handcuffs hand cuffs arrest
Shutterstock
Previous Post
Next Post

While more and more good guys continue to carry in both shall-issue states as well as constitutional carry states, most folks still don’t know the best thing to say while responding officers in the aftermath of a use of force situation. Those who are ahead of the curve know not to tell cops much aside from your name and that you want to talk with an attorney before answering questions. But surprisingly, large swaths of gun owners still don’t understand the crucial importance of asking for counsel before answering questions.

Prudent people will already have considered how to handle interactions with police after a defensive gun use.  The first order of business involves calling 9-1-1, either yourself or having someone else do it for you. He who calls first oftentimes earns the presumption of being the crime victim because most bad guys don’t call the cops.

Tell the dispatcher your address, a brief thumbnail sketch of what happened including that you used force in self-defense, and that you need police and medical help. Give them a description of yourself and the suspect, including what they were wearing and then hang up.

Dispatchers are trained to ask a hundred different questions and what you tell them is very admissible in court. Don’t tell them any more than the minimum.

Next, for your own safety, make sure you’ve re-holstered your gun or put away any other self-defense implements (knife, etc.) as soon as the situation has become relatively safe.  Not only do you have to worry about responding police, but also fellow concealed carriers.

The last thing you want is a guy who wants to be in the next issue of the American Rifleman in the “Armed Citizens” column by taking out a bad guy. If you’re the guy holding the smoking gun or the bloody knife, he might think that’s you and that’s no bueno.

Definitely do not have a weapon in your hand when the boys in blue roll up. Follow their instructions to the letter. Expect to be cuffed and treated like a criminal. Suck it up, buttercup. It’s only temporary.

police car cruiser lights
Shutterstock

While there’s certainly nothing wrong with asking for an attorney, knowing the right time and place to ask can make all the difference in the world to your defense. That goes double in today’s climate where politically-motivated prosecutions sometimes follow righteous self-defense incidents.

For instance, a friend of mine asked for an attorney without sharing anything else at all and it earned him an immediate arrest.

Marty Hayes, at the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network covered this in his article “You Have The Right To Remain Silent”:

First, don’t act like a guilty man or woman. When the first words out of your mouth are, “I want my lawyer,” you have done a surprisingly good imitation of a street-wise criminal. What is any self-respecting cop supposed to think? Dead body + gun + “I want my lawyer” = jail.

If, on the other hand, the officer hears, “My life was threatened, I had to shoot,” he forms a slightly different picture. In addition, if he first learned of the incident by a call from you to 9-1-1, and at that time you indicated that you were the victim of a robbery (or whatever crime caused you to believe your life was in danger) then he forms a different picture of the call before he even gets there.

You can do a lot worse than asking for an attorney when police start asking questions. There is a better option if you can remember what to say.

As a long-time trainer, I prefer the five-point plan taught back in the day by Massad Ayoob at his Lethal Force Institute classes (now the Massad Ayoob Group). It’s what we now teach in our classes.

Here’s the quick and dirty . . .

  1. VICTIM: Claim your role as the victim to responding/investigating officers. Example: “That guy tried to rob me and I thought he was going to kill me!”
  2. PROSECUTE:  Tell the police you’ll cooperate with the offender’s prosecution.
  3. EVIDENCE: Point out any evidence. Identify for the officers all relevant evidence. Police aren’t all-knowing and they might miss important evidence that might go toward your exoneration. If the bad guy had a partner who ran away, provide a description.
  4. WITNESSES: Identify any witnesses who saw the encounter. Oftentimes witnesses will claim to have seen nothing.
  5. LAWYER: Ask to talk to an attorney before giving a statement or answering questions. Yes, it’s okay to tell cops your name, address and date of birth without Perry Mason at your side. Questions about what happened, or what you saw, or how you perceived things…nope. Tell them nothing. “I’ll be happy to answer all your questions after I’ve talked to my attorney.”

Frankly, unless you’re used to getting into defensive gun uses with alarming regularity, I would strongly consider asking for an ambulance ride to get checked out if you’re feeling at all anxious or unwell.

Your blood pressure may well be in the stratosphere. You may be in the early stages of an anxiety attack or you might even be having a heart attack. You may have suffered an injury that you don’t even realize. What’s more, you’ve probably not had an adrenaline dump like that in a long time, if ever.

Don’t lie to the cops and tell them you might be having a heart attack when you’re not. Describe your condition and ask for an ambulance. Keep it simple: “I’m not feeling so well. Can you call an ambulance for me please?” Get professionally checked out unless you’re sure you’re in good shape.

This particular post-incident plan for interacting with officers is the best I’ve encountered so far. It sets the tone of the investigation. It offers you an opportunity to make sure relevant evidence is discovered and identified. At the same time, it lets the officers know that you know your rights.

In short, think through what you’d tell the local constabulary in the aftermath of a self-defense incident now, not when you’re panicking in the back of a squad car wearing bracelets.

Remember, you carry the gun to make yourself harder to kill. Know how to interact with police in the aftermath of a self-defense incident to make yourself harder to convict.

 

Previous Post
Next Post

84 COMMENTS

    • Say as little as possible really.

      Some people tell you to say nothing at all. The likelihood you will be arrested is high if you do. But that may be better than a prison cell.

      I’m okay with saying: Here is the perpetrators weapon. This is the perpetrator. I was in fear of my life and acted in self defense.

      And that’s about it. Literally nothing more.

  1. If they put bracelets on, I’m asking for a lawyer. Anything you say can and WILL be held against you, and unless you plan on getting on the witness stand, you will not be able to contradict any officer’s misrecollection of what you said. Therefore you do yourself no favors by talking to the police. We can cooperate later when I have my lawyer with me. In the interim, I will let the physical evidence speak for itself.

