Security guard Brian Harrison is leaning on a counter, arms crossed, when 34-year-old Laurence Turner of Rockford, Illinois enters the bank and fires a shot in the air. Officer Harrison’s situational awareness level is low before the attack. That’s entirely understandable given . . .

how crushingly boring his job must be. I bet he’s gone years without any incidents. Of any kind. And you can’t fault Officer Harrison for not swinging immediately into action the moment the tellers hit the deck and Mr. Turner shoots the ceiling.

Even in a bank, yes even for a security guard, nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. Not to mention the fact that a gunshot interferes with your brain’s processing power; it takes a second or two for that OODA loop to spool up.

Notice that there’s a latched gate in front of Officer Harrison that swings inwards. I’m not sure if he’s supposed to be stationed in the main foyer, but that gate limits his mobility BIG STYLE.

He should have been aware of that fact, just as you should be aware of your environment from a self-defense POV.

I reckon Officer Harrison should have kept the gate open, or at least unlatched it. Failing that, he should have considered positioning himself in another, more maneuverable position.

Officer Harrison fires a single shot and moves back when the gunfight begins. Right answer! He gets off the X. He then moves towards Mr. Turner, bravely, to stop the threat. Also right answer!

Mr. Turner hugs the counter for concealment. Officer Harrison knows Mr. Turner’s position. He leans around the counter and shoots Mr Turner one-handed — illustrating the importance of one-handed shooting.

[Having watched a number of behind-the-counter self-defense shootings, I remind you that it’s not advisable to shoot from the same position every time. If you peep out from the same location, the bad guy will know where to shoot.]

Officer Harrison watches Mr Turner leave, mortally wounded, then lowers his gun by his side. Maybe not the best idea? But, of course, result. And of course, he wasn’t prosecuted. (Why was this even a question?)

Also, if you’re in the bank and a bad guy fires a shot, do not hesitate to GTFO (as one of the tellers wisely does) or open fire. As an armed civilian, chances are you will not be directly in the line-of-fire.

Anyway, result. And of course, Officer Harrison was not prosecuted. (Why was this even a question?)

95 Responses to Illinois Alpine Bank Robbery: Defensive Gun Use of the Day

    • @ 1:05, After shooting robber 5 times who then collapses dead, guard casually and calmly yanks his britches up and prepares to go to the break area outside for a smoke.

      Jokes aside, I feel bad for the robber (because he died). But then again, he came into a bank with a gun and started shooting at people, surely he must have known the risks involved, and surely he must have known that he may have to kill people to do it, and he didn’t seem very sympathetic about their lives, so my sympathies for him are quite diminished by these circumstances and his decisions.

    • This is my bank, my branch. Brian & I have had numerous conversations; he seems like a stand-up guy. When I leave I usually say something like “head on a swivel” or “stay safe.” He always nods & smiles.

      The reason charges were being considered is that last shot, and… you know… Illinois. I say he did a fine job during those 14 seconds that everyone is going to second guess about and dissect. Are there lessons to be learned from the video? Absolutely. And while we can “what if” it to death, I’m just glad he & the rest of the staff are okay. (Although all of them have moved to other branches.) The dead guy is suspected of 2 or 3 other bank robberies in the area with the same MO. He was bound to get perforated sooner or later.

  1. Why was this even a question? Because Rockford is close enough to Chicago that the craziness emanating from that bastion of corruption have contaminated otherwise sane communities like Rockford. Fortunately, only a little.

    On the other hand, if the perp had been a person of color, the decision might not have been as favorable.

    • It’s a homicide. All homicides should get a thorough investigation. In this case, that should consist of watching the surveillance videos, nodding, and giving Harrison a pat on the back.

      • NO! This was NOT a “homicide” (murder). It was a killing certainly.

        People get so confused with the “Thou shalt not MURDER” incorrect translation.

        • Pretty sure the question here was sociological, not biblical, even though the perp did “go to meet his maker”.

