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On the other hand this, from a recent Force Science Institute email blast about an upcoming study: “You are confronting an armed suspect, no cover available. He faces you, with his gun at his side, pointed at the ground. Your gun is aimed at him and you’re ready to shoot. He ignores your commands to drop his weapon. Are you justified in pulling the trigger before he makes any move to point his gun at you?

According to conclusions reached by researchers in a unique new reaction-time study [slated for publication in Police Quarterly], your preemptively shooting under such circumstances may well be considered reasonable by the standards of Graham v. Connor.

If the offender suddenly points his gun in your direction, you are highly unlikely to get a shot off to defend yourself before he shoots, the researchers documented. Even under ideal circumstances, you probably can fire no faster than simultaneously with the attacker.

These findings “serve to illustrate the extreme danger that armed suspects present to police officers,” the researchers report. “Even when a police officer has his or her gun aimed at [an armed] suspect and the suspect is not aiming at the officer, the officer is still in extreme danger….”

“As our findings show, most officers can’t fire faster than a suspect with a weapon in hand, even if it is not aimed at the officer,” [Dr. J. Pete Blair, an associate CJ professor at Texas State University] writes. Consequently, “we think that an officer who decided to shoot [in the kinds of situations tested] meets the legal definition of reasonableness,” given the “close range of the encounter, the lack of available cover, the failure of the suspect to comply with multiple warnings, and the data” collected.

The researchers stress, however, that they “do not believe that the findings support” automatically shooting “everyone with a gun” or “everyone with a gun who does not comply.” Armed encounters vary in their details, and “the individual officer must consider the totality of circumstances” in choosing a fitting response, including whether issuing commands is feasible or desirable before firing.


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  1. Great going, SWAT. You got off 71 rounds, your suspect got off none, and you were smart enough to make the ambulance wait until your target wasn’t just dead, he was stone cold dead. Kudos on a textbook raid. You are now fully qualified to work for the ATF.

  2. Really? You guys honestly believe what you did was the right thing? Did anyone do any research or due diligence of any kind prior to this debacle? After reading about similar instances like this across the country, I wonder which is more dangerous; the drugs or the improperly trained police forces that execute these poorly planned raids. Do you guys think you’re in the movies? This is real life. The people you deal with have rights just like yourselves. Immediately escalating with force is obviously the wrong answer. Of course it should be there as an option, but not a primary tactic to perform searches in the field.
    As a military veteran, I know the dangers involved. I know that it was not an easy choice. Tough, had someone simply called, TXT’d, or e-mailed the house to tell them that it was surrounded, I have no doubt that there wouldn’t be a dead marine on the ground and a Tucson SWAT losing funding because of a lawsuit they lost because of the improper training of its own officers, detectives, and DA’s office.
    This whole scene is surreal and makes me sick to think that they all believed what they had done that day was right. It wasn’t. It was pathetic. It was cowardly. It was a mess before you even suited up to perform this duty. AND NO ONE SPOKE UP. You are all to blame for his death. That’s how I see it. That just may be how it is.

  3. This is fucking criminal. They had a search warrant for drugs. They found nothing. He never fired a shot. Nothing criminal actually took place on the side of the suspect. SWAT, however, managed to shoot the non aggresor 60 times. They then proceded to make good and sure he was dead, and therefore unable to testify, by denying him medical aid for AN HOUR AND FOURTEEN MINUTES! There were no other suspects in the house, no hostage situation or someone holed up anywhere in the house. Why the hell did they make the ambulance wait so God damned long?

  4. Any time there is such a massive case of overkill I wonder what the real deal is. That many rounds fired, the inexcusable time for medical treatment, no evidence found-was it even the right house?

  5. Violent home invasions as a tactic to enforce prohibition is how we roll as a country these days. No politician, sheriff, etc. has ever lost his/her job for being “tough on crime”. These are not isolated incidents. This guy was not the first innocent victim and will not be the last.

  6. Holy crap — I just realized that this is Sheriff Dupnik’s police force. He’s the bozo who blamed Sarah Palin et al for the shooting of Rep. Giffords on his watch after he failed to protect the Congressman at her outdoor meet and greet. What a freaking clown! Who is that fat f^ck going to blame for this fiasco?

  7. This is a real Charlie Foxtrot! Now let’s see here. The SWAT team, themselves, have their own attorney. As of early this morning, the Sheriff’s Dept. had not released any information as to what they actually found inside the house claiming an “ongoing investigation”. (Personally, I agree with some that Dupnik is probably looking for ways to blame this on Rush, Beck, and others in an attempt to obfuscate the true facts of this debacle.) We have a small child without a father. A wife without a husband. A nation without a returning vet. And A LEO or two that have to live with the fact that they were the one (s) who took the life of an innocent. Someones got some “esplan’ing” to do, Lucy. But, sadly, even then, it won’t change a damn thing.