  2. Yeah, that’s why I said in other comments and to people who thought you should tell the cops if you blast someone in your house that you “told the intruder to leave”

    YOU DON’T TELL THE COPS ANYTHING. NOTHING!!!! He broke into my house, I defended myself, that’s IT. YOU will NEVER HELP YOURSELF TALKING TO THE COPS, EVER.

    It truly boggles my mind the number of armchair lawyers or otherwise people who THINK they know what they are talking about on here advising what to say in the event of a defensive gun use. For the most part, you say NOTHING.

    • “He broke into my house, I defended myself”

      No!

      Do not say “I defended myself”

      Its a subjective term that leads to the question “why?” and ambiguous interpretation which is a pitfall you do not want to be in. You need to be able to articulate that you feared for your life from the very first words. Its “I feared for my life! He broke into my house” then from there with your lawyer the details can be laid out under further questioning.

      “I defended myself” is not a defense for self defense. The only defense is that you feared great bodily harm or death, or in other words you feared for your life.

      1. A grand jury, if it is going to be put before a grand jury, is only going to see the words you said at the scene or under questioning so you only get one chance and one chance only to keep from being indicted and that begins with the very first words you say when the cops roll up which needs to articulate that one and only defense from the very beginning which is “I feared for my life”

      2. The police, when they roll up, are going to operate on affirmative perception from the very beginning, things they perceive that confirms what they see. If you say anything that can be ambiguously interpreted it may bias them away from self defense into a ‘we don’t know reasonable doubt’ situation. So to them your very first words are “I feared for my life! … for example… “I feared for my life! He broke into my house.” when the cops roll up and then shut up, from there its with you and your lawyer.

      • Just keep shouting “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” while they are trying to arrest you. If they keep trying to arrest you, start vomiting on yourself and then act like you are choking on your own vomit. Then get up and run away. If they chase you down to attempt another arrest, do the “I can’t breathe” with choking on vomit routine again. When they get scared about being chauvined, get up and run away again. Keep repeating this routine until the officer gets scared and simply lets you go.

  3. RE: “That guy tried to rob me and I thought he was going to kill me!”

    When it comes to a dead perp “I thought” puts a gray area between quilt and innocence. Saying that is along the lines of, “I thought the Gun was empty.”

    Overall the Article was good advice.

    • Much of self defense involves fear of jeopardy. If you don’t think you or someone else are in danger of death or grievous bodily harm, you aren’t justified to use deadly force in most jurisdictions. At the trial, your lawyer’s job is to convince the jury that they would have felt the same had they been in your place. Even better, your lawyer can show that you have all the elements of justifiable homicide, and it’s not worth prosecuting you.

  4. Yup a needed article. Don’t think your not going to jail. In fact plan on it.
    I’m retired law enforcement. Say the bare minimum and tell them you’ll cooperate AFTER you consult an attorney.
    Look closely at what happens when an officer shoots someone. Basic statements then 2 sleep cycles and a representative before finishing.
    Plan on emotions but do not make decisions based on them.
    Be smart, be courteous, be wary.

    • “Basic statements then 2 sleep cycles and a representative before finishing.”

      where do the body cameras fit in with that? do they change that procedure at all?

      • Not that I’m aware in my experience. The investigators don’t have to wait to review the video. It’s no different from any other obtained video available from witnesses or business cameras etc.
        In some cases it could help as statements would just be a formality depending on the amount of footage available.
        Now will that be your experience post shooting? Hard to say. It depends greatly on where your from. In free America where I’m at it might be but across enemy lines like New Jerseystan ….. In both cases let that lawyer do their job.

      • I would not come forward. 5th
        Notify lawyer
        Just because the sheriff believes something doesn’t mean the DA will

      • Regardless of what this sheriff says YOU are the only one who will protect YOU
        Homeowner comes forward and they figure out the homeowner shot across his yard into other homes as the thug ran by and someone determines it’s reckless now he will go back on his word and the homeowner will be charged.
        I know this crowd especially drops panties every time a sheriff talks big and gets all excited thinking they are in their side but I’m telling you TRUST NO ONE. Do not make statements and get a lawyer.

  5. Pretty sure I’m supposed to shout “I didn’t do nutin’!!!!” then charge at the police and wrestle with them. Then, while being gave down on the street and very clearly resisting, I shout “I’m not resisting!!!!” Then expect to be taxed, shot and a statue of me erected at the site.

    This is how the TV says I become a hero to children everywhere.

      • rant7,

        The real question is whether or not a prosecutor would ever find Redneck.45lc’s comments on this site. The only way that would happen (realistically) is if the prosecutor gets a search warrant for his/her computer, looks at browser history, notices TTaG in the history, subpoenas his/her Internet provider for his/her Internet address, and then subpoenas TTaG for his/her handle (based on his/her Internet address).

        I doubt that a prosecutor would go to that much trouble (e.g. expend a LOT of resources) unless the rest of the evidence looked damning.

        Note: prosecutors easily find someone’s posts on popular sites if that someone uses an automatic user account and password for automatic login status. For example, if a suspect posts on FaceBook and uses the “remember me” type feature so that he/she doesn’t have to login every time, then a prosecutor gets easy and immediate access to his/her account. A website which does not require you to log in and does not provide for “remember me” automatic posting will be a LOT harder to peak into.

        • So much this. So many people have been posting about how instantaneously the government is just going to magically show all your posts on TTAG. In reality no one will ever see them.

          Now, Facebook? Twitter? YouTube? Yes. They will see those very quickly.

          As you said, TTAG being an anonymous blog, an investigator would first have to find out you visited here, then try to get the info from TTAG which TTAG already said years ago they wouldn’t agree to.

          Also a lot of “investigators” get a HELL of a lot more credit then their deserved. I’ve worked with detectives in a previous job I had, and honestly I wasn’t impressed by most of them. A lot of them don’t even know what resources they have at their own disposal.