        • Heh, dumbass. Check out a dictionary (or, you know, the internet). By definition, a homicide is any time a human kills another human. Murder is a subset of that, as is euthanasia, justifiable homicide, manslaughter, killing in war, capital punishment, or any other situation in which a human causes the death of another human. This incident, where the security guard (presumably a human) kills the attempted-robber (also presumably human), is very clearly a homicide, by any definition. In my opinion (and in the opinion of most, it seems) also just as clearly a justifiable one, both legally and morally. But a homicide none the less.

        • Heh, dumbass. Check out a dictionary

          This is one of those types of guys that you don’t invite over to your BBQ.

          It normally goes like this:
          “Hey should we invite [insert name here]?
          “Uh… no. I think that would be a mistake. You know how he is.”
          “Ok… maybe next time.”
          “mmmmno. Not next time either.”

  2. Here in Kommifornia del Norte (Oregon) the courts would hang him because he put a round in the perp’s back as he was going out the door. That’s a no-no, threat has already been eliminated. I don’t fault him one damn bit, but in some jurisdictions it would mean a trip to the slammer for a few years of his retirement at the least.

        • So YOU’RE not interested enough in the veracity of your own statements to back them up. but somebody else is supposed to be? Uh-uh, buddy. That ain’t how it works. If you can’t demonstrate something to be factual, it will not be considered evidence of anything but a disordered mind.

        • I simply don’t care enough to match wits with an unarmed opponent, you want an argument go find a wife. Several posters have subsequently agreed with me, if you disagree just say so and present evidence to back up your statements. Not gonna waste time proving the obvious to an obvious troll. Seeya.

    • This is correct. Once the perp stopped shooting and started to egress, the fight was over. The security guard “reengaged.” The perp was responsible for starting the first gun fight, the guard, by reengagement, was responsible for the starting the second gun fight. Police have the right to pursue, others do not.

      Had the perp continued fighting as he left, it would have been a continuation of the fight and the guard would be justified in shooting.

      Private citizens may pursue only if there is a reasonable expectation of a continuing crime, such as a school shooting when the perp is going room to room.

      Also, the guard should have been more concerned for looking for other perps at an earlier stage. After going outside, he looks around, but he should have searched for other bad guys before going into the doorway.

      • “the guard should have been more concerned for looking for other perps at an earlier stage.”

        He did. Watch carefully and you’ll see him scan for other goblins, right after he opens the half-door and moves out. He checks right and left, then goes after the dead guy.

      • “Once the perp stopped shooting and started to egress, the fight was over. “

        Bold assumption.

        So, the perp moving to a better position of cover to reengage the security guard or even innocent people is not a consideration? During the fight, who knows what the bad guy is thinking?

        I don’t buy the “never shoot at a fleeing hostile”. That remains my belief whether I am defending lives or sitting on a jury.

      • I don’t think that would happen even in Hawaii or New Jersey or New York, anywhere. The robber had begun the shooting and hadn’t surrendered, was flopping around and waving his hands some; how could the guard know he wasn’t still intent on doing harm, and especially within just a second or two?

        If the robber had never fired a shot, or had obviously dropped the gun and run out with his hands up, maybe some benighted prosecutor would try to stir up election votes. But I don’t believe so in this case.

        • You don’t get the news where you live then? Happens all the time. Look up Michael Strickland, he didn’t even pull the trigger.

        • Because Michael Strickland being a stupid person in a stupid place doing stupid things is exactly the same thing , except for being completely different.

        • Your opinion is duly noted and will be routed through the proper channels. One flush usually does it.

      • “Had the perp continued fighting as he left, it would have been a continuation of the fight and the guard would be justified in shooting.”

        In the heat of the engagement the guard didn’t have the luxury of discerning whether or not the armed robber was running away or simply retreating to a more strategically advantageous firing position. The guy could have had another gun, could have had accomplices waiting on the outside who could have assisted in reengaging the guard. These are unlikely possibilities but are in no way impossible possibilities. The guard may have hoped the guy was running away, but what if he wasn’t? In the fog of war, practical logic rules. I think the local prosecutor made the right decision.