  8. Wow, the more things change the more they stay the same. The first major news event that I paid any attention to when I was a kid was the Kent State shooting in 1970. The official word was that the Four Dead in Ohio were riotors and arsonists, and that the National Guardsmen were legitimately afraid for their lives so the shootings were justified. Case closed. Turns out they were just regular college kids hanging around and shot from over 300 yards for no real reason. That incident had a major impact on my political thinking for the rest of my life. One thing has changed, though. Back then those of us railing about jack-booted government thugs were left-wing hippies. These days we’re right-wing tea-partiers.

    • You are incorrect.

      Someone among the hippie protestors’ ranks apparently fired first:

      People who throw rocks and bricks at armed National Guardsmen (who had just been deployed to Kent State after a previous assignment to quell union rioting where they were attacked and beaten, and thus were in defensive mindsets) take their lives into their own hands.

      Or, as Jerry Pournelle would say, this was just evolution in action.

      • I’m not adequately conversant with the Kent State incident to address it directly, so I’ll leave that aside.

        However, I’m curious about your contention that the protesters were taking their lives into their own hands by confronting the NG. What relation does this have to the legality of the NG’s acts?


      • You beat me to it gunnut, and to answer JSG, you shouldn’t throw rocks at people with guns. A rock can take out an eye or even kill someone. We’ve recently seen protesters all over the world get shot and killed and that’s the risk you take by going up against someone with a gun. Protesters risk dying by standing up for their rights, that may suck but life’s not fair.

        • I hear ya, Joe, and I’m not arguing that fact. I’m just looking at the legal question, particularly as it relates to police interactions with civilians. It is incumbent on the officers to establish an imminent threat (and clearly identify it) before taking action, and then to limit that action to the minimum necessary. Rocks don’t generally meet the requirement. Neither do citizens holding a rifle by their side in their own homes.

          In this SWAT case, it was reported early on that the 71 rounds were fired by the officers as a result of a misfire by one of their own. Those officers own those rounds just as surely as any other citizen.

          So my curiosity extends from this question: Does anyone believe that the existence of rock throwing, or the presence of gunfire, justifies the shooting of citizens who were not clearly identified as the shooter(s)? Or that a citizen inside his own home should be shot because the police are nervous?

          I look at the previous paragraph and it sounds inflammatory. I don’t mean it to be, I’m just trying to clarify the question.


        • The using the title Kent State Shootings is like naming WWII the Japan Atomic Bombings.

          You have to read the actual history of the events leading up to the NG firing on protestors at Kent State. Quickly, the governor called the NG to Kent State because several buildings had been burned and the local law enforcement was unable to stop the violence.

          I am not arguing for any specific interpretation of events. I am saying that the shootings at Kent State are not a quick reference for either restraint or aggression. Based on many accounts, the NG actions were almost inevitable.

      • That would be true if the ones killed were the actual rock-throwers, or shooters, or arsonists and not just some kids watching events unfold on their own college campus from a couple hundred yards away. This was an indiscriminate shooting into the crowd. There were many times throughout the three days when the NG could indeed have been fearful for their lives. At the actual time of the shooting those conditions were largely absent. It was all swept under the rug because “they were only hippies.”

        • “This was an indiscriminate shooting into the crowd.”

          The crowd committed arson, threw bricks at armed troops, and according to audiotapes of the incident, fired first at the National Guardsmen.

          We are all judged by the company we keep. Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas.

        • This is a surprisingly indiscriminate response, and for me at least, disturbing. The government has the responsibility to act against those individuals actually breaking the law, and only those individuals. The crowd didn’t commit arson, throw bricks or fire at anyone. Individuals did. And in regards to the audiotape, it does not indicate who fired or where the shot(s) was(were) directed.

          Judged by the company you keep is not a legal justification for action on the part of citizens or the government. Nor should it be. And “lie down with dogs…” is something your mother says to you when she doesn’t like your obnoxious friends. It has no part to play in evaluating the actions of the government with regards to treatment of the citizenry.

          We have freedom of assembly and freedom of association within this country and the government doesn’t get to decide that the crowd you’re a part of has made you a legitimate target for lethal action. We’ve seen the heavy hand of government playing out against protesters with the Arab Spring, and indiscriminate action against crowds is consistently abhorrent.

  9. Last I knew, none of the witnesses reported hearing the sirens that Dupnik’s boys said were gonig. None of the witnesses saw the lights that Dupnik’s boys said were going. None of the witnesses heard the police identify themselves like Dupnik’s boys said they did. They just heard police gun fire.