        • I have a browser extension that automatically deletes my browser history and cookies as soon as I close a page.

        • The only “remember me” functions I use just eliminate one step, they don’t automatically let me in. For example one account I have requires using a code sent to me by text, answering a security question (that I defy anyone to figure out the answers to because I use responses taken from a long-ended fantasy role-playing game I ran back in university days), entering my user name, then entering my password; if I ask the site to remember me then I can skip the code part; I still have to answer the security question and the rest.

  6. “That guy tried to rob me and I thought he was going to kill me!”

    No! Do not use “I thought”.

    I’ve had several self defense encounters and in the very first one I learned quickly from my lawyer and the cops that words matter. Do not use any words or phrases that can be inferred as you not being sure or can be ambiguously interpreted.

    “I thought” is a subjective phrase subject to being ambiguously interpreted, especially when the cops first roll up.

    It should be “I feared for my life, that guy tried to rob me!” (or what ever the crime was) … then the rest detailing what happened will come out with your lawyer present and guiding you. The first words to the cops should be “I feared for my life…” when they ask what happened.

    first words, very positively and affirmatively … “I feared for my life … (or if, for example, a family then “I fear for the lives of my family and myself”

    • “I fear for the lives of my family and myself”

      should have been …

      “I feared for the lives of my family and myself.”

      darn spell check

      • “Get professionally checked out unless you’re sure you’re in good shape.”

        If you do go to the hospital to get checked out do not start telling everything, some hospital docs/nurses/staff are very nosey and will press for details. What you say to the doctor and nurses or other hospital staff about the event proper, he/she/they can be subpoenaed to testify for that and its not covered under Hippa so they can tell it with or without your permission.

        • You are correct about not spilling your guts to doctors and other medical staff. Personal medical information you give them is protected. Nothing else is.

    • Mr Booger gives excellent advise. Try as best you can under the circumstances to avoid using any words subject to interpretation. In a court of law all the jury will hear are the “words” you spoke. It is also a good idea to take written notes as soon as possible. Record why you were there, conversations between you and police officers being sure to record the exact words spoken by you and them. And, if possible, get the name, address, phone # etc of any witnesses. It is up to you to look out for you. Some of the information you may never need, but you know the saying better to have and not need. Too, if you are called to the stand keep your notes handy and refer to them for answers to questions. Do not be tricked into thinking your notes are of no value. Stick to your story based on your notes.

      • Taking notes isn’t as easy as it sounds! I was recently the first responder to a heart attack and my adrenaline level was high enough I could barely answer the (medical-related) questions from the EMTs when they arrived (impressive response time was under four minutes). Then before I could get my thoughts in order a sheriff’s deputy showed up and started in with questions.
        In a couple of other instances back when I was still a lifeguard training kicked in and memories were quite clear, but unless you’ve worked on memory training your memories may be confused, coming piecemeal and hard to put into order.
        That doesn’t mean don’t make notes, it shows that what you can make is important. The reason is that your memories are not likely to become more orderly as time passes, they generally get more confused if you try to concentrate and get them straightened out.

  7. Your supposed to say.
    “NO YOU CANT HAVE MY DEAD GUY, Shoot Your Own.”
    I swear I’m tired of the cops calling the meat wagon and always making off with the carcass. Food prices are high.
    It ain’t fair.

    • It really is a travesty. When they show up just say, “Its mine and you can’t have it!” And then growl at them so they know your serious. I’ve heard cops respect that sort of alpha dominance and will likely invite you over for their next bbq. Could make a best friend out of the situation too!

    • 👍 I scrolled down first without reading comments, looking for this post. Had the local wildlife rescue center on hold to check up on you, just in case I didn’t find this post. Thanks for saving me a false alarm!

  8. I don’t think someone is going to tell police, I’m planning to rob redneck tonight. Need some kind of probable cause to think Willie Horton had been here. His thug buddies ain’t gonna cop to conspiring to rob me. My neighbors are used to me taking callouts any time of night. Can’t really see through the trees anyway.

  9. With a handle like Redneck, you realize cutting the grass involves a tractor and bush hog, right? No one right up on top of me.

    • Redneck, one day you and I are going to be neighbors. I can’t get there yet, but you live how I plan to. God bless you sir.

  10. I would not volunteer to take a ride in the meat chariot unless I REALLY had some injury that NEEDED immediate medical attention AND that precluded my driving myself. Even a busted wrist, I’d still drive myself to hospital.

    WHY? Cause once I’ve left the scene in some form or “pubic transportation” they will find my car and impound it. Can’t just leave it on the street. I haven’t checked lately but twenty years ago mine got towed in Seattle. Took me two hours to walk/bus to the yard, then a hunnert eighty smackaronis to bail it out. Goes up forty stinking bucks a day.

    Nope. If I got there by MY car, I’m going home that way unless there is something VERY compelling (like a pair of stainless steel bracelets put on me without my consent) forcing me to leave my car there, I’m going home in it.

  11. While I agree with most of this some attorneys will tell you not to give any details to the 911 dispatcher except the nature of the incident (ie: name, address, and very brief non-descript indication of what happened like, someone broke into my house and I had to defend myself please send officers and then hang up the phone) The less said the better because if you stay on the phone the dispatcher will start asking you all kinds of question you are better off not answering. Just let them send the police and when they arrive repeat what you told dispatch plus you feared for your life and acted in self-defense and tell them you will be more than happy to cooperate, but you will have to have your attorney present.

    • The dispatcher tried to keep asking questions recently when I was the first responder to a heart attack. I just said, “I’m having…. enough trouble… doing CPR….” which happily got the response, “Okay, I’ll count for you!”

  12. Feel free to tell them what the perp did, but make sure you don’t leave an opening for accusations of lying to law enforcement (worst case scenario, you can get charged with that for telling the truth if it later disagrees with their conclusions).

