Minneapolis Man’s ‘Suicide by Cop’ Sparks Criticism of Police

Travis Jordan (image via screenshot – video embedded below)

On Friday at around 2:00 p.m. in Minneapolis, 36-year-old Travis Matthew Jordan was shot dead by police in the front yard of a home while armed with a knife. As recorded in the transcript, the 9-1-1 caller had informed the operator that Jordan was suicidal at the time. Here is an excerpt from that exchange:

Caller: Um, he’s been having a lot of suicidal thoughts because, um, depression, anxiety, but he’s not taking any pills for that. Um, he’s just taking alcohol for it. Um, today I spoke to him and he said he wanted to die, and then he sent me a text of this music video about like people committing suicide, and he said he wanted to commit suicide in his mother’s house. I called him back, asked if he was okay, he said, he was crying to me today saying he doesn’t want to live, he doesn’t even think about his future anymore, um.

Operator: Okay.

Caller: I told him I was gonna call the cops, ‘cause I was really worried about him, and he threatened me and said go ahead and call the cops, I’ll talk to them when they get here.

Operator: Okay, stay on the line here.

Caller: And he’s threatened, he’s tried to call many times, I mean he calls me all the time saying he wants to die, and I don’t know how to deal with it.

Operator: Yup.

Caller: I don’t know how to help him, so. And today like he said he was gonna plan to go to his mom’s and.

Operator: Was sent to you in text message or did he speak to you directly?

Caller: He sent me a text message saying he wanted to plan to go his mom and do this.

Operator: Okay. Caller: And he put LOL at the end.

Operator: Does he have a vehicle?

Caller: No.

Operator: Is anyone else in danger right now?

Caller: No, I don’t think anyone’s home, just him.

Operator: Okay, is he violent?

Caller: No.

Operator: How did he say he was gonna hurt himself?

Caller: He said he was, well he told me that he just went to the liquor store and got a big bottle, but then I’ve looked through his text messages before and he’s asked for like to find a gun for him from someone. And then I confronted him about that a long time ago and he said he wasn’t gonna do it. Um, so I don’t know what, I don’t know who he’s been contacting today. I mean he wouldn’t let me go over.

In response to this call, police arrived on the 700 block of Morgan Avenue North and found Jordan outside, armed with a knife. The officers opened fire, and Jordan died in the hospital shortly afterward. Body camera footage was recorded but hasn’t yet been released.

“Why are tasers not what’s in their hand?” said Jordan’s friend and roommate, Paul Johnson. “Why is the lethal form of de-escalating the situation and ending it in their hands and not all the other ways that could’ve been done?”

One plausible answer is that police were trained in the Tueller Drill, which trains officers to respond to a short-range knife attack when armed with a holstered handgun. The drill is based on a series of time trials performed and published in the 1980s by Sergeant Dennis Tueller.

During those trials, Sgt. Tueller established that a knife-wielding attacker enters an officer’s “danger zone” if he comes closer than 20 feet. So, if a man with a knife rushes at a cop from 19 feet away, he will almost always be able to stab the police officer sooner than the officer will be able to react.

“It was a wellness check,” said Johnson’s wife, “and now our friend is dead instead of alive and getting the help that he needed.”

What do you think?

Here’s some brief video news coverage for those interested:

comments

  1. avatar little horn says:

    bad police work or bad 911 operator that didn’t pass the correct info.

  2. avatar MIO says:

    No worries I’m sure this will draw out all the LEO haters and they will alllllll know how to do it better though they won’t. When confronted with a LETHAL weapon there is no need to use a non lethal weapon and even if it is it still in most cases MUST be covered by a lethal option for the officers safety.
    Is he dangerous? “No” then why are you calling the cops LOL yes he’s dangerous and armed and wanting it.
    This guilt from people who call law enforcement is often experienced when they don’t get the desired outcome due to arrest, injury or death.

    1. avatar Chris Mallory says:

      Yeah, I do know how to do it better. They knew this guy had a knife. Spend a little money and equip every patrol car with a prison issue riot shield. Pin the guy against the wall. If a cop gets cut, so what? That is the job they are paid to do.
      It is well past time to start disarming cops.
      Citizens should be armed, not government employees.

