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Capitol Police Officer Crystal Griner (above right) is a hero. One hundred percent. She stepped up and took on an active shooter. She did her job, prevented loss of life and helped end the threat. (Four police officers engaged in the gun battle against SKS-wielding left-wing Fruit Loop James Hodgkinson. We don’t know which officer or officers delivered the fatal rounds.) Ms. Griner’s courage — taking on a rifle-wielding madman with her pistol — is an example to us all.

There’s always something to learn from any shooting incident reported in great detail. In this case, The Washington Post reports:

Congressmen said the Capitol Police officers emerged from the dugout, moving toward the gunfire. A woman walking her dog said she heard a female officer scream, “Drop your weapon,” before the gunman “shot her and she fell to the ground.”

I mention this not to criticize or second-guess Ms. Griner. Cops are trained to try to end violent situations peacefully (especially post-Ferguson). But you are not a cop, and you may someday find yourself in a situation where you’re ready to counter-attack a perp posing an imminent, credible threat of grievous bodily harm or death to yourself and/or other innocent life.

If you know for sure that you’re looking at a bad guy, and that bad guy has a weapon at the ready, you may not want to issue a verbal warning before opening fire. Remember: action beats reaction. Depending on distance and weapon, a bad guy can turn and shoot/stab/club you in less time that it take you to recognize the coming attack and squeeze the trigger. True story.

Legally speaking, don’t forget the word “imminent.” The bad guy should be in the process of posing a grievous/lethal threat. Fleeing felon rule of not, if  the bad guy isn’t posing an imminent threat — say he’s running out the door after a robbery — you’re on shaky legal ground if you shoot him. And a verbal threat repeated by witnesses is an excellent part of your justification for letting loose the ballistic dogs of war. Provided, of course, you’re alive to make it.

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    • I always thought Suarez’s summary of an active shooter response was blunt but accurate:

      You need to be fully prepared to sneak up behind another human being and shoot them in the back of the head from 15 yards away without saying a word. No verbal engagement, no opportunity for a disarm, you need to be ready to come up behind them and blow their teeth across the room. (or something to that affect)

  1. We expect different things from cops as we do from citizens. If a crew of pistol armed potg, non cops, had swarmed out of that dugout and split we would not have been overly critical. After all, we carry to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

    From the cops we expect different. Which is why I’m willing to cut them some slack when they don’t get it perfect.

    • Not to mention that her whole career can boil down into those few seconds. I understand the desire to do a show of force and get a perp to back down without further incident as a cop.

      As for civilian me, if I see the threat, I’ve heard the prior shots, and I am unable to get to safety / or the shooter is still active, I respond with immediate lethal force.

      If I have time to issue a warning, then it may not have been an imminent threat. Or so a crafty prosecutor might say.

      • Then you could be facing jail time yourself for shooting a fellow armed citizen responding to a deadly threat. From your words… you just stated that you would shoot someone just because you saw them with a gun. Heard shots… saw gun… shot said gunholder… turns out it was a father defending his child.

      • Jim Cirillo of the Stakeout Squad in NYC (cops who hid themselves in business premises and then waited for a robber to do his thing) was taken to task by his commander for his procedures. He was asked, “Did any of you give a verbal warning?” Cirillo replied, “Probably, but I couldn’t hear it over all the gunfire.” His boss had constant heartburn, and the squad was dismantled after a political decision that they were taking out too many criminals, and were regarded as executioners. In fact, they gave every robber the choice over whether to shoot it out, and they all chose to fire first. Cirillo was a favored member as he had no qualms about killing criminals in the act of armed robbery, and on his first day on the job, he shot three criminals in three seconds. No politician has the balls to approve of these tactics these days. Criminals are regarded as having rights, which is a privilege they do not extend to their victims.

  2. I don’t disagree but the lowlife shooter was ALREADY shooting. God bless her and the others…

  3. Yea, once the shooting starts I’m not giving any warnings. Before, maybe.

  4. I’m sure that she shouted commands because that is how she trained for years. In a stressful situation, you’ll fall back on that training, good or bad.
    Outstanding job officer Griner. An exceptional example.