    Don’t answer any questions about what you did.

  13. From a few decades dabbling in law, I learned:

    (1) Cops are a bit, or a lot, like many or most prosecutors, they think everything before them is to be treated like a crime, including acts of good men and women like the ones that brought about these posts.

    A class of individuals pursuing a career as sheriffs deputies were told by their instructor there were only two types of people in the world, them and pukes.

    (2) Prosecutors, more often than not, think their primary duty is to get convictions. Only a few think it their duty to approach an incident brought before them as if the person is, as we were all taught, innocent, until proven guilty. That is, too few would pursue leads that show innocence.

    Sadly, getting a lot of convictions is a means to an end – climbing the political ladder.

    (3) Prosecutors and public defenders often work together. That is, public defenders accept the “facts” given them by the prosecution without pursuing meaningful discovery beneficial to their clients, to avoid labor that cuts into their profit margin.

    • That ain’t no sht.
      And then they run for a political office saying they care about the people who vote for them, when just 2 years before that they was trying to get them same people locked up for jaywalking.
      Turn, turn, turn

    • No kidding! Once the EMTs took over that day two weeks ago the sheriff’s deputy wouldn’t leave me alone, asking questions like it was a murder. Thank God for the neighbors across the street who saw me doing CPR and called 911 themselves, then came to tell the deputy to back off, I’d just tried to save the life of a very good friend, and the fire chief who headed a second EMT group who’s known me for several decades and knew of the relationship; he told the deputy to skip the crap questions. Even then I just about had to walk the deputy through every moment from when I’d arrived on the property that day!
      And don’t be fooled when they assure you, “These are just routine questions we ask everyone” because when you’ve just responded to a situation where a life is at stake there’s no such thing as a “routine question” until YOU decide you are capable of answering calmly and clearly.

      • was walking past a bathroom when I smelled smoke. walked in, found the plastic toilet seat was on fire. walked out, phoned it in, walked away. got called later by an investigator trying to find out who set the fire. he was clearly hostile and grilled me for half an hour about what I did, how I did it, how long it took, made me draw a map of my actions and describe each one in detail. I had no idea what was going on as he got more and more frustrated, then suddenly dismissed me. I walked away wondering what just happened.

        found out years later that with law enforcement the one who reports the fire is always considered to be the arsonist. the investigator was trying to pin it all on me, but just couldn’t do it.

        haven’t reported anything since.

  14. Rule 1: DO not say a damn word to the Police. Not ONE word other than I have the right to remain slient. THEN DO JUST THAT.
    Rule 2: See Rule 1

    • One exception: when the police show up, they’re quite likely to ask, “Who called 911?” If you did, then you say, “That was me, I was in fear for my life”. This puts them in a positive frame of mind towards you and establishes that you were justified in acting.

  15. Up to the individual if they want to say anything about the incident at all.
    Best advice I was given is to invoke your 5th Amendment rights. You have to say that exact statement also, you just can’t say, “I’m not saying anything”.
    “I am invoking my 5th Amendment rights at this time”.
    Keep your mouth shut. You will be arrested. When you are questioned, you have a right to legal counsel. That’s when you ask for a lawyer.
    Be courteous but say nothing about what happened.

  16. You have the right to remain silent

    So many people simply don’t get that. It does not matter if you think you are being falsely accused or what you might think of the police in general. Your skin color doesn’t mater either. You DO have the right to say NOTHING. That right however, is not going to stop any cop from trying to deal with and handle the situation.

    Don’t run from the cops or be disrespectful. Do what they tell you. If your being detained unlawfully then that will come out.

  17. Do what you want but I would never hang up on the 911 operator until told to do so. That 911 operator has the ability to relay critical information to the responding officers as well as commutating instructions to you that may keep you from being misidentified as a bad guy.

  18. The call to 911 – this is where most self-defense people start screwing up and that’s because most 911 operators are going to ask “what happened?” or something similar. The tendency in most self defense shootings is to start blurting out details when the 911 operator asks that question. So I’m going to give you an idea of what to say to the 911 operator based upon my own experience with my own several self-defense events…

    1. First: The first words out of your mouth are “I feared for my life, I am the victim of a crime. This guy (what ever the crime is – for example, “broke into my home” or “assaulted me with a knife” “. This is what you get out first.

    The very first part of that is “I feared for my life…” so remember that. These will turn out to be the most important five words of your life when it comes to this.

    2. Second: Very clearly, “I need police and ambulance at (give address), someone has been shot” – if by chance you have been shot or injured tell them, and if the bad guy is shot tell them “the criminal has been shot” but do not volunteer any other status as to injury for the bad guy even if they were not shot and if they ask simply answer “I don’t know.”. If no one has been shot tell the 911 operator that, but still ask for the ambulance because you do need to at least have a basic check of your vitals on scene even if you feel ok because, for most people, your adrenaline levels are going to be really really high even if you do not realize it or feel it and even in healthy people such high adrenaline levels can (possibly) cause heart arrhythmias (tachycardias) and these can lead to serious ‘on scene’ stroke or other ‘on-scene’ serious heart/health issues. So always ask for an ambulance and at least get checked out by the EMT’s at a minimum.

    3. Give 911 your name.

    That’s it. Do not let their script narrative interrupt you, they mean well and are trying to get information but right after a self defense shooting is not the time to be putting a lot of information other than the essentials above on a recording of the 911 call. Yes, that’s right, every word you say is going to be recorded and if they need anything again they can listen to the recording. Speak clearly. Then after #3 above, hang up. They have your phone number, they can call back, but do not answer the phone. Tend to your own wounds if you have any or the wounds of other innocents injured by the bad guy. Do not under any circumstances approach the bad guy to tend to his/her wounds – remember, this bad guy was going to harm and/or kill you (that’s why you feared for your life) and even though wounded may still be armed (e.g. a hidden knife) and able to do that and has every reason in the world now in his mind (most bad guys) to still try to harm you out of revenge. Wait for police and ambulance to arrive.

