to keeping the audio rolling.

          As long as one or the other recording channel is still operative, if the cop encountered a citizen confrontation, there would remain the one operative channel that would be useful in sorting out the cop’s story vs. some recorded facts. Abusive cops wouldn’t be able to simply shut-off the recorder as a confrontation seemed to be imminent and then claim that they were calling their wives to see if they needed to stop at the grocery store on the way home.

          I doubt that I’ve hit on the optimal solution; but, it might be a place to start a discussion on the balancing of reasonable cop privacy vs. security of the civilian population.

        • Sexual Tyrannosaurus– A few news stories indicate that it was a joint op with the sheriff’s and the US Marshall service and it was a federal Marshall that broke the camera.

        • Acur81– Got an acquaintance on LAPD, they’re getting cameras and he’s leaving it on all the time. Including bathroom breaks– he intends to ensure the camera gets a good view of whatever he produces. He knows all the tapes are getting reviewed so he want to ensure everybody knows he never, ever, secures his.

          Only downsides he sees is he will no longer cut anyone any slack/give warnings for traffic violations or other minor violations because it could result in discipline. Similarly, no more cutting slack to lower level thugs in exchange for tips/info.

        • @MarkPA: I have given a little thought to the problem in the past. I didn’t want the officer’s personal moments invaded by the camera. The best that I could come up with was administrative discipline if their camera shows a history of too much off camera time. However, your suggestion is elegant! As you pointed out, it’s not perfect but I like it. Good idea.

    • Good post. I settled on using “agent of government” for the distinction because sometimes the non-cop isn’t a citizen and “agent of government” covers all alphabet agencies and the like.

  13. I’m just gonna point out that, despite this clearly being a risky and high stress line of work, if some Police are really this nervous and skittish in these dangerous situations, perhaps we should rethink the way we are training or perhaps rethink who we let into the ranks. There are many fine police men & women out there who have to make these decisions daily, but for some it is too much for there mind to discern in a split second and it usually ends up in someone seriously wounded or dead, and too often it is the wrong person.

    If you’ve chosen LEO as your career, first of all you have my respect, but if you do not have the nerve, patience, or discernment to make a split second decision like this (its not that common, many people don’t), having a little honesty with yourself about your position might be warranted. It seems time to rethink how we employ folks into these authoritative positions, as clearly the system we have been using is not tailored to our current society. We would all like to think we would react correctly, but the fact is some of us have it and some of us don’t. It’s only fair to leave these positions to folks with more discernment.

    And just to clarify, if I find myself in some similar situation, I am probably the guy holding the gun, and I am NOT the bad guy. If I lose my nerve for a second or look a little distraught or disoriented, or perhaps instructions shouted at me are a little hard to comprehend, its probably because someone just tried to take my life and the human brain (my brain) is still in a reactive state, so please exercise some patience and maintain your nerve and don’t accomplish my murder for them.

  14. Fortuante, but telling, is the fact that the wound she inflicted on her attacker was life-threatening, as it should be… However, the wound caused by the cops was not…

    While it’s easy to jump on the cops every time they screw up, and frankly I love doing that because I hate anything government with a seething passion that will never be quenched; the fact is that they really don’t know anything about anything and just shoot whatever and sort it out later. Don’t give the dumb animals an excuse. They’re the lowest of the low.

    My hate for them aside, Officer Safety is bullsh!t. Police are not better than the citizens they’re supposed to be serving. They’re supposed to take risks, not think about themselves first and kill without concern. This is the main shift in thinking with cops. Officer Safety.

    Screw Officer Safety. Yes, it’s a dangerous job. If you can’t handle that, get a different job instead of just killing people willy-nilly because you can’t handle reality. That badge and uniform are about taking risks with your own life for the benefit of others, not looking out for yourself and falling back on Sovereign Immunity while secretly getting off on the fact that you got away with murder. Again. Still.

    Cops aren’t really cops anymore, so it’s easy to see why so many hate them. They’re not protecting and serving anything but themselves. This incident was easily avoidable by simply having an IQ above room temperature. But, pretending to be stupid is part of the game of getting away with shooting people while hiding behind a badge.

    The real lesson here is; DON’T CALL THE COPS UNTIL THE DEED IS DONE. They might show up in the middle of it and kill you because they’re too stupid and selfish to know better, or too evil and devious to see it as anything but a chance to get away with murder and fix it in the report. Again. Still. If you’re so damned afraid to die, you shouldn’t be a cop. Period.

    It’s not a job for selfish cowards.

    • Cops aren’t really cops anymore, so it’s easy to see why so many hate them. They’re not protecting and serving anything but themselves. This incident was easily avoidable by simply having an IQ above room temperature. But, pretending to be stupid is part of the game of getting away with shooting people while hiding behind a badge.

