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The internet is on fire following the release of the video of a deadly shooting outside a Carl’s Jr. in East LA. Armchair commandos, Canadian car guys, average Joes, military vets and law enforcement professionals have all had their say. Some agree with the actions of the Monterey Park PD, some think it could have been handled differently. I am not a lawyer. I only played one in college. But I would remind you that in most states a private citizen would be perfectly within their rights to shoot someone attacking them with a conduit bender, without the need to seek alternative methods to deescalate the situation. However, as a peace officer, I’m here to say that Law Enforcement Officials (LEOs) are bound by the use of force continuum. . .

The definitions from each of these sections are taken straight from the National Institute of Justice, and are verbatim what I was taught.

  • Officer Presence — No force is used. Considered the best way to resolve a situation. The mere presence of a law enforcement officer works to deter crime or diffuse a situation. Officers’ attitudes are professional and nonthreatening.
  • Verbalization — Force is not-physical. Officers issue calm, nonthreatening commands, such as “Let me see your identification and registration.” Officers may increase their volume and shorten commands in an attempt to gain compliance. Short commands might include “Stop,” or “Don’t move.”
  • Empty-Hand Control — Officers use bodily force to gain control of a situation. Soft technique. Officers use grabs, holds and joint locks to restrain an individual. Hard technique. Officers use punches and kicks to restrain an individual.
  • Less-Lethal Methods — Officers use less-lethal technologies to gain control of a situation. Blunt impact. Officers may use a baton or projectile to immobilize a combative person. Chemical. Officers may use chemical sprays or projectiles embedded with chemicals to restrain an individual (e.g., pepper spray). Conducted Energy Devices (CEDs). Officers may use CEDs to immobilize an individual. CEDs discharge a high-voltage, low-amperage jolt of electricity at a distance.
  • Lethal Force — Officers use lethal weapons to gain control of a situation. Should only be used if a suspect poses a serious threat to the officer or another individual. Officers use deadly weapons such as firearms to stop an individual’s actions.

This is the progression of force that dictates how a LEO should respond to any call, dictated by department policy. Ideally, you start with officer presence and work your way up from there, depending on the situation presented.

Let’s say, for example, that you’re dispatched to a call where a man is in a public area wielding a large blunt object in a threatening manner. The man sees that the cops have arrived, but he just doesn’t give a rat’s ass. Officer presence then goes out the window.

Now we can’t hear what the cops were saying in the video, but I would imagine at some point they utilized verbalization and ordered the man to stop what he was doing and drop his weapon. Obviously that didn’t work either.

At that point you have to adapt to the situation.

Empty hand control would be and should be skipped in this situation. Many have said he should have been “rushed” by the cops or the dog, assuming it’s a bite dog, which would have led to the use of empty hand techniques. In either of these situations there is a high probability that someone in law enforcement would be seriously injured. Blunt force trauma to the head is not what I would call a good time.

We then move along the continuum to less lethal methods.

Utilizing blunt impact (baton) would still leave you open for more unnecessary bodily harm as you would easily be in range of his weapon. You generally have to be pretty close to utilize chemical agents as well; they’re easily affected by environmental factors, such as wind or rain. I’ve seen firsthand that OC does not always affect people as adversely as it’s advertised. So we are left with our Conducted Energy Devices or Tasers.

Oft times Tasers are deployed too readily when other methods could have been used effectively. The Carl Jr shooting’s doesn’t appear to be one of those situations. The officer in the video used the device that would keep the assailant at the furthest distance and hopefully incapacitate him without the need for lethal force. When that didn’t work he attempted to holster his Taser—instead of dropping it and drawing his sidearm.

That’s when the assailant advanced on the officer and we find ourselves at the end of the continuum, lethal force.

The K9 officer fires five shots in order to protect his co-worker and, at least in my estimation, stops the threat. Whether the other officer just felt like he needed to get his shots in; there’s certainly a chance that he fell victim to what’s called “sympathetic fire.” Or there may have been a genuine reason for officer two to fire another five shots. That remains to be seen.

The long and the short of all this: the officer followed the use of force continuum. Lethal force was deployed as a last resort.