    Remember, that 911 call is recorded and that can be used in court if you do get into court over this. So be very careful what you say to the 911 operator.

    A side note: If you are going to hold the bad guy at gun point make sure you tell the 911 operator that you have the bad guy at gun point and identify what you are wearing – this is so when police roll up they have an idea to expect to see the victim with a gun and what the victim is wearing to aid identification. This can be a very dangerous thing to do, because when police pull up a lot of them are going to draw their firearm when they see you with a gun so unless you absolutely need to do so to prevent further harm to others in the immediate area do not hold the bad guy at gun point.

    • Not everyone suffers the post traumatic stress effects after a self-defense event, but most do. And even if you are not suffering such you still need to be calm and clear when the police roll up. So…

      Immediately after a self-defense shooting you need to calm down even if you think you don’t.

      Do not grab a cigarette, or a shot of whiskey or a beer, do not start gulping water or other beverages, do not start gulping air, do not start pacing around, do not start breathing fast. All of these ARE NOT going to actually help you calm down quickly, in fact all of them are counter productive to calming down quickly especially in regards to your heart.

      Sit down, back straight, head up, shoulders back (shoulders hunched over/forward actually hinders the lungs from filling properly), legs straight out (if sitting ground level – if not then feet flat on the floor or ground if sitting in a normal ‘chair’ type position), remain quiet, and ‘belly breath’. When you breath in your belly expands, when you exhale your belly contracts – don’t breath by expanding your chest. Don’t worry, your lungs are going to fill with air anyway if you belly breath correctly. Do this slowly and evenly. Practice it a little, you will get the hang of it. This is actually the fastest way to calm down and relax (in terms of the whole body, especially the heart) after a high stress event. Remember that adrenaline I mentioned? Well, this is also the fastest way to help your stress induced high adrenaline level lower (because it helps relax and calm you) and also helps your stress induced heart rate lower. This is especially important to do before police arrive as its going to also help you think more clearly and thinking clearly is what you are going to need when the police roll up.

      • correction: “…still need to be calm and clear…”

        should have been …

        …still need to be calm and be clearly thinking…

    • Oh yeah, be sure to tell the 911 operator that you are armed.

      When the police arrive do not have the gun in your hand.

      • Anyway, all of these things I’ve posted here in these comments are first hand experience things I’ve learned from having been involved in several self-defense shootings over time, from training, from my lawyer, from travels through the legal system for self-defense, and in some cases from the cops. I hope it can help you.

        • Thank you for the insight of your experience.
          All of us who carry must be prepared for the post defense “ride”.

    • The ONLY thing you have to do is:

      – call 911
      – give your address and name
      – state it’s for a gun shot incident from an intruder event
      – state the condition and whereabouts of the intruder(s)

      You have the right to say you need counsel present before you say anything more. Anymore than that could be misconstrued, accidentally or on purpose, so you do not know how to even word your truthful statements.

    • Note: I’m not saying to not let 911 do their routine, just not to let them interrupt you while you give the information in 1-3 above. But you do hang up when you are done giving that.

      The reason you hang up is because you are handling a gun and you may need both hands to handle it as you (most people) are going to start to shake and that gun needs to be controlled to keep from having an accident while you are shaking and you can’t do that very well with a phone in your hand. Its more important to control that gun at that point than it is to keep on the phone with 911 after they already have the necessary information to send help. 911 will probably call you back anyway and you can listen to them then. No, it is not refusal to provide information to hang up on 911 after you reported – that’s a myth.

      • darn word press didn’t post the rest of what I wrote for hanging up on 911…

        (this applies mostly to first time defenders, but, it still happens so be aware of it and practice it along with the actions you are going to take if you do need to shoot so you can be prepared to overcome it or not do it)

        OK, lets say you don’t have the gun in your hand any longer… the next reason you want to hang up on 911 after reporting is that if you remain on the phone its an open mic capturing whats going on around you.

        Lets say you do need to shoot, but you only wound … The bad guy is going to be yelling in the background, what he/she says is also going to be captured on the 911 recording. So for example, they may be yelling “I was minding my own business and you shot me!” (or similar). There may even be others in the background who saw what happened and are more sympathetic to the bad guy bu they didn’t see everything and they may be yelling that you shot a bad guy that did nothing. Well, that’s going to be something that needs to be overcome in court. There have been many cases where in a valid justified self-defense shooting the bad guy words or words of others in 911 recordings were used by anti-gun prosecutors to paint a picture that was not true in an attempt to prosecute a law abiding person in fear of their life that defended their self from the bad guy attacks.

        The next reason you want to hang up on 911 is spontaneous utterances (AKA ‘excited utterance’). These are statements made under the influence of a ‘startling event’ or a ‘stressful event’. A lot of people after the shooting is done, will mutter or exclaim something about what happened, just suddenly say something that will make it into a 911 recording, for example, they may say “he needed to be shot” without realizing it, a statement like this indicates a desire to shoot rather than a no-other-choice need to shoot because you feared for your life. Spontaneous utterances in a stressful event that raises adrenaline to high levels are usually a result of the adrenaline levels clouding your thinking and your mind is trying to reconcile what happened at the same time so sometimes defenders in these situations will blurt out random things without realizing it. You do not want your spontaneous utterances captured on the 911 recording, they may be something that can be used against you.