        • The entire fight was mere seconds. As you said, “in the fog of war”. In the same way that an accomplice gets charged with murder when his criminal companion goes room temperature, I think most reasonable people consider the perp responsible for his own demise by bringing it in the first place. To hold a peaceful person responsible for actions taken under an adrenaline rush, initiated by the response to the criminal action of another is just not right. Had there been sufficient delay with no immediate threat before taking that last shot, that would be a different matter.

      • I always enjoy Rabbi’s posts.

        My favorite Rabbi post – I forgot to copy and paste, and I couldn’t find it again. But it went something like this:

        If an aggressor confronts you for any reason and you believe you may be assaulted or attacked; Agree with him. Apologize to him. Do whatever you can to de-escalate the situation. If he gets violent with you, pulls a weapon, etc, then come down on him with the greatest speed and most force you can muster.

        It’s not word for word. But it’s similar.

    • That’s right. Same assertion I made yesterday about the Ohio stop and rob clerk shooting the perp as he was trying to leave (get out of the line of fire) out of an illegally locked exit door. You don’t think a liberal DA (read Dem) with political aspirations wouldn’t try to make his bones on a case like that.

    • There isn’t any caselaw to make that a guarantee, even here in Oregon.

      Might it happen? Yes.
      Will it happen? When you’re taking about judges… nothing is ever certain.

      • Looks like his slide didn’t return to battery or was slow to return. He grabbed the top of the slide with his weak hand and either racked it or pushed it forward. Then he continued with a tow hand grip.

    • I think you’re right. Looking at the slow-mo from both angles it looks like he may have had a (for lack of a better description) limp-wrist malfunction from the one-handed around-the-corner shot. It looks like the slide didn’t go fully back into battery after that 3rd or 4th shot. He recognized and fixed it quickly and then took the final shot. At least that’s my view of it.

    • Really looks like the gun jammed. Funny, I was just reading the court records for a local police action in which the primary officer’s .40 stopped working after 5 shots. Guess I keep my .38.

  3. I read on another site the security guard is a former county deputy. He went to cuff the guy at the end of the video.

  4. While the guard is speaking to his co-workers, you can see him stealing glances toward the window and door. He’s relaxed, but his SA is not low at all.

    When the BG decided to go all Wild Bunch on the ceiling, the guard reacted very swiftly and delivered rounds on target, including the kill shot, while the rest of the bank crew is ducking under their desks.

    The guard doesn’t really move toward the BG until the Dillinger wannabee is face down in the doorway. Harrison only repositioned himself for a clean shot around the BG’s concealment, which he got.

    All in all, I’d say that Brian Harrison is an ace and handled himself like one.

    • Definitely agree. That was a damn near instantaneous 0 to Holy Shit! situation and he plugged the bad guy with all due haste.

      Commendable action.

  5. The second he noticed the teller go, “Oh, shit,” he sprang into action. The latched gate certainly didn’t help.

  6. Hey I saw this earler today. He did good. He also looks pretty old(like me). He didn’t freeze up or puzzy out. “I’m not a security guard-I’m a security MONITOR”?

  7. That last shot was a little iffy… Reasonable minds could differ over whether the threat had been stopped. The last shot very well could have been the result of a habit of tap-rack-bang when faced with a malfunction (which is why most police academies are now teaching tap-rack-assess). I don’t blame him for taking that last shot in the stress of the moment, but this could easily have been prosecuted (and very well may have been if he wasn’t an off duty officer).

    • Shooting someone in the back should NEVER be a problem if they come in guns-a-blazin’ or threaten with any weapon , matter of fact, you should face prosecution if you DON’T shoot them in the back. Anyone that shows that much disregard for human life is an obvious danger to society and letting them get away because they have their back to you is obtuse. Put the rabid animal down, while you have the opportunity. Someone else’s life could very well depend on it. I understand that in some jurisdictions this could be a problem, but that is what pitch forks, torches and ropes are for, or “helicopter rides” as serge would suggest.