      1. avatar New Continental Army says:

        Then why don’t you post a video of yourself doing just that and show us all how it’s done. Since your such a billy badass.

        1. avatar Manse Jolly says:

          Not trying to argue or start a fight…

          Prob not doable in every situation either. I seem to remember watching this live..dunno..too long ago to say for sure. Firehose and a ladder takedown of a guy with a sword.

        2. avatar New Continental Army says:

          While bringing along a fire truck and a dozen other officers is certainly a goal with trying for, as you said, it’s not realistically going to happen.

      2. avatar Ted says:

        You know, many a major city is hiring right now. Feel free to apply if you think you can nut up to the situation.

        Also, I’m pretty sure their job isn’t to get cut with a knife. They’re looking forward to going home at the end of the day, same as anyone else.

      3. avatar Joseph says:

        Typical Chairborne Ranger bullshit.

      4. avatar Tile Floor says:

        Chris Mallory is a fuckstick who has no clue what the hell he is talking about

      5. avatar Joe Wright says:

        I worked at a prison in Iowa and we were trained to shoot an inmate with a knife, before he got within 20 feet of you. That includes any pointed item.

  3. avatar fiundagner says:

    Play stupid games Win stupid prizes. Based on the limited information available this appears to be a good shoot. tasers are not always effective at stopping an armed assailant and police are not magically trained super Marksman that can shoot the Knives out of people’s hands

  4. avatar Shire-man says:

    Was really worried about him = called the cops.
    Yeah, not the best idea. Even if the confrontation is not fatal once the cops are involved the situation becomes a whole different thing.

    1. avatar Stevewonderful says:

      This^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

  5. avatar Timothy K. Toroian says:

    Knife = a taser or two.

    1. avatar Jo says:

      Ok you try. Good luck. Have you been exposed to taser and did you ever shoot one?

    2. avatar New Continental Army says:

      A taser doesn’t automatically incapacitate people like you think it does. You can look up plenty of videos of people pulling the taser barbs out of their skin and continuing the fight.

  6. avatar Jo says:

    Too many people believe taser is some sort of magical problem solver device. It isn’t, and a knife is a lethal weapon.

  7. avatar RayS says:

    I understand the threat a knife presents and lack of reliability of tasers, but if 2 officers are present, why not have 1 ready with the taser and the other with the firearm.

  8. avatar Mark N. says:

    The Tueller drill is only relevant if the officer’s gun is in his holster. If it is out and pointing at the subject, an officer can get off multiple shots before the assailant is in striking range.

    1. avatar JMR says:

      Guess that would explain why they had their guns unholstered then.

  9. avatar HP says:

    The roommate sounds as stupid as the people who say things like “just shoot him in the leg” or “fire a warning shot”.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      Police in Australia have been criticized over a shoot-to-kill policy for terrorists. Local Imams have said this is exacerbating terror incidents and have asked to the police to shoot in non-lethal locations.

      Police marksmanship, or lack thereof, is widely known. Having them shoot to wound or the assailant’s hands is asking for collateral damage.

      But the police commissioners already regard us “civilians” as acceptable collateral damage for their political masters.

  10. avatar billy-bob says:

    Didn’t seem to be much criticism when they executed Justine Diamond.

  11. avatar Forrest Adcock says:

    “why didn’t they use non-lethal weapons?”

    Because the threat wasn’t holding a non-lethal weapon.

    As far as the Tuller drill is concerned, it’s a pretty accurate rule of thumb. Without specific training and things going perfectly, it’s really hard to beat a knife with a firearm inside “contact weapon” distances.

    Personally, I’m not about to fault a police officer when a suicidal individual gets what they want and force an officer to kill them in self defense. I’m just going to say a prayer for that officer and the people he’s going to need to turn to for support while dealing with this tragedy.

  12. avatar Elaine D. says:

    There is no perfect solution for a situation like this.

    There is no perfect answer to helping someone who is so sad and desperate that not being here any more is the only answer they can perceive.

    That said, here are the things I tell people to do when someone they care about seems to be suicidal.

    1. Find out if that person is in any kind of mental health treatment. If they are, and if it’s possible to alert that person by getting the info, do so. Ask if it’s OK if you call their doctor or therapist. Ask if they need a ride to get to an appointment.