In my estimation, this was a justified shooting. The investigation will probably reflect that view. Not because cops are corrupt or the system is rigged, but because a man threatened serious bodily harm or death with a dangerous weapon. For LEOs and CC’ers that’s the gold standard of when we can use deadly force to defend our lives or others with a firearm.

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  1. “Whether the other officer just felt like he needed to get his shots in; there’s certainly a chance that he fell victim to what’s called “sympathetic fire.”

    Agreed, but I’m pretty sure the extra five didn’t make a difference. If lethal force is justified, it doesn’t matter if you use a 22 or a bazooka.

  2. “The long and the short of all this: the officer followed the use of force continuum. Lethal force was deployed as a last resort.”

    In any armchair quarterbacking I’ve done on this, that’s something I’ve generally recognized. The only issue I see though, is that, had the officers been trained better, and had they acted differently, they might not have needed to progress to lethal force.

    Now, I’ll freely admit that there’s a strong possibility that they would have ended up at lethal force regardless of what they did, it doesn’t change the fact that there are PLENTY of examples where the police have used lethal force when it was not called for at all.

    Too often, police throw the concept of de-escalation straight out the window, and demand that everyone under the sun respect their authoritah — others also brought up this condition whereby return traffic on the metaphorical street of respect has been cut off by self-styled “law enforcement” officers.

    Now, I’m not saying that ALL police are bad, nor are they all incompetent; What I AM saying, is that rather than spending 400,000 USD on a new MRAP, a better investment would be to spend those monies on better training for Peace Officers. It seems to be a continuing (and worsening) trend whereby ever newer, and more expensive, gadgets are coming to replace actual police work. In my area, it used to be common for police to carry their sidearm, and *maybe* have an issued 12 gauge shotgun in the car; Now, they’ve all got their sidearms, their tasers, an AR15 in their car, and a fully-kitted out SWAT team with an MRAP on call.

    TLDR: Train Peace Officers better instead of giving them fancy toys, and the likelihood of injury to them AND those they are arresting will go down.

    • These are comments typical of a non-law enforcement agent. While I couldn’t agree more that training is ABSOLUTELY more important than gear, the idea that somehow an officer should be denied a patrol rifle or a taser so that same money can be spent on “de-escalation” training is absurd. If the Columbines of the world haven’t gotten it through your LEO-hating head, police forces can no longer sit idly by on a cordon during violent incidents and wait for SWAT. We MUST have the capability to respond to active shooter situations immediately, as well as have decisive firepower to bring to an engagement if the situation dictates it. We have seen too-well what the philosophy of revolvers and shotguns has brought us. Oh and by the way, back in the “good ol’ days” that you long for, officers received WAY less training on virtually ALL subjects to include the use of force continuum. While I agree that some officers do rely on ECDs too much, I won’t bother defending the taser. If you can’t figure out on your own why the taser is the BEST piece of equipment for putting down a violent or actively resistant subject without injuring him or the officer, then you’re beyond my capabilities as an instructor. Law enforcement academy rejects turned cop-critics (like yourself) think that de-escalation and other pie in the sky concepts could answer any deadly-force scenario. If you walked a day in our shoes you would see that this is not the case. What, exactly, do you think we are? Gun-carrying maniacs itching for a kill? Do you think we ENJOY the prospect of taking a life? We do not. However sometimes the actions of evil human beings force that end upon us. Remember: those who pose a threat of serious bodily harm or death place COPS in that position, not the other way around. Furthermore the idea that a law enforcement officer/agent should then try to de-escalate when life and limb is on the line underscores an ideologically flawed and ethically corrupted mind. Tell me, when exactly do we draw a line and finally hold the bad guy responsible for his actions rather than the servant who places his ass on the line for you every day? Appeasing bad guys only gets you bolder, more dangerous and more numerous bad guys. You disgust me.

      • When trying to get a point across, it’s probably best not to offend someone by calling them a police academy reject. Your point is also not validated by the “you would understand if you were in our shoes” argument.