        • Exactly. In any jurisdiction, you are only allowed to use deadly force in self defense to defend against an imminent threat of deadly force to oneself or others (there are variations, but this basic principle holds true everywhere). Once the guy was running away, there was no longer an imminent threat.

        • Do tell. The SOB had a gun in hand which he had just discharged in MURDER attempt and is now tearassing thru the community. The NOT enough cause? BS

        • Anyone else notice the suspect dropped his gun when he was shot and rolled away from the counter?

          He was unarmed when he was running out the door and received the fatal shot in the back.

          Not saying the guard was wrong.. just pointing that out.

        • CueBaller, Easy to see from the first camera, from the camera that gave the guard’s view angle, not so much

      • Bull, and may a pox be upon all prosecutors and politicians who think that way.

        If you plan to live by the sword be prepared to die by the sword. I would not put it past that perp to shoot a victim in the back.

        No mercy.

  8. Somebody robbing a bank already has 2 strikes against them. Banks prepare for robberies, bank robbery has an extremely high rate of being solved, greater than 90%. The FBI investigates all federally insured bank robberies. So you’re pretty dumb to even try.

  9. The tellers had better situational awareness than him. If he had reacted as fast as the woman in the middle the guy would have never made it through the front door.

    • I think bank guards generally figure their mere presence will deter any potential robbers, so they spend their time shooting the bull with employees and customers.

      To their credit, most bank guards generally do a good job of watching the front door, even when they’re talking on their cell phones. And I’ll bet Officer Harrison will never turn his back to the front door again.

  10. Man, I gotta practice my draw. I’m nowhere near as fast as Officer Harrison. And it took some balls to look around that counter to shoot the perp, knowing the perp was shooting back. I doubt I would have had the courage.

    I say Officer, because the security company contracted by this bank employs off-duty and retired police officers.

    Of all the banks in Rockford, this Darwin Award nominee has to pick one of the few with a security guard on duty. He paid heavily for his failure at basic reconnaissance.

    Clear a malfunction? No way. All those guys carry Glocks.

      • I thought the same thing but maybe he knew enough about the bank to know shooting through the counter was a non-starter.

        Leaning to shoot around the wall could have gotten the guard shot in the face.

      • Agreed. But I run the risk of seeming a keyboard commando. Which, let’s face it, I am. (See: comment below.)

        • Given that standard training for bank tellers is to duck under the counter, it is more than likely the front counter is plated with some decent steel or masonry to make it at least projectile resistant.

  11. There are times when farago should just shut up and get over himself. Or maybe he can regale us with stories of all the gun fights he’s been in civilian and/or military. The guard responded quickly and decisively. And a close look reveals the criminal returning fire. So he put himself at risk to protect the lives of other people and farago, with all his vast experience and knowledge, is going to tell us what the guy should have done instead. Clown.

  12. On my third viewing of the video, I noticed something: The perp BACKED his mother’s car into the parking spot. I wonder if any of the tellers could see that, and whether or not they’re trained to spot that red flag.

    (I don’t actually know it was his mother’s car, just an educated guess.)

  13. Result????? WTF does that mean?

    Testify! Represent!

    Certainly not what I expect from the erudite Mr. Farago.

    • In this case, “result” means that no innocents were hurt, the perp will never again threaten innocent life, and no taxpayer funds will be spent arresting, booking, prosecuting, defending, or incarcerating the scum.

      That’s a result we should all be thankful for.

  14. I chuckled as the door slowly slid shut behind the dead/dying guy at 2:58. Maybe that’s a bit harsh but Micheal Bay couldn’t have nailed that better.

    If anyone here was seriously lacking in SA it was the bad guy who didn’t notice the guard until he’d basically already been shot at.

    • my thoughts exactly….I was hoping to see the outer doors repeatedly attempt to close on his head, but no such joy.