    2. If there isn’t a mental health person, are that person’s family members, especially the ones they love and care about, aware of the situation? A lot of people are so upset by what’s happening that they try to handle it themselves. If there are family members, trusted friends, or others around that can have a positive influence, bringing them into what’s happening in order to help can be very powerful. Clear expressions of love and support toward someone who is very sad and thinks they are worthless are very powerful medicine. No judgment and no blaming – just affirmation that the person is loved, wanted, and how can we help.

    3. If the cops must be called – if it seems a threat is imminent – tell them it is a mental health situation and ask for a specially trained mental health deputy to be on the scene as a first responder. If you think the person might be armed, let them know that too so they won’t be surprised when they get there.

    4. Talk to the depressed person about how hard it is for you to make the choice to get others involved. Stress to them that this is because you care for them and you are not sure they are in a good place to make this decision right now so you would like some additional help since you are (likely) not a mental health professional and out of your depth. You need more help, too, to know what to do.

    Nothing’s perfect but it does seem that doing all of these things can often steer people in the direction of at least getting or considering help, or getting them admitted to mental health care if that’s available.

    1. avatar Ed Schrade says:

      Elaine…..looks like they waited too long to get this guy help. He finally got his wish using lethal threat to police. Doubt that they were riding around saying ” gee lets go shoot somebody”. Hope body cam footage becomes public. It would be great if someone or more than one could be called in a situation like this that had mental health training in handling this type of situation.

      1. avatar Elaine D. says:

        @Ed

        Yea. Sounds like this had been going on a while and his friend just did not know what to do. This is common. Most people don’t know what to do.

        In my city you can request a mental health deputy. Of course you need to know you can do that, which most people don’t know. It’s one of those things that you probably would not know unless you had been through the process before, which is a shame.

        1. avatar SoBe says:

          Sad that his friends did not get a mental health expert (usually highly educated and trained) instead of the police (high school or GED and minimally trained) involved. They might have saved a life. Very, very sad. The word needs to get out that professional help is available. Not everything is a nail, just because…you know what I mean.

        2. avatar Elaine D. says:

          @SoBe

          I think that generally the only thing people might know about in terms of suicide resources is the hotlines. Let’s face it, for most people being faced with the prospect of someone they care about committing suicide is terrifying and traumatizing. And it’s not like your everyday average person has any idea about mental health resources unless you’ve used them for yourself or a family member before.

          I haven’t worked that much with the families of suicide survivors, but the ones I have worked with tend to tell me the same story: someone who is fully intent on succeeding with an attempt will often not tell anyone they are going to do it. It comes as a shock to all. Anyone who is telling other people is often open to some degree of intervention and help – they haven’t reached that final stage yet, so there is still some kind of window to intervene.

          That said, it’s very traumatizing to be the person on the receiving end of that phone call or declaration. It causes panic and anger, and reactions that come from that place, of which calling the cops is one if that’s all the person can think to do in that moment.

    2. avatar True freedom says:

      This ^^^^^ is part of the problem. Not the solution!

      Mental unstable person…= gone, and dispatched ethically and correctly. No more problems, person is now at peace and rest.

      If someone wants to end their lives just let them. Stop acting like your better than them just because you made a different choice! It’s the only true freedom we have and your trying to deny them that.

      It is more detrimental to others and society to fight the battle and wars that they bring daily than to just let them go.

      But that just MY opinion. I’m sure YOUR opinion is so much more politically correct or humane or decent that’s mine. Whatever makes you feel right😘

      1. avatar Elaine D. says:

        @True

        For your information, I work in mental health.

        You don’t want to help someone reaching out for help? Your choice,

        What I wrote is for those who do.

  13. avatar Arandom Dude says:

    Wow, I’m impressed! Only one person trotted out “play stupid games, win stupid prizes.”

  14. avatar Michael says:

    Calling the police for everything is getting to be as common and reflexive as calling for a pizza at five o’clock when you don’t feel like cooking. There are many 24 hour mental health/suicide prevention hotlines set up for people when they are upset. Calling the Police should be way down on the list. It’s only to be expected, though, if you call for a hammer, somebody’s gonna get nailed. -30-

    1. avatar TrueRedhat says:

      Who do you think those hotlines call?