        I would probably say that officer need to train in more shoot/no-shoot scenarios. I don’t think anyone is arguing that the first 5 shots were unwarranted. The 2nd 5 shots were debatable. Remember, “civilians” (actually a misnomer, since LEOs are also civvies) want to see police officers be as professional as can be. That means stopping the threat when necessary, but also recognizing when the threat has stopped.

      • Hal,

        The self-righteous rage you are displaying is exactly the attitude that reflects poorly on all law enforcement.
        Please check yourself.
        If you can’t discuss touchy subjects with “LEO-hating” civis, without being “disgusted” with them, perhaps
        you should at least take a deep breath before venting.
        Lots of us try to respect cops if they act in a manner worthy of respect.

      • You, sir, have chosen to COMPLETELY miss the point of my post. You took bits and pieces, and then jumped to conclusions.

        For example, we seem to agree about gear:

        “I couldn’t agree more that training is ABSOLUTELY more important than gear”

        My point here was simply that there is NO NEED for a town the size of Reading, PA to buy a BRAND NEW 400,000 USD MRAP for their SWAT team.

        Now, you see the above, and think “well, he doesn’t think they need equipment at all” — Wrong. Do I have a problem with them getting a decent used armored truck from someone like Gaurda or Brinks? NO! But why spend 400,000 on BRAND NEW military hardware, when you could spend under 100,000 dollars on something second hand that is more than good enough? Remember that during the North Hollywood shootout the local PD commandeered an armored truck, and used it to good effect — there is simply no need for full-on military hardware when there is already purpose-built equipment that is more easily adaptable to be appropriate for their uses.

        “If the Columbines of the world haven’t gotten it through your LEO-hating head, police forces can no longer sit idly by on a cordon during violent incidents and wait for SWAT.”

        Wrong again, but for a different reason — look at all of the bad mass-murders; EVERY one that has occurred inside the continental U.S. has been inside a facility where the occupants were forbidden to possess “weapons” by virtue of legislative fiat. Lubys Cafeteria; Columbine; Virginia Tech. Get rid of those infringements of constitutionally guaranteed liberties, and the likelihood of there BEING such a standoff in the future goes down dramatically.

        As for my mention of de-escalation, my point is simply that too many police officers that I have seen turn immediately to trying to prove that they’re the biggest alpha male around; While this may work against beta males, it doesn’t always work against alpha males, especially those who are largely law-abiding, and have easily bruised egos. What I’m REALLY talking about, is the idea of approaching citizens and playing ‘Boy Scout’ (helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, cheerful, clean, reverent, etc.) at least until they prove that they just want to have a confrontation; they’re no need to be rude or to immediately jump to outright demands of compliance; Be police, be professional, and treat others as you would like to be treated — you’d be surprised how well it works in practice.

        • Nicely put, HSR.

          Hal, de-escalation applies to arguments on the internet as well. If you can’t reign in the alpha-male impulse in response to a perceived slight by an anonymous blog commentator, how are you ever going to end a confrontation in real life without resorting to gunfire?

      • You could not have said it better. After 8 Years in the Marines, 3 war tours, 2 years in corrections and now on the streets, the MAJORITY are those who have never been in fear of their lives yet rather enjoy the blanket of freedom from fear that we provide. If you have not been in a war or been in another persons shoes, please do not try to speak as if you have earned the right to even have an opinion. Go pick up a rifle and spend sometime overseas and you will know the meaning of fear.

  3. FWIW, the shooter may not have realized he did more than double-tap.

    We had an incident a couple of years ago here where some inmates escaped from the local prison, killing a guard in the process and taking the weapons from two others, then kidnapped a lady (who goes to church with me) at a local bank drive-through. One of the officers who responded also goes to church with me, and later they both shared their experiences.

    His awareness of the number of shots he fired and the amount of time he was taking to engage in different tasks was distorted. He ran his magazine empty – if I recall correctly – thinking he’d only fired four or five rounds. His perception of the time it took later in the running gunfight to go to the back of his car to get and load his AR15 was on the order of minutes. On the tape it took 7 seconds.