        The next reason you want to hang up on 911 after reporting is if the bad guy is wounded and yelling in pain, that yelling may be be captured on the 911 recording. If you do get into court over this that 911 call is going to be used and the jury is going to hear that yelling and it could invoke sympathy for the bad guy among the jury. The other reason is that if the yelling is heard it indicates the bad guy was still alive at the time of the 911 call, but say when the police roll up the bad guy is dead and there was no longer any yelling on the 911 recording. Between the time of that yelling (bad guy alive) and when the cops roll up (bad guy dead upon their arrival) is a time period you are going to need to account for even if on the phone with 911 if this goes to a court. In other words, would the bad guy have survived if aid was rendered (no, you have no obligation to do so but a jury may see things the way the prosecutor presents it in this aspect and that way may be that you were cold and callous and could have possibly prevented the death if you had rendered aid), was the death because of something else you did even though he/she was shot, was there something you did during that time period? If there is no recording of the bad guy yelling, its very difficult to put a time frame to when the bad guy actually expired.

        There are lots of reasons you do not want things captured on a 911 call recording you make as a result of a very stressful justified legal and non-other-choice feared for your life self-defense shooting when you are not thinking clearly. What is on a 911 recording can make life very difficult legally for you.

        Its a nice concept that 911 wants you to stay on the line with them, its a well intentioned concept and the intent is to help you. But, you have an added dimension here to consider and that is your legal system interaction. A self-defense shooting can be a very stressful and chaotic event and what happens, the things you say without realizing it and the sounds of others in the background are going to be captured on that 911 call recording and they can be used to try to hang you by an over-zealous or anti-gun prosecutor.

    • This also fits if you called because someone else’s life is in danger; when as a lifeguard or first guy on the scene and CPR or first aid is needed I always said I’m in fear for the victim’s life. After that they stop with any questions except those relevant to whoever’s life it is. And here, at any rate, an instructor explained that the moment you say “fear for my (or someone’s) life” the dispatcher is supposed to immediately switch you to someone who will say nothing except things necessary to make sure the threat is dealt with — in a case where you had to shoot someone, that’s supposed to start with “Are you still in fear for your life?” and then advise steps to make the answer “No”.

  19. FIVE POINT PLAN [email protected] Surely you really should tell the POLICE that you are armed I bloody well know I would and the first thing I’d so is handover the gun I shot somebody with. As long as YOU ARE armed ACCIDENTS can and will happen and you cannot ecpect the Police who face shootings every single day to be less than extremely cautious. BY the way it does NOT matter who is to blame because you could be bloody dead. THe number of mOTORCYCLIST who’ve said it was my ‘right of way’ the stretcher in legendary THe guilty Car driver get a fine or a month or two, but no matter who’s at fault the Motor cyclist
    is still DEAD

    • One instructor said when the police arrive your gun should be on the ground two paces in front of you — assuming the danger is past — not in your hand or even in your holster, because the police are going to want to take it anyway and it’s less risky if they can approach and retrieve it themselves.

  20. Again, do as you wish. Yes everything is recorded. That recording also includes refusal to provide information and hanging up after being to stay on the line. The scripted questions are designed to get needed services on scene as quickly as possible. The standard request to stay on the line is so that additional, often essential information can be exchanged. Refusing to provide information or hanging up and refusing to answer the phone can delay response.

    Additionally, not all 911 calls initially go to the area dispatch center. Some are answered at a PSAP-Public Service Answering Point. The first two questions are what is the emergency and what is the location. Based on that information the call is routed to an appropriate dispatcher. That dispatcher may not be in the same building or even in the same town. This issue is further exacerbated by voice over ip calls where no automated caller id or location is available.

    There is no question that if you are involved in a defensive use of force incident you should be careful what you say and when you say it. But deciding to tell the 911 operator what you want and how you want then to hang up may also have consequences.

    • I’m not saying to not let 911 do their routine, just not to let them interrupt you while you give the information in 1-3 above. But you do hang up when you are done giving that.

      The event has ended, bad guy down or repelled: The reason you hang up is because you are handling a gun and you may (probably) need both hands to handle it as you (most people) are going to start to shake and that gun needs to be controlled to keep from having an accident while you are shaking and you can’t do that very well with a phone in your hand or being distracted by responding to 911 running through a script. Its more important to control that gun at that point than it is to keep on the phone with 911 after they already have the necessary information to send help. 911 will probably call you back anyway and you can listen to them then. No, it is not refusal to provide information to hang up on 911 or answer a call from 911 or stay on the phone with 911 after you reported – that’s a myth.

      • Again I believe the 911 operator has a better understanding of the information they need and the order they need it. I also believe the responding officer has a better understanding of the information they need ie who is the shooter, where are they, where is the gun.
        In your original post you specify said do not answer when 911 calls back. Also if as you indicated above that “the bad guy down or repelled” why are you holding your weapon? Step back and holster then make call. 911 operators are specifically trained on how to instruct an individual to initiate contact with responding officers arriving on the scene of a defensive use of force.

        • darn word press didn’t post the rest of what I wrote for hanging up on 911… not sure why

          (this applies mostly to first time defenders, but, it still happens so be aware of it and practice it along with the actions you are going to take if you do need to shoot so you can be prepared to overcome it or not do it)

          OK, lets say you don’t have the gun in your hand any longer… the next reason you want to hang up on 911 after reporting is that if you remain on the phone its an open mic capturing whats going on around you.

          Lets say you do need to shoot, but you only wound … The bad guy is going to be yelling in the background, what he/she says is also going to be captured on the 911 recording. So for example, they may be yelling “I was minding my own business and you shot me!” (or similar). There may even be others in the background who saw what happened and are more sympathetic to the bad guy bu they didn’t see everything and they may be yelling that you shot a bad guy that did nothing. Well, that’s going to be something that needs to be overcome in court. There have been many cases where in a valid justified self-defense shooting the bad guy words or words of others in 911 recordings were used by anti-gun prosecutors to paint a picture that was not true in an attempt to prosecute a law abiding person in fear of their life that defended their self from the bad guy attacks.