      You won the interwebz today and we can just turn it off for the rest of tonight and just savor that post.

    • Dustin says, “I hate all things government…”

      You’d certainly be much happier in failed states that have essentially no government, such as Somalia.

      An absolutist anti-government and anti-cop attitude is stupid. EVERY functioning society has a government, taxes, and police. The issue is that those things need to be properly controlled theough checks and balances, and rule of law.

      • Oh look, the Somalia line again.

        Maybe you should actually read about the history and tribal governance of Somalia before using such a stupid argument.

        • uh, right, S-Ty. It’s a model for S-Ty and Dustin to aspire to. Because of tribal governance and history. Never mind all of the starvation, mass murder, warlords, famine, piracy, etc.

          your post is BS.

        • You might want to read up on the actions of Barre *government* in Somalia.

        • This. Radley Balko’s “Rise of the Warrior Cop” documents the history of policing in this nation and today’s “law enforcement” gangsters are a new phenomenon.

    • Yup, good points.. But, let’s also realize that not everybody will act accordingly and this was a shotgun at her mother’s house (?) so she might not have even been previously acquainted with firearms and self defense. If she were a “gun person” then she more likely than not would’ve been carrying a handgun with all of the recent problems with her estranged. She also might not have been able to hear a blessed thing after touching off that shotgun in an enclosed space.

  15. Just another example of why citizens should be armed and government employees should not be allowed to carry weapons. One drop of blood from a citizen is worth the lives of 100 cops.

    • I would say that the police need to have a culture in which they don’t perceive the lives of those they are sworn to protect and serve to be any less valuable than cops’ lives.

  16. If this woman hit the ex with 00buck a couple of times he probably would’ve expired. She might of had birdshot. And she’s lucky this cop was a crappy shot…

  17. I’m glad her injuries aren’t life-threatening and her ex-husband’s are. Hopefully, the knucklehead will keep his distance in the future.

    As for the unfortunate woman being wounded, I don’t know, I wasn’t there. I’m happy she’s alive and no cops were injured.

  18. Well that’s just fantastic. I can just see all of MDA sycophants running to their blogs to proclaim that no one should have a right to armed self defense “cops can’t tell who the bad guy is because only bad guys have guns.” That and “Why didn’t he shoot the gun out of her hand?!”. Way to go Officer Friendly.

  19. Circa 1980, the local cops raided a drug house. Most went in the front door but one was stationed out back to catch any suspects who tried to escape that way. Sure enough, a guy ran out of the back door with one of the front door cops on his tail. The suspect was unarmed but the cop following him (obviously) was not. The back door cop fixated on the front door cop’s gun, forgot about the suspect and shot his colleague.

    It’s a good idea to keep the 911 operator on the phone while you deal with the assailant. The recording will help corroborate your story.

    911 operators vary widely in competence.

    Perhaps readers will remember the operator in Oklahoma to told a young widow to do whatever necessary to protect her babies from two home invaders. She did, with a shotgun.

    In the next state over from mine, a farm wife called 911 to report a guy trying to break into their house. A few minutes later, she called again to report that her husband had shot the intruder. The operator radioed responding officers that the intruder had been shot by the homeowner. That warned the officers not to jump to conclusions if they encountered an armed person. The intruder was a fugitive with a violent record. Recidivism is no longer a concern.

    In the same state, the county just across the river from me has had problems with its 911 service. First responders have been sent to wrong addresses. In another case, a guy who had been abducted at gunpoint was shot by the police as he struggled with his abductor. Incomplete, or wrong, directions from the 911 operator may have been to blame.

  20. If the woman had a restraining order against the man, and the man had prior incidents against her, and the woman activated the alarm, all of that info should be available to the dispatcher, and should be communicated to the responders.

    Otherwise we should just get rid of all of those expensive computers, dispatchers, and radios.

    Seems like total incompetence to me.

    • In theory, yes. If the woman gave her name they may have been able to look it up and see an active protection order, but by the time they confirmed it was her through the system the officers may have been on scene and the radio on standby for them, meaning they wouldn’t give out that over the radio at the time.

      • useless excuses for an incompetent system failure. You can bet your ass that if this incompetence got a cop shot, they would fix it,

  21. Freeze, drop the gun!
    What officer? I just fired this shotgun! eeeeerrriiinnng-eeeeeerrrrriiiiinng.
    All civilians who have guns are bad so no hesitation!
    Blam!
    This high speed low drag military operator is going home safely tonight.

  22. I still don’t like the fact that she’s shot and then cuffed like that. It would only take a moment to determine the facts in this case without cuffing her. I mean, she’s not unconscious for goodness sake! Look at the photo… they had time to get emergency responders in there with a stretcher and she’s still cuffed on the ground? Am I missing something?