    In another case an officer in another town did a traffic stop where the driver came out with a handgun after the officer had exited his vehicle. The officer was ex-Special Forces, and emptied his magazine into the driver’s chest because his SF training over-rode his LE training at the point of the crisis.

    I would suspect this officer, thinking his buddies life was in danger, thought he double-tapped the guy, then saw him move and went to double-tap him again. He may be as astounded as anyone that he put five and five in the suspect.

    But the armchair commandos don’t know this.

    • But the armchair commandos don’t know this.

      I know this — the officers involved in this shooting weren’t being fired on and the dead guy didn’t have a gun. So excuse me all to hell, but under those circumstances a cop damn well better know how many rounds he’s firing.

      • Most post shooting studies show that officers and citizens alike cannot recall the number of shots fired. So I would say it is unrealistic and pointless to ask someone post shooting how many rounds they fired.

        Present a lethal threat to a fellow citizen or officer and expect lethal force. Too bad so sad.

      • Ralph, I agree that’s the story. And if cop #1 posted at the door hadn’t completely zoned out, cop #2 would have had no colorable excuse to fire a single shot. Now people are trying to justify ten to center mass. On a call-out like this one of the cops should have had a LL shotgun. But, brother Ralph, we’ve made the LL’s litigation bait, so it’s straight from pepper/taser to 10 center mass.

        • Litigation has a way of discouraging bad behavior. It seems that the Town Fathers don’t like paying out huge judgments — and the Town Mothers aren’t too happy about their tax money going bye-bye.

          Who knows what’s going to happen in this case. If the video is all there is, then I don’t think that the city has a lot of exposure.

      • Ralph!
        Have you ever had your life in Jeopardy? I have survived IED’s overseas, Rpg’s machine gun fire and have even take 3 7.62’s to the CHEST! How many rounds did I fire? NOT A DAME CLUE! How many did I have left over?? NONE! When the fight was over? I was issued 4,000 ROUNDS! And they were all gone! If you haven’t been shot at! Or had your life threatened then SHUT YOUR MOUTH!

  4. It looked good from what I saw too. For all the folks thinking the officers should have given the suspect space: What if the suspect took off and started hacking up citizens? The officers have to apprehend someone in this instance. Letting the suspect walk/run away and leaving the public at risk is not an option. When we say de-escalation and training what are we suggesting? The mere presence of officers on scene appears to have escalated the actions of the suspect.

    • If the presence of officers escalated the situation then the deceased made a series of bad decisions. What is there at Carl’s Jr to become incensed enough about to require police intervention in the first place?

      De-escalation would probably come down to getting the BG to drop the weapon he was holding so that the police officers could holster their weapons. Yes, you can still kill people bare-handed, but it takes longer and requires more effort.

      Your point about letting someone being violent with a weapon get away is very cogent. It is the job of the police to stop things like this. Private citizens, not so much. I see from commenters here on occasion that we have a responsibility to hunt down goblins or chase people from crime scenes, this is properly the job of the police. They have the comms net, layers of backup, dogs, etc. Let them handle it.

  5. I know that a lot of attention has been focused on the last five shots fired, but they may have been irrelevant if the BG was already dead from the first five. So, my first question is whether the first five were justified. Frankly, the video doesn’t answer that question, so it’s the cops word against the dead guy’s, and the dead guy ain’t talking.

    Now, if the BG took five center mass and was writhing around on the ground and moaning for his mama, or even if he was struggling to arise, then putting five more into him was not merely excessive, it was homicide without any justification. So cops #2’s best defense is to insist that the BG was already dead and that he fired reflexively.

    None of this matters, of course, because prosecuting a cop for a heat-of-the-moment shooting just isn’t going to happen.

    • “So, my first question is whether the first five were justified. Frankly, the video doesn’t answer that question, so it’s the cops word against the dead guy’s, and the dead guy ain’t talking.”

      Did we watch the same video? The BG turned and wound up like he was going to take the cop’s head off. Clearly justified.

      • Well, why didn’t you say so?

        Hey, guys, please disregard everything I wrote. Jason said it was obvious.

        I have a suggestion. Let’s get rid of all those pesky investigations, hearings, trials and such, and just let Jason make the call from now on.