    • You’re right. Humans do not rise to occasion. We fall to our level of training. Or below.

    • I think she’s an incredible warrior and did great.

      I believe she just fell back to her training as for the verbal command.

    • By shouting a verbal command, she also redirected the shooters attention off of the unarmed and put it on herself. This is real courage.

      • He probably couldn’t hear her. I’d rather get his attention off the other victims with something slightly above the speed of sound and a lot harder hitting.
        She might have hoped he actually would drop the gun and surrender.

  5. If an identified (or even potential) bad guy points a gun towards me or I determine he is actively shooting innocents, I’m lighting him up. No words, just pew! pew! pew!

  6. ? would not (or why the hell not) Capital Cops, on duty, in a personal protection role: carry a trauma kit, something more potent/useful than a handgun (as the ole Uzi in the briefcase), a radio with local PD channel, body armor to level ______? They are on duty not playing/watching kid games. I’m going go out on a limb and bet NO to most of that. It was a morning lark/easy duty, see also the Secret Service at play/”work”.

    As Patton noted, “No dumb bastard ever won a war by going out and dying for his country. He won it by making some other dumb bastard die for his country.”

    • Uzi in a briefcase? Dude in reality police aren’t like they are on TV. They’re lucky if they have a proper amount of ammo and working radios. Police don’t carry IFAKs because they’re not issued them. Though I assume some buy and carry their own. They’re also not issued plates. Everyone at this ball game is lucky that these two officers were even there to begin with, or we’d be talking about a massacre of 21 republican statesmen.

      • Though a trauma kit is a pretty reasonable thing to add to a bodyguard’s kit. Better than improvising with a belt.

    • The public doesn’t like to see police walking around with long guns as though it were normal- and they shouldn’t like it, because America should not be a place where this kind of thing is routine. If the immediate situation doesn’t involve a gunfight, a pistol and soft body armor ought to be enough. The only other reason to walk around in military level equipment is to intimidate people, and that is another thing that doesn’t belong in America.

      I say this with an AR10 for a patrol rifle, an external carrier with plates, spare rifle mags, and trauma kit, sitting in the front seat next to my helmet. A folding stretcher, ram, halligan, and larger trauma kit are in the trunk. All brought from home, because the department won’t pay for it. All that stuff comes out when it is needed, and put back as soon as it’s not.

      • If these cops / bodyguards didn’t have rifles etc. in their Suburban (that they were sitting in), hopefully they will soon. Just seems like a good idea.

    • Assuming this was the uniformed capitol police, they are basically like normal cops. They might have had gear like plates or medical stuff in a vehicle, or maybe not. Since they were on the field it wouldn’t have been at hand.

      I’m sure they had radio communication with DC metro police. The cavalry arrived very soon, soon enough that having a med kit probably wouldn’t have made a difference.

    • Maybe they shouldn’t have been sitting in their air conditioned black Suburban, and instead out surveilling for potential threats. I’ve got a feeling that their hero status will be the only thing keeping them out of the unemployment line, and (maybe) negative paper out of their personnel files.

  7. Count me out of the good on her column. The security detail lost a 2 on 1 shoot out for crying out loud! Listen to the audio and the return fire. Based on audio it would seem the security detail ran to gunfire exposed like idiots. She is acting as PPS, she should know that a warning was not required in that situation. Guy already has gun out and has shot people, fkn shoot him! It is only due to the shooter’s incompetence that the incompetence of the PPS detail didn’t get more people shot or killed. Shame on the legislators too. This ” I carry back in Ga” bs is a joke. They were in Va where they could carry, not counting that no Capitol Police officer is going to torch their career by trying to arrest a sitting legislator carrying in DC. This higher class simply are reliant on others to do for them and thought security to be no different. I would have been carrying were I a legislator, whether in DC or damn NYC.

    • So, what, you would rather they didn’t run to the threat? Better to run away? Shelter in place? Dig a hasty fighting position and wait for air support? They’re not a QRF platoon, they’re not the Secret Service presidential detail, and while giving a verbal warning might not be the best tactic, they didn’t lose, either. Shooter is dead. Everybody else is not.