  15. If you are in a bank and a bad guy shoots, GTFO or shoot back? You will have to answer for having a gun in a bank in the first place…

  16. I think the officer had slight situational awareness compared to the bank employees. But I honestly think it saved his life. Most guards in cosmopolitan cities stand right by the door in badge wanna be cop gear (I am former security that wore those. I know. ) looking grim faced and scanning the store and parking lot. The laid back security look and standing behind the desk had me disarmed at first as to who the security guard was. I think if Hatrison was properly “attired” or “properly” stationed in front by door he would have been shot and not the perp. This had a much better ending then most security showdowns. My couch quarter back playing. Your mileage may vary.

  17. A few random thoughts-
    1. Two tellers have SA that a bad guy was entering the bank well before the guard was aware. Maybe they should have practiced shouting “Gun” or “Mask” upon sighting a BG in order to alert the guard & others in the room. The blue shirted teller only hid after hearing the BG’s shot into the ceiling, he didn’t notice the other tellers deciding to play Whack-a-Mole.
    2. Guard’s first shot taken one-handed with his support hand very close to the muzzle. It’s hard to see clearly, but it looks unsafe. I don’t train to shoot one-handed very much, but when I do my weak hand is far away from my pistol & when I move to take a two-handed grip, my finger is indexed outside the trigger guard. YMMV when somebody is shooting at you, obviously.
    3. Bad Guy drops his gun during his attempt to roll away from the threat & was fleeing the fight with empty hands. I doubt the security guard noticed in the heat of battle, but he’s probably lucky he’s a ex-cop, all things considered. I don’t fault him for taking that last shot, but you never know how the Police/DA are going to weigh the facts of the case.
    4, BG got confused & was doing the Dick Van Dyke-approved ‘Stop, Drop & Roll’ technique, which only works when you’re *on* fire, not so great when you’re *under* fire. (rimshot) What, too soon?

    • Excellent observation. Actually, at 4:41, you can see the FIRST shot perforate the guy, with the first white spot appearing on the back of the vest. Clean through.

  18. LOL – I’ve been in that bank, and in that area I am not surprised one little bit that some reject tried to rob it.

  19. One observation….

    I think this is a nice visualization of why its a good idea to have security not dress like cops.

    If you watch the video that is filmed facing the counter (at 4:36), its pretty clear the suspect doesn’t ping on the guard at all – and why would he? Just a guy in a white polo leaning on a counter. Gave the guard a nice advantage when he drew and presented. Had he been dressed in blues with a chained whistle and collar brass…… probably would have taken rounds before he could present.

  20. Good job by the guard. Risky fighting moves, but he’s the man for saving lives. The bank employees saw the bad guy first because they could see further into the door entry way. They were certainly “on it”, for seeing him as soon as he walked in the first set of doors.

  21. I’d argue him being behind the gate/counter probably helped him in this case since he was mostly concealed, including his gun, and it wasn’t immediately evident that he was a security guard and not just some guy behind the counter.

    BG runs in and sees a dude gun in the open, especially if said dude goes for it, he is shooting that dude or is fixed on him immediately.

  22. Sooo……the robber entered the building and fired first at…..the ceiling? This, despite knowing or having a reasonable expectation that an armed guard was on site? Hmmm….

    So much for the “Open carry is equivalent to wearing a ‘Shoot me first!’ sign” myth.

  23. It looks like the guys handgun has a direct line to the perp but . . . even if it didn’t I am pretty sure at that range it could blow through the counter, and the perp, and keep going. It would at least make it through the counter and into the bad guy. The point is that counter is NOT COVER IT IS CONCEALMENT.

    • You don’t know that. Banks don’t always advertise bulletproof panels. Couple banks in the ‘hood when I lived in Portland had 2″ Polycarbonate walls and doors at the teller counters and cash drawers where they slid paper and money in and out for each teller station. I have friends and relatives that are or were bank employees and they were trained that in the event of any attack or robbery to drop behind the counters. I’m betting there’s steel or masonry enough in there to stop average handgun loads at least.

      • You are right. I don’t know that and I don’t want to find out the hard way if it is not steel re-enforced . Also, if it is steel re-enforced there is a good chance the corner portion is not. Again, it very well may be. I would rather assume it is not and have it be, than assume it is and have it not be.

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