      • I viewed the video my home excessively large screen. The perp didn’t ‘wind up.’ He just turned around and his hand holding the tool was at waist height. The cop’s got a baton and three buddies and a german shephard. What was the dog for. Oh, the dog might get hurt, so shoot the bastard, eh? Note, there were lots of witnesses, a tape, and two restaurant employees stage left. This is not going to be a simple case. Even the reporter of the case stated that no swing of the pipe/tool was apparent.

  6. I dunno. I’ve seen the vid. Yes he was a crazed individual, threatening them with a heavy object. The world at large will not mourn his loss.

    However, to me it looked like the cops took the easy way out. I have been in a similar situation, attacked by an individual swinging a spade. I was able to step in and grab it away from my attacker, who then produced a bat, which I similarly took from him. That was the only instance in my adult life where I wasn’t able to talk down or remove myself from the situation. I have some basic self defence training but much less than I would expect competent law enforcement to have.

    From my internet quarter-back perspective, it should have been relatively easy to disarm and subdue the individual without significant injury or death. I believe that precedent would be far preferable than having cops resort to shooting before attempting physical restraint.

    The standard for shooting is being set too low.

  7. As much as I think the use of force was justified on this buffoon, I think better training for the cops would have allowed them to deal with the situation without resulting in the loss of life.

    • This is a common hypothetical when the police shoot somebody. I appreciate the sentiment, but none of us were there and we have no idea of the training or capabilities of the people involved. The pepper sprayer could have been the Use Of Force trainer for Monterey Park PD for all we know, or it could have been the K9 guy. If you don’t KNOW their level of training then speculating that SOMETHING could have been done differently is purely speculation. Do we know the percentage of success of various disarm techniques other than gunfire? If there was a 99% chance that Secret Ninja Disarm Technique #14 or the Bat De-Pipebender Tool would successfully disarm the BG and a 1% chance that a PO ends up with a split skull, is that acceptable? How about if it was a 10% or 20% chance that a PO gets to meet a neurosurgeon? Since we don’t know what we don’t know in this situation, speculation is just an utter waste of time.

      On the contrary, the simple fact is that when you make a credible threat of lethal violence to someone else, you place yourself at jeopardy of being killed. I don’t think any of us (with the exception of MikeB) would be disapproving of an armed civilian responding with lethal force after leaving the restaurant to de-escalate the situation only to be chased by an armed man into the parking lot to continue the fight. Ten shots? My carry gun wouldn’t even be empty, and I doubt the K-9 guy even knows he fired that many, as has been stated here by others. Protect yourself and your fellow officers is the rule. If said goblin had come after my family, I would have ten out the barrel before he could hit the ground. It’s less about shooting and more about stopping the threat with the tool in your hand.

  8. I must see a different video. What I saw was a scene with at least four LEO’s present. Cop #1 posts by the door and sprays the suspected perp who exits. Cop #1 does exactly the wrong thing. Rather than immediately backing away from the spray, he looks prepared to spray again. Cop #2 is the K9 and shooter. He had two others behind him, who would be expected to move up. As the perp turns on cop #1, who should have been retreating given the backup he had, cop #2 shoots five and five. Query: Why didn’t cop #1 drop his spray and draw into a two-handed grip? If he thought pepper was still the thing, why did cop #2 think ten bullets was the solution? I strenuously object to the entirely military practice of five-and-five being used stateside. We’ve seen this entire doctrine of “if you get two you get five” spread. If the perp had a gun out I could understand. You can’t back away from a gun. That was not the case here.

    • I tried to edit the above. Too late. In the days of LEO revolvers, three was enough. If a guy with a piece of hardware is going to get ten and dead, they might as well bring a shotgun out immediately and just knee-cap the guy. Life is becoming cheap on both sides of the badge, it seems, and the benefits of a multi-cop response are being lost, as they were in Salt Lake last month, in NYC the month before.

    • The problem is the use of 9mm. Had the K-9 cop been using 45 ACP the guy would have been down and out in less than five rounds. He could not have gotten up off the ground even if he were still breathing. Perhaps one round would not have stopped him but two or three 45 rounds delivered to the center mass will take anyone down.