      • Nothing about being a bad ass on my part. I didn’t say I would have even done better. I merely pointed out some mistakes. I don’t laud “courage” that results in poor performance. How the hell does a pps detail let someone past them on the infield carrying a rifle? Were they doing their job, they would have interceoted him prior to any shooting. Of course I expect them to run to the gun fire, but use cover perhaps? Was it not stated he was shooting from 3rd base (sans cover) when he shot the gentleman fron La? So some how these two couldn’t use cover and eliminate someone who wasn’t?
        Listen the audio people! This guy shot mostly unmolested with little return fire til Alexandria pd showed up and shot him. It was a sks, it wasn’t like he didn’t reload because he was using a beta drum. I guess everyone that gets shot is a hero around here, no matter the negligence.

        • everything is sooo clear to you from your magic vantage point. too bad you weren’t there to impart your wisdom to the police at the time of the shooting.

    • Looks like we got a certified internet badass here that would’ve taken the bad guy out with one shot to the head 100 yards out with a handgun.

      • Hey, we’ve got a cop in Austin did that, except at 103 yards with one shot to the chest. Compensating for those deficiencies, he was holding the reins of 2 horses while he did it. In the middle of downtown!

    • Where, oh where, would we be without Internet Tough Guys and Monday morning quarterbacks to tell us how things should have been done when the bullets were actually flying and how they would have done a much better job if only they had actually been there…

    • yeah, bro, I know, right?! I always carry a Desert Eagle .50 AE in my jockstrap when I’m playing baseball…

      • Nice try at exaggeration with the desert eagle comment. They still could have carried something or had arms in their bag in the dugout. I guess that also excuses the fact that the pps detail let him walk onto the infield with a rifle and shoot multiple people before they did shit. All of you talk shit, but refute none of the errors I pointed out. They failed at their job in the first place by allowing someone with a sks walk onto the field. That observation is above and beyond any tacticool woulda shoulda talk. They failed job one which allowed the shooting to happen in the first place. Were it not for the insane inaccuracy of the shooter, far more people would now be in the hospital or morgue. Alexandria pd saved the day. The pps at best kept him at bay until Alexandria pd arrived. I swear some of you are not capable of critical and independent thoughts.

        • Yo, smartass! Where are you planning for those guns to be when they then drive into DC to do their jobs? That’s ILLEGAL, you know!

  8. If a shooter is shooting… verbal commands.

    I do imagine she fell back on training.

  9. As many have said, she is a brave woman but she should have shot without giving a warning. Might have prevented her being shot. Also, do we really want to bother with a trial and jail? The perp died, but I’d just as soon save the taxpayers money.

  10. Don’t know if the verbal warning was useful. Maybe she wanted to distract him long enough to take a shot or clear the line of fire. I dunno, and not gonna armchair quarterback.

    But, of course, the idea of the article is correct: IF you know he’s a bad guy and know that he’s an imminent threat, not only is a verbal warning legally unnecessary but it’s almost always a terrible idea. Particularly if he’s shooting. But there’s a lot of IFs and IF you’re wrong, you might have just killed the wrong guy.

    (note: the “fleeing felon” rule was invalidated by the Supreme Court decades ago as it relates to deadly force. You cannot shoot a fleeing felon just for that)

  11. I’ve taken multiple self defense courses from some of the big names. Several of them train that you should give a practiced verbal command before engaging, in part to help establish your innocence to witnesses. Andy Stanford’s advice was the funniest – he said you should have a pre-programmed phrase to say, so you didn’t inadvertently ad lib something like, “Die Motherfucker,” when pressing the trigger.

    • “die muthafucka” is probably exactly what the other cops yelled as they ventilated the Bernie-nuthugger after Griner was shot!

  12. This Officer did an excellent job, and displayed great courage. I fully expect internet commandos to show up, or in the case of More Dead Soldiers, disappear.

    Would I have shot first and asked questions later? Probably. Sometimes some sound tactics go away when the shooting starts or the fists start flying. I’ve been there, and I’ve made my mistakes, too.