          The next reason you want to hang up on 911 is spontaneous utterances (AKA ‘excited utterance’). These are statements made under the influence of a ‘startling event’ or a ‘stressful event’. A lot of people after the shooting is done, will mutter or exclaim something about what happened, just suddenly say something that will make it into a 911 recording, for example, they may say “he needed to be shot” without realizing it, a statement like this indicates a desire to shoot rather than a no-other-choice need to shoot because you feared for your life. Spontaneous utterances in a stressful event that raises adrenaline to high levels are usually a result of the adrenaline levels clouding your thinking and your mind is trying to reconcile what happened at the same time so sometimes defenders in these situations will blurt out random things without realizing it. You do not want your spontaneous utterances captured on the 911 recording, they may be something that can be used against you.

          The next reason you want to hang up on 911 after reporting is if the bad guy is wounded and yelling in pain, that yelling may be be captured on the 911 recording. If you do get into court over this that 911 call is going to be used and the jury is going to hear that yelling and it could invoke sympathy for the bad guy among the jury. The other reason is that if the yelling is heard it indicates the bad guy was still alive at the time of the 911 call, but say when the police roll up the bad guy is dead and there was no longer any yelling on the 911 recording. Between the time of that yelling (bad guy alive) and when the cops roll up (bad guy dead upon their arrival) is a time period you are going to need to account for even if on the phone with 911 if this goes to a court. In other words, would the bad guy have survived if aid was rendered (no, you have no obligation to do so but a jury may see things the way the prosecutor presents it in this aspect and that way may be that you were cold and callous and could have possibly prevented the death if you had rendered aid), was the death because of something else you did even though he/she was shot, was there something you did during that time period? If there is no recording of the bad guy yelling, its very difficult to put a time frame to when the bad guy actually expired.

          There are lots of reasons you do not want things captured on a 911 call recording you make as a result of a very stressful justified legal and non-other-choice feared for your life self-defense shooting when you are not thinking clearly and things can still be chaotic. What is on a 911 recording can make life very difficult legally for you.

          Its a nice concept that 911 wants you to stay on the line with them, its a well intentioned concept and the intent is to help you. But, you have an added dimension here to consider and that is your legal system interaction. A self-defense shooting can be a very stressful and chaotic event and what happens, the things you say without realizing it and the sounds of others in the background are going to be captured on that 911 call recording and they can be used to try to hang you by an over-zealous or anti-gun prosecutor.

          Sure, you need to step back and holster. Unfortunately as picture perfect as that sounds, it doesn’t happen for a while in most self defense shootings especially by first timers.

          After you report, hang up – period. I’ve been through this several times, as proceduraly correct as you state that 911 wants it to be the fact is you have no obligation to remain on the phone with them after you reported, and depending on the state may have no legal obligation to even call 911 but rather can call the police directly (I think in New York its a legal obligation to call 911 to report). Its nice there is a service like that to help, but unfortunately in a valid legal justified self defense shooting what is said by the defender in a 911 recording is all to often used against them in an attempt to prosecute them and 911 in this respect has become just another tool for the prosecution.

          A valid legal justified self-defense shooting – and the defender placed in jail for years because under stress when not thinking clearly after its over they mutter something or the bad guy or other yelling something in the background … going to jail for years for justified self defense because an over zelous prosecutor managed to sway a jury to sympathy for the bad guy using that 911 recording is something in todays world that has got to be considered… yes, hang up on 911 after you report with 1-3 like I said.

        • Also this:

          “Again I believe the 911 operator has a better understanding of the information they need and the order they need it. I also believe the responding officer has a better understanding of the information they need ie who is the shooter, where are they, where is the gun.
          In your original post you specify said do not answer when 911 calls back.”

          1. No, the 911 operator does not have “a better understanding of the information they need and the order they need it.” The 911 operator has an understanding of what they are supposed to do according to their training and procedures which are established as a result of legal requirements by the very legal system that is suppose to be fair and impartial and protect the justified defender also but instead can be used against the justified defender.

          1-3 above gives them all the perpetrate information that will satisfy all their requirements and procedures and also your own legal obligation at the same time, and is plenty of information to initiate and justify a police response.

          2. Officers do not need to know ‘the gun’ to initiate a response to help the victim defender. They need to have a basic understanding of what happened and who is involved to initiate their response, 1-3 above gives that.

          3. Yes i did post to not answer the call back from 911, that’s after you report. I already outlined why in the rest of my above. There is nothing more to add to that which is going to aid the police initiating a response and the call back from 911 is procedural to satisfy their own procedures and training, and if you reported already (1-3) above there is nothing more to add and under this stress you will not be thinking clearly and you do not want to say something else that might be used against you. So do not answer the call back from 911.

          I’ve been through this legal juggernaut, 911 is not the thing you assume it is. 911 does not want to remain on the phone with you in a self-defense shooting because they want to make sure the police arrive and tell you want to do. They want to remain on the phone with you in a self-defense shooting because their own legal requirements and procedures demand they do for a reason. While you are staying on the phone with them everything is still recorded and this is a situation in which you may not be thinking clearly for a bit, but also 911 is going to let you continue to talk. They do this on purpose in self defense shootings – the goal is to capture something ‘evidential’ and you do not want that ‘evidence’ to be something said while not thinking clearly. In short, that 911 call is ‘investigative’ (staying on the phone with them especially so) so the investigation has actually begin the second you call 911.

          This is the legal world we live into today, where the very system that is suppose to be fair and impartial and protect the justified defender is now used against them by over-zealous and anti-gun DA’s/prosecutors/and even police in some cases and that system includes the 911 operator and recordings. 911 is part of the legal system environment, it only exists today because of legal system requirements and a justified defender needs to treat it as part of the very system that can be used against them and not their friend.

        • “Also if as you indicated above that ‘the bad guy down or repelled’ why are you holding your weapon?”

          Ahhh a fair question of the type always asked by the inexperienced but a fair question non the less.

