I hope you never have to use a firearm for defense against an imminent, credible threat of grievous bodily harm or death. If you do, you will be incapacitated. By adrenalin, if nothing else. And that means . . .
You won’t be “in your right mind.” You’ll be both excitable — and this is the important bit — suggestible. Especially to an authority figure or figures who have secured your safety. You know: cops.
Your new best friends will want you to talk. They’ll encourage you to vent. They might call the bad guy(s) by bad names to work you up into a lather, ostensibly to prove that you did the right thing and they’re on your side. Legally speaking, they’re not.
It’s critical that you do NOT say certain things to the police in the aftermath of a defensive gun use. Here are the three most important to avoid . . .
1. “The m’f*cker had it coming”
Shooting someone requires aggression. It’s unlikely that this aggression will wear off completely in the immediate aftermath a violent or potentially violent attack. Resist the urge to express your anger.
Your defense depends on the police, prosecutor, judge and/or jury’s belief that you are a good guy. Good guys don’t like the fact that they shot someone. They did it because they had to, not because they wanted to.
So no swearing. No indication of personal animus to the perp(s) or potential perp(s). In this respect, as in so many others, silence is golden. Chill, as best you can.
2. “I shot three, maybe four times”
“What happened?” the cops will ask. “My life was in danger,” you will reply. “I’ll be glad to make a full statement after I’ve spoken to my lawyer.” And then STFU. Right?
You need to describe the perps to the police, tell the cops where they went (assuming the bad guys aren’t wounded or dead), and point out any witnesses and evidence that they might miss.
You must NOT describe the course of events. “I was standing here, the bad guy was there, I fired, four, maybe five shots.”
Your memory is not reliable, and anything you say can be used against you in court. Again, exercise your right to silence, promising to provide all the details after you’ve consulted with legal counsel.
3. “I’ve been training for this for years.”
Of course you should provide ID to the police. But your background is not relevant to your defensive gun use at the scene of the crime (or the police station). You should NOT tell the police OR EMT STAFF anything else about yourself, your firearms or your training.
Evoke your right to silence. Have I mentioned that before? It’s true: what you don’t say can’t be used against you in court. As justified as your defensive gun use may be, justifying it at the scene is a really, really bad idea.