    Dupnik’s boys shot up the house from out side. Literally, they are entrance holes in the outside stucco. They just randomly shot in the general direction of the guy. And his wife and kid. Exactly how does Force Science Institute defend the use of unaimed automatic weapons fire in a residential neighborhood? And yes, they shot up the whole neighborhood. Then searched the rest of the neighborhood, apparently hoping that they might find some drugs to save their raid.

    “Today, KGUN9 also learned SWAT searched Guerena’s neighbor’s house. “When I came home, the whole house was searched. All the doors were open. And, (our house) was searched through; it was like an invasion of privacy,” said Carissa Franco.

    SWAT says it was concerned about a hole in the Franco’s home, worried someone else could’ve been wounded. So, it said it did what they needed to get inside.

    Pima County released a statement about that breach, saying in part, “The Regional SWAT Team made entry into two additional residences very soon after the deadly force encounter. This was done in order to ensure that there were no injured persons in those residences as a result of the shooting. These entries were made without warrants due to the exigency of the circumstances. No one was home at either residence when entry was made.”

  10. You know, this reminds me of a recent state supreme court opinion (my state- Indiana.) Imagine this scenario….

    I am in my bed with my wife, call it 3 a.m. We live in a small 800 sqft house. SWAT team barges into my house because they have the wrong address. Of course I grab my G20 and investigate….I am hardly awake when I exit my bedroom. (I am at low ready.)

    My dogs were going crazy, and are probably dead by now.

    I walk into my living room. SWAT sees me, I see them and finally figure out what is going on. They shoot me 60 times. I’m dead.

    I “resisted.” My widow has no recourse.

  11. When a cop tells you to drop the gun, you either drop it or you get shot. When one of the SWAT guys opened fire all the others followed suit and now this guys dead.

    • I don’t recall reading any articles where it said the police told him to drop the gun. But I’m sure some supreme court judge will determine that the SWAT had exigent reasons to go in with guns blazing. Probably to prevent the drugs from being flushed that weren’t there to begin with.

  12. I just came from security guard school in Arizone get my arm guard card permit. Where I learn for arm gaurd use deadly force on some one all need is your self or a third party life be in life threatening situation you can use deadly force with out even warning doing so that how teach the class shoot frist in life threatening situation . Buy way arm guard allow shoot rapist child molester caught in the act there with out warning. This allowed buy private arm security what think police allowed do there. If there any doubt what said above about what arm gaurd can do Arizone get dps hand book on subject rules be arm gaurd in Arizone you well find where say so.

  13. When someone is murdered in a SWAT raid then do all the killers get together afterwards at the bar and convince each other that they did nothing wrong?

    Or do they show a little remorse and maybe some empathy towards the survivors?

    Yeah, sure John. Everyone on the SWAT team throws $500.00 in a pot and anonymously gives a check to the widow so she can bury her husband without cleaning out her savings. ‘Cause she’s gonna need the money you know, what with the breadwinner of the family dead and all…

  14. The sad thing is that although I’m an excellent shot, probably leagues ahead of these Neanderthals, I don’t wear body armor at home. I wouldn’t even be able to kill whatever SWAT team barged into my house in retribution. It’s pretty sucky.

    I’m waiting for, at the very least, manslaughter charges. If it turns out it was all premeditated, execution by firing squad would be nice, if somebody introduced it.

  15. Do you guys believe this, with all the training some of you do?

    If the offender suddenly points his gun in your direction, you are highly unlikely to get a shot off to defend yourself before he shoots, the researchers documented. Even under ideal circumstances, you probably can fire no faster than simultaneously with the attacker.

    Simultaneous, my ass. He’d be shot once or twice by each and every cop present before he even tried to get a shot off. And that’s IF the cops waited for him to make a move.

    • It’s bullshit. I’ve done actual exercises to test those sorts of things, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

    • “He’d be shot once or twice by each and every cop present before he even tried to get a shot off.”

      Mikeb, when the cops shoot, they don’t shoot once or twice. They empty their “assault clips” into their victim and, if they feel the “need,” they reload and do it again. The result is a dead “suspect” who is riddled with so many bullet holes that the coroner has trouble counting them.

      The New York police developed a clever system to counter this issue. They bring the suspect into custody and shove a plunger handle up his ass. It’s officially called the Abner Louima Method and recognized by the NYPD as a form of enhanced interrogation.

    • MikeB – Standby, sir. You make a great observation here – one I am drawing up a plan to put to a semi-scientific test…

      More to come..

  16. Let me see if I got this right. They did a study that concluded that action beats reaction? Imagine my shock!


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