  15. avatar DesertDave says:

    They need Zorg’s ZF1, that way they are covered for all contingencies! Should have used the net.

    1. avatar Texican says:

      That’s what I’m saying! Some enterprising business needs to come up with a net gun for situations like this.

    2. avatar Kapeltam says:

      Yes but what about the little red button on the bottom?

  16. avatar former water walker says:

    Gee willikers they gave Officer Van Dyke 2nd degree murder in Chiraq after shooting Laquan McDonald. Who had a knife. Mebbe these cops are just lazy…they didn’t automatically kill guy’s with knives years ago. Oh well…

  17. avatar Truth hurts says:

    It’s illegal to kill yourself, if you want to die just call 911 and say “I want to kill myself” the police will show up fast and kill you.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      Your life does belong to THE STATE and suicide is “Willful destruction of State Property”, punishable by death.

  18. avatar JOHN B THAYER says:

    Dunno? He wanted to die. Let him do it himself. End of problem. What would Jeff Cooper do?

  19. avatar Ralph says:

    What’s the point in having a badge and a gun if you can’t murder people?

  20. avatar Red in CO says:

    Ehh… im pretty quick to harshly condemn cops but at this point I think I’ll wait. But it sounds like the caller made a VERY bad decision. I mean, what kind of retard calls the cops in that situation? What did the caller even envision was the best case scenario? Freaking moron….

  21. avatar rt66paul says:

    He probably believes all the BS about LE being your friend and never doing anything to hurt good people.
    LE has a job to do and it may not work out happily ever after for everyone involved.

    Sometimes you just have to keep it to yourself.

  22. avatar Hannibal says:

    There are times when it is plausible to use a variety of less-lethal force options against a potentially suicidal suspect armed with a knife. There are also many times when it is not plausible. Hard to tell which this was. I’d say two things should be remembered:
    1) The police are not psychiatrists. If the police are involved, the failure happened long before they got there
    2) There should be a systematic review in policing of how to respond to potentially suicidal suspects who are not threatening others. If possible, from the time of call to arrival of officers should be thought out so that there are multiple officers that can contain or end the situation in an orderly fashion. With more than one- and ideally more than two- it is much more safe to try less-lethal force that may not work and still have someone who can use lethal force if necessary. But of course you just know that eventually someone would die because a ‘suicidal’ suspect would get tired of waiting and might just stab a passerby while the police are staging so that they don’t go in one by one… gotta include that in the equation.

  23. avatar Ark says:

    Everybody knows that you’re violating a suicidal person’s rights if you don’t allow them to stab you repeatedly.

  24. avatar Ralph says:

    What a field day for The Heat. They managed to kill this man and also shot dead Jemel Roberson, a law student working security at a bar who selflessly took down a gunman and then got his ass capped by a cop.

    Great job, po-po! Now everybody can hate you.

  25. avatar Warlocc says:

    Caller: Help, my friend is suicidal, he wants to die, we need help!

    Cops: We’re on it. One homi- uh, suicide, coming up!

  26. avatar Sprocket says:

    Police simply need to stop responding to calls about suicidal people. Their job is dealing with crime, not babysitting the mentally ill. All too often assholes like Mr. Jordan see the cops a means to do what they don’t have the fortitude to do themselves.

  27. avatar Wally1 says:

    It’s people like the caller who want other people to solve all there problems, that’s why they call the police. They watch cop shows and think there is always a pink unicorn with fairy dust solution that will make everything come out as they expect. A suicidal person with a knife, he did not kill himself before police arrived because he is a coward and wanted or forced the police to kill him. F’em, Police are not there to counsel you when you are armed. He refused to follow commands, drop the knife and moved toward the cops, Great outcome. One less dirtbag who will hurt someone else. This is what happens when you refuse to take responsibility for your behavior.

  28. avatar Vitsaus says:

    If doctor assisted suicide is legal, why can’t cop assisted suicide be? Their job is to serve after all.

  29. avatar james says:

    LTL shotgun rounds would have disabled him and he would be in mental hospital instead of six feet under and city facing lawsuits.
    911 call center should have had capability to patch the reporting caller direct to the on the scene lead officer.

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