          Its not uncommon for a bad guy to run off and then come back before police arrive. Its also not uncommon for there to be others in hiding that will attack before police arrive. Its also not uncommon for a wounded and down bad guy to attempt to resume an attack with a hidden weapon (e.g. a knife) before police arrive. Remember, police do not suddenly appear, a lot can happen in the time it takes for police arrive so you are still your own first responder.

          Its not always a definite thing that stopping a bad guy stops the bad guy(s) completely.

          So why is the gun still in your hands? Its because of the uncertain factor that its ALL actually over and only a fool does not remain prepared in an environment where the threat can and will in likely hood in a lot of cases persist as imminent at any second.

      • Its not uncommon for a bad guy to run off and then come back before police arrive. Its also not uncommon for there to be others in hiding that will attack before police arrive. Its also not uncommon for a wounded and down bad guy to attempt to resume an attack with a hidden weapon (e.g. a knife, maybe a gun) before police arrive. Remember, police do not suddenly appear, a lot can happen in the time it takes for police arrive so you are still your own first responder.

        Its not always a definite thing that stopping a bad guy stops the bad guy(s) completely.

        You planned for this, maybe (hopefully) trained for it, prepared for this – now its happened if it has. In your preparation and planning for before and/or during the event, you need to expand that and include thinking beyond the event to post-event.

        Very few classes include what happens after you have no other choice but to pull the trigger because you feared for your life. Other than outlining a few legal tips (e.g. call a lawyer) or how to talk to the police when they arrive type of things, and some first aid stuff, there is very little given for the practical aspects of what happens after you pull that trigger in the event and before police arrive. Its not always as simple as saying “Whew! Glad that’s over. I’ll just sit here and wait for the cops.”

        Some say “I called 911, so I wait for police.”, and there is nothing wrong with that. But are you prepared for a possible necessary continuing defense after the initial event before police arrive?

        Whats your status post initial event before police arrive? For example: Are you so jittery now from the adrenaline rush that you can’t focus? Are any family or innocents or you injured – have you checked to make sure? Do you know your escape routes (e.g. if in home or in a store) or how you plan to exit the area if a follow on attack would over whelm you? Have another magazine handy? Is your position defensible or are you standing out in the middle of a room (e.g. in a home), are you still out in the open failing to fall back to a more defensible position? Is the wounded bad guy really not going to try to continue his/her aggression? Are there others you did not see?

        And one thing that is hardly ever touched on is: What do you do if police roll up and you are still engaging the bad guy(s) because you had no other choice? Remember this – when police arrive, to the police anyone not police with a gun is not a victim or a criminal but rather a potential threat target to them.

        (note: avoid drawn out fire fights if at all possible, and run away if you can. Heck, unless its necessary to save your life or lives of others from serious harm or death – if you can avoid it by running away then run away. Stand your ground might be a nice thing to have in law but it does not mean standing your ground is the only thing you can do or have to do especially if you have family or innocents to get out of harms way to avoid harm. No one with a bullet hole in them or other wise seriously harmed that could have safely and reasonably avoided engaging but engaged anyway is brave – they were stupid. If you can avoid it then avoid it.)

        In your planning and preparation, remember to include that it may not be completely over before police arrive.

    • This reminds me I need to replace the chain on my main entry door! On the side entry I have a chain and a door-stopper; unless I know it’s someone safe on the other side the chain doesn’t come off and the door-stopper goes down as back-up to the chain; gotta get that restored to the main door.

  21. “WITNESSES: Identify any witnesses who saw the encounter. Oftentimes witnesses will claim to have seen nothing.”

    Its true that oftentimes witnesses will claim to have seen nothing. Then they are not witnesses now are they, a person who saw nothing can’t be a witness to something they did not see or hear but that does not mean they will not or can not be witnesses later.

    Sometimes a witness who claims to have seen nothing on scene when talking to police will later come forward to say they did see something. This is, basically, because they witnessed an event that traumatized them and later they will begin to remember things and some of them will feel compelled to come forward. Then there are those who simply do not want to be involved and will say they saw nothing when in reality they did.

    And then there is this for witnesses: In todays world of ‘woke liberalism’ its become more likely to encounter a witness who is going to relate what they saw colored by their bias against guns which does not regard valid justified self-defense DGU as justified and their statements to police are going to be biased against you – not that they would flat out lie (even though some will) but they are going to say or ommit in such a way as to be biased against you in some aspect.

    Do not run around gathering witnesses yourself before the police arrive. But if someone is around and you think they will be a good witness its ok to ask them to hang around to talk to police. Its ok to ask others in the area if they saw what happened. If possible or probable witnesses that you think would be a good witness for you want to leave the area before police arrive do not try to convince them to stay, ask if you can have their names and phone numbers to give to police but if they do not want to give it then do not press for it or try to convince them to stay. Its better there be a willing witness than a reluctant witness – its better there be no one else besides you that can relate what happened when police roll up (see back up above where I outlined what you say to police when they arrive, the mantra “I feared for my life …”) so if people want to leave let them – its better that you control the initial narrative to police of “I feared for my life” rather than someone else giving their version to police. Lawyer up!

    Do not discuss the event with witnesses or anyone else. What you say to a witness can be testified to in court or can be bought out in court. You and your lawyer need to control this narrative as much as possible, you do not want a witness relating something you said as a spontaneous utterance (I mentioned this in another post farther back up in these comments) while you were not thinking clearly or as an off hand remark or a remark the witness could perceive as meaning something else.

    Get a lawyer and let them do their job and listen to them! No, not a public defender lawyer. Get a real lawyer with experience and practice in self-defense DGU cases, there are many of these. For those who don’t think a self-defense insurance is worth having, I can tell you from my own personal experience that a good self-defense insurance is worth its weight in gold and then even more.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here