      Back when I was a kid in Chicago in the 1950’s and 60’s the typical cop had military experience and backed up his 38 service revolver with a Colt M1911. Guess which one was used more often when it came to the use of lethal force.

        • And for all we know, the tenth killed the guy. But I agree with you, I think: With four cops, each with pepper, club, and pistol, and a K9 to distract the guy, there does not seem a need for lethal force. We pay and arm police so that they can respond with multiple personnel and preserve life when their own is not in immediate danger. We don’t pay them so that one guy can spray or tase the perp, and then walk toward him while staring down….therefore making himself such a target of a guy he just sprayed that the other LEO’s feel they have to shoot the guy to pieces. This will go to civil court if he has any living relatives. Cop #1? He should be sent back to the academy, at best.

        • So what would you propose these officers do in this case? You have exactly 5 seconds to figure it out, but a lifetime for hindsight.

      • Bad guys and good guys have taken multiple hits from rifles and just about every other imaginable weapon and kept on coming. Read about Roy Benavidez and what he went through in Viet Nam, where he earned the Medal of Honor. The human body is truly miraculous. The thing is, you can shoot a guy right through the heart and he can remain a lethal threat for many, many seconds. He just doesn’t know that he’s dead yet. Adrenalin, drugs, state of mind, physical condition are all variables that influence a give situation. Short of blowing the guy to smithereens, a shot that severs the spine or a good shot to the medula oblongata, don’t bet on a couple of rounds from your .45 ACP taking anyone out for sure, center mass or not.

        • You know, I have shot quite a few deer. That’s a man sized animal. All but a few dropped where they were shot. Almost all the rest dropped within 300 yards. The only ones I had to run down were ones I didn’t hit where I should have.

          The heroes you describe are the exception not the rule.

        • Pistols also lack the velocity and therefore the “shock” inflicted by rifle rounds. Single shots from a pistol may ultimately kill, but typically it is not instantaneously.

        • ALMOST ALL of the rest dropped WITHIN 300 hundred yards, eh? About how many went PAST 300 yards? And how long did that take then, from bullet impact to the time the animal finally went down? Thank you for making my point perfectly.

          Heroes or villains, it doesn’t matter; the human body is amazingly resilient. May you never meet the exception to the rule.

        • Greg, I agree that one or two shots (or clubbings) might not take someone down. However, this is the opposite situation of MSgt. Benevidez: He was surrounded by NVA, bravely joining and leading the rescue of surviving members of a surrounded recon team. Our police shooting involves four LEO’s surrounding one perp armed with a pipe or tool. Most LEO’s make an effort to back off and work out a non-lethal take down when there is virtually no chance of the perp’s excape, as here. One on one is a different story, no?

        • My comments to tdiinva have nothing to do with the video or whether the cops were right or wrong. tdiinva at 4:29 made a statement that I thought to be foolish “advice” in regards to 9mm vs. .45 and the whole woulda/shoulda/coulda thing. If anyone thinks that their particular wondergun is a sure fight stopper, they may well be in for the final surprise of their life if they ever find themselves having to use it to defend themselves. Have a plan, and a backup plan, and a backup plan after that one. Take nothing for granted, expect things to go very wrong and you might just come out of it alright, then again, maybe not.

        • Also, I used the example of Benavidez to illustrate what a strong, motivated individual with the will to survive can take before you can count him down and out. The MSgt. took multiple fragmentation wounds, a couple of rifle bullet wounds, a couple of bayonet wounds, over the course of SIX and ONE HALF HOURS, and still had the presence of mind to tend to the wounded, establish a defense, pass out ammo, command the remaining troops, secure classified documents and coordinate and defend the evacuation: all of that in an unimaginably chaotic and frightening set of circumstances; and surviving to tell the tale. We should all pray to God that we never have to come up against such an individual in a life or death situation unless that individual is on your side.

          When I hear someone say something as foolish as; “The problem is the use of 9mm. Had the K-9 cop been using 45 ACP the guy would have been down and out in less than five rounds. “, it just really gets my fur up at the sheer naivete of such a statement and all I can do is shake my head in sad wonder.