    Thank God some good guys with guns were present, or the Bernie-supprting psycho would have done a lot more damage.

    Good article, by the way. I’ve criticized TTAG in the past regarding their tactical advice, but this article is legit.

  13. Sounds like a punch of TV analyst. Armchair quarterbacking a very brave act by 2 police officers involved in most likely their first shots fired situation. Until you’ve been there it’s all just bloviating.

    • I don’t like the term “armchair quarterbacking”. The analogy suggests that we will never be involved in a DGU such as we will never take a snap in the NFL.
      I think it is beneficial to critique every gunfight and useless to shut down discussion just because the results were favorable.
      It seems like everyone that offers another tactic than those used in the real situation are attacked and called names. “Operator”, “Internet bad ass”, “George Zimmerman”, to name a few. They are told that they wouldn’t be able to carry out their plan under heat of a gun battle. True…or not. But the same thing holds true for everyone saying “I would do it just like she did”.
      Besides, it’s a lot more fun figuring out the best course of action in hindsight than it is when you’re taking live fire.

  14. Hmm, was she behind any cover when yelling commands? Was she trying to distract the shooter? Could she have stayed silent and then flank the shooter from his blind side? Debrief pls.

  15. She is no HERO, she was doing her job as a cop. She became a cop on her own, she was not forced to become a cop. SHE IS NO HERO

    • Darkwing Duck, we can debate whether or not she’s a hero. 1a and all that. But there is no debate regarding you.

      You’ve made it quite clear what you are. And hero don’t enter into it.

    • Very few people have what it takes to be a police officer. Whether or not you consider them or her heroes is irrelevant. Just be glad there are people willing to put their lives on the line for all of us. As a Paramedic, people often tell me that they couldn’t do my job. I tell them that I couldn’t do their job either. We are all meant for something different, a select few of us just happen to be destined for public safety careers. It’s in our psyche. To me it’s just a job I do well, othes see us as something else entirely.

  16. In hindsight lessons need to be learned. 1. Guard the perimeter. A man carrying a rifle should never get onto the playing field. 2. Verbal commands to an active shooter gets you shot. 3. Keep a force in reserve. All the police rushed the shooter. What if there were two shooters and the first shooter was the diversion and “herder” to get the victims in a group?

    • Are you for real? Who are you General Rommel?
      ” Keep a force in reserve.”
      “What if there were two shooters”

      You forgot if the bad guys dropped airborne troops in rear areas.

  17. These comments are better than the article.

    The security detail did an outstanding job. Kudos to Griner for engaging an active shooter bravely.

    Now back to regularly scheduled yammering about how she coulda shoulda done it better.

  18. Issue the verbal command after trigger pulls. It’s unlikely that witnesses are going to accurately argue the timing… They’re just going to remember shouting and gunfire.

  19. I think she did pretty good taking on a rifle with a handgun.

    As a couch commander, I would have most likely been carrying a 9mm S&W shield with 7 or 8 rounds of 124rn hollow point. With my skill level and the high stress of the situation, I doubt I would have gotten more than 1 of those shots anywhere on target from 20 yards if he was moving and I was moving. Which means I should practice some more.

    I would probably just retreat to cover or concealment and wait.

  20. When it was her turn to step into the arena, she won. God bless her and her partner who also stepped into the arena with her and won.
    This is why we have armed police in society.
    Because they will never know just when the time will come, when it will be their turn to step into an arena.

  21. I’m glad so far that the only one who died is the libtard puke who started the whole thing.

    The police do more good than harm in America. The brave action by Griner is far more common than the bad cop shooting an guy for no reason.

  22. Armchair smart asses always analyze the after events then blow hard! My opinion is I have no opinion, I’ve been in very few gunfights as an ordinary citizen! while its true that you fight like you train you also fight with preconceived ideas good or bad that training does not always eradicate! Another Idea, she Yelled; distracting Democrat slime ball shooter from shooting his Prey, there by helping save lives, it’s a proven fact even with a drawn weapon your reaction time is pathetic!
    She did what she did and it was good

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