    • No kidding. Zoom in on the picture and she looks really distraught, as she should be, being forced into that restraint position with a bullet hole in her. I’m backseat driving here, but it seems if they had to cuff her they could at least let her sit up.

  23. Many people have commented on the discharging indoors without ear protection and I would like to add to that line of thought…..

    Being hearing impaired (80% hearing loss without the hearing aids) I have long ago resigned myself to the very real possibility of getting shot by LEO’s in any situation similar to the one in this story. LEO’s are going to shout instructions to me and I will not comply because I simply won’t hear them. At that point they will most likely consider me dangerous and I will probably find out what it feels like to get shot.

    I know I can minimize the possibility, put the firearm down or away as soon as the threat is no longer a threat, hands plainly visible, move slowly, and countless other ways to present as non-threatening. All of that still begs the question why do *I* have to work so hard to make *them* feel safer? Aren’t they supposed to be the ones with all the training and skill and all that other stuff that is attributed to them by the anti-gunners? If they are just as prone to adrenaline-fueled bad decisions as I am then what really differentiates any of them from any of us?

  24. More and more it seems the best approach is to handle the self defense situation yourself (whenever practical) and only after you have eliminated the threat, call the police to do what they do best: fill out the forms documenting the incident.

  25. its called the fog of war in the military. Everyone’s adrenalin is pumping, it’s hard for the dispatcher to hear on the phone when you are panicked. In a rush the dispatcher doesn’t give whole story, cops are busy with traffic and in a rush. They probably know who is attacking (the husband), but who is the most likely to shoot the cops in a domestic dispute? The wife who called them, fact. Then you have an amped up wife who’s head is pounding, tunnel-visioned, to the man she was threatened by, and shot. Ears ringing from the gun shot, hears “something” behind her. She is in fight or flight mode she is turning to fight and has no idea who is probably behind her. Cops see her turn aggressively with a shotgun, and bang.

    A gun fight is stress, confusion and adrenalin all rolled up in one. This was an accident. It isn’t anyone’s fault, except the guy who ignored the restraining order and the level of estranged his girl was.

    Two morals of the story.
    #1. You might get shot in a gun fight, even by accident. Why you speak clearly as you can. Drop your gun as soon as you realize cops are there. Expect to be treated harshly, for your protection

    #2 don’t date crazy women

    • “. . . who is the most likely to shoot the cops in a domestic dispute? The wife who called them, fact.”

      I’ll take your statement of fact at face value. Now, then, for a fine point of context. Is the wife who called the cops most likely to shoot the cops when:
      – she has not yet shot her husband? or,
      – after she has already shot her husband?

      If the wife is pissed enough to call the cops and to shoot them when they arrive that’s perfectly rational. She wants to shoot her husband and doesn’t want any interference. That they arrived a few minutes too soon is her fault; she should wait until she has completed the mission about which she is so passionate and then call for the appropriate resource (ambulance if she didn’t finish the job; corridor if mission was accomplished; police if she feels guilty about what she has done.

      Now, for the case under investigation, if she has already shot her husband, what is the motivation to interfere with the police when they respond to her call? I’m probably missing something here; so I’d like to know what it is. Or, perhaps, there is no accounting for the rage of an angry woman. Maybe wives who have already shot their husbands have been found – empirically – to carry on shooting cops.

      If not, then perhaps the cop in this case missed a subtle contextual clue (man lying on the garage floor in a pool of blood) that would have informed his interpretation of woman’s propensity to carry on shooting cops.

  26. I think a fairly simple fix for a situation like this: NO POLICE IMMUNITY, they are citizens just like the rest of us.
    If an officer thinks that they are truly in enough danger to shoot, then they will, if they have any doubt that they are wrong….they won’t. Just like all other law abiding citizens. At this point they have free reign to be wrong, and not be held accountable.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I respect police officers, and the dangers that they may face. BUT they are given the policing powers from the rest of us, to do a job that they voluntarily accepted. They should face the same repercussions as the other citizens… just as the rest of our elected officials and representatives should also…but I digress.

    What would have happened if the woman thought that there might have been a second intruder, and she had shot the police officer? Would she be let off without being held accountable? OF COURSE NOT. She’d probably be likely to spend the rest of her life behind bars. For making an honest mistake, but one that could have been prevented by taking a second to think about it.

    Police offers do a difficult job, that has many risks. Generally they encounter the scum of the earth, and rarely is anyone happy to see them…BUT they chose this job, no one forced them to do it. They SHOULD understand that they have to be held accountable for their decisions. That they are putting themselves in harms way for the greater good. Some do, and many don’t, unfortunately.

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