          Yes, a Benavidez is an exception to the rule. Life is full of exceptions to the rule. As I said before, may you never face the exception to the rule.

  9. Let’s see what a jury in the civil lawsuit says. The hooded guy must have somebody that will try to cash in on this and show the video to a jury. My first reaction was surprise that they started shooting him. If 12 people think the bullets were an over reaction then a very large check is going to be cut. Especially if the dead guy doesn’t have a record and suffered from some condition. This has 1-800-Sue-Them written all over it.

  10. Based of the physiological effects of combat on the human body it’s quit possible that the K9 LEO had no idea how many rounds he fired and the second LEO did not hear or see the first shots fired.

    • The K9 officer fired all of the shots, and he moved toward the perp as he unloaded the second five. Notice, also, that cop #1, the pepper-spray guy, was moving TOWARD the perp while looking down to screw around with his pepper spray holster. As for “physiological” justification for the second string of fire, that’s lack of training. I know trigger restraint in war, because we had to use it. An LEO backed up by three others had better be able to fire three while backing up, and stop shooting, if there is not gun in the perp’s hand.

      • Just keep in mind that this is quite possibly the first experiences these LEOs had with a lethal force encounter…and yes, LEO training in many departments is lacking. I’ve been in a very similar situation, but was lucky enough that I had the distance and time (and backup) to de-escalate the situation.

        • You’re right. “Inexperience is a woeful thing.” Did it shock anyone else here that the cop by the door with the pepper (or taser, we’ll see) kept moving toward the perp while looking down at his duty belt. That got to me. Never seen such a thing.

  11. I agree that the bar is being set too low for the use of deadly force by law enforcement. With that many LEOs present, shooting was not absolutely necessary.

    • Deadly weapon? Check.

      Orders to drop the weapon capable of death or serious bodily injury? I would bet my paycheck on it.

      Attempts to de-escalate with less – lethals? Check.

      Aggressive movement towards a peace officer with the immediate ability to cause death or serious bodily injury? Check.

      Response: lethal force shooting.

      Am I shocked? No.

      Your DGU may come just as fast.

      • I’m a supporter of the local FOP and have reason to interact with them. I’d never expect this sort of tactical fail. I’ve put the video up on my big screen and run the volume through the stereo. At the point the second five were fired the perp had turned away and was falling toward screen-left. He was no longer approaching as a threat. The sound track is quite clear and there are no audible voice commands. Indeed, there wasn’t time to command or respond between the perp’s turn toward pepper-cop and the first shot. Actually, the perp never ‘raised’ the tool, but turned with it at waist level, for what that’s worth. From a ‘perception of threat’ point of view, the argument against is that the pepper-cop, looking down, keeps moving toward the perp. He appears to get within five feet. After the pause before the second string of fire by K9, the perp is falling away, back to the LEO’s, and both pepper and K9 officers appear to be at least 10 feet from the alleged perp. Non-cops are not permitted to pull a gun as an argument escalates if they have opportunity and intent to escape the conflict. LEO’s are not allowed to shoot out of anger. If I were the department reviewer, I’d be on the pepper-cop’s case hard. If he hadn’t kept moving closer while looking down (which was bizarre and showed no fear of the perp, re any court case)…then the K9 cop would have had no reason to shoot before warning. If there were no pause and no distance and no falling to the left perp, there might be some justification to start shooting again. I think I’ll follow this case to its conclusion.

        Note: I don’t think I disagree with the general rules of response. I think we disagree on what the video frames show. I found a big screen and home sound system made things much clearer. I enjoyed your differing points of view, USMCMac, Accur81, and Caffeinated.

        • My question is how are these officers trained. I have worked with trainers who favor a standard two shot response all the way to shoot them to the ground. Also, my training has told me that once engaged, it will take at least 1-2 seconds to disengage from new stimulus.

          Watching the video, you can’t tell if the suspect is trying to get up and approach after the first volley and it is definitely within 2 seconds from the first five shots.

        • On my screen it looked like the perp was going down bent over stage-left. I think the “shooting them all the way down” bit is strictly combat. Kyle Defor teaches that sort of thing, as do many other ex soccom types. If they used that tactic in my county on a guy with no gun they’d be toast. But this guy didn’t have a gun. He hadn’t assaulted anyone. The cops were called to the restaurant because the guy was breaking windows, vandalism, for god’s sake. Did people read that bit? The police in their statement claimed the guy took two swings at them. The video never shows his pipe hand coming above his waist, and no swings.

        • He’s already demonstrated he is willing to use the pipe bender. LEOs are not going to wait for him to strike someone before trying to subdue him. At the point he struck the glass, it would make sense to arrest him for criminal mischief (or the CA equivalent). The first step to that is disarming him. He is holding a weapon that could potentially kill or severely maim with a single strike. The officers really didn’t need to extend him the courtesy of less lethal at this point. They did so at their own peril. Note the lethal cover while deploying OC and ECD.

          I would say trying to apprehend an armed suspect can easily turn to combat. Many LEO trainers teach shooting to the ground. If you are justified with use of deadly force, then there should be little question in your mind that it will likely cause death. The only true guarantee of stopping the threat is to actually kill the threat. I’ve been taught both controlled pair, Mozambique, as well as shooting to the ground depending on the trainer.

          The lesson here is don’t present a lethal threat to your fellow citizens unless justified.

  12. This is Hal. While I still get the impression that I am discussing this with a largely anti-law enforcement crowd, I would like to address a few things. The first of which is the content of my last post. I would like to apologize and I agree that my anger was an overreaction. Some of the content of HSR47’s post had me seeing red and I should have measured my response. In failing to do so, it allowed others to write me off as an ego-crazed alpha-male. A cop-out (no pun intended), but I brought it on myself. As such, I am sorry.
    However, if we were to remove the slander and the emotional aspect of my post, I still firmly stand by its content. Gear does not replace training, but some gear has become more necessary over time based on our operating environment. Additionally while my poor conduct during my last post would not illustrate this point, I agree with HSR47 that a law enforcement officers must be one part diplomat, among many other things. I have ridden the use of force continuum up and down like a roller coaster, and my actions are ALWAYS a response to what I am given by the bad guy/would-be-bad guy. As such, I would not be surprised at all that diplomacy works… because it has worked for me many times and HSR47 is correct.
    However, the growing idea/sentiment of appeasement is very real and very troubling. Many of us on here are probably familiar with Dave Grossman’s “Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs” analogy. Unfortunately I am forced to agree that humanity’s diverse nature ensures that it is not always that simple. There are definitely hybridizations of all three classes to include wolves in sheepdog’s clothing. Bad cops are out there and it only takes the misconduct of 1% to turn the population against us. As such it has become quite fashionable to convict a LEO in the court of public opinion before any actual inquiry has been completed. However I still affirm that sometimes there are no easy answers to some use of force encounters. I can be a black belt at verbal judo… but some situations go from 0-100 with absolutely no ability to deescalate. In those scenarios a measured, appropriate amount of violence is the only thing that brings us home safely at night.
    I will not debate the merit of the second five shots, as this video was shot through a rain spattered window within a car, partially obstructed with muddy audio of the event. Honestly, from a UOF perspective that could go either way. However, if you cock back with a pipe to hit a LEO… that’s pretty cut and dry.
    On a separate and final note, I still agree that LEOs need to respond to active shooter situations immediately to stop the threat. I shudder to think how much worse Fort Hood could have been if that female officer hadn’t taken him down. However, I am in complete agreement with HSR47 that there shouldn’t BE such a thing as a “gun-free zone.” If I gave that impression at all (which I don’t think I did) I certainly didn’t intend to. A true LEO is a guardian of civil rights, and none is more important the second amendment.
    So my bad. Are we all good? Everyone has a bad day now and again, right? Fist Bump?
    P.S. I couldn’t agree more that the MRAP is overkill. Although some armored cars actually have no true ballistic stopping ability so departments do have slightly less options than you might think. But an MRAP? In Reading (I’m from PA myself)? Please.


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