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Thread: Shoot! Don't Shoot!

  1. #1
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    Twenty-seven years ago, while returning home from work at a MA suburban police department, I became involved in a desperate situation. About half way home, I was driving through the center of a sleeply small town. I then observed two police cruisers chasing an older model Lincoln, heading towards me. The Lincoln did a U-turn in front of me, forcing me right and off the roadway. Fortunately there were parking spaces and not a curbed sidewalk in the way. I stopped my car and instantly heard the Lincoln and one of the cruisers collide. I then observed one of the occupants of the Lincoln run diagonal from my left to right nearby. Still wearing my police uniform, I gave chase on foot. The suspect then tried to hurdle a post and rail fence, caught his foot and went down hard on the opposite side. As I climbed over the fence, I considered drawing my weapon, but figured that if I did so, and the suspect ran, then I would have to reholster rather than fear a misfire. I then approached the suspect with my hand on my revolver. The suspect turned towards me and had a 9mm pointing at me. At about ten feet, and backlighted, I did not feel that I had a chance of running for cover safely.

    Needless to say, it was an intense situation. The bad guy held me as a shield as one of the town cops came towards us, then pointed his gun at the cop. I struggled with the bad guy, but the best I could do is to throw his aim off. After, what seemed hours, but was probably seconds, I offered the bad guy a way out. "You can escape" Isaid. This hit a chord with this guy, and after taking my revolver, he took off.

    Later, after an intense manhunt and a hoax situation, we recaptured this guy. No shots were fired. No one injured, except my pride; and a hell of a lesson learned.

    Many of you might say that you would have handled the situation differently. If presented with the same situation again, I know I would. However, knowing when to shoot or not, needs to be learned and practiced. Situations happen too quickly to think, only reaction will work.

    In MA, pointing a loaded weapon at someone, especially, if that person is later found to be innocent, can be construed as assault with a dangerous weapon. If the weapon is discharged, it can lead to attempted murder. If the bullet strikes an innocent person, then it becomes attempted murder and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. If it kills an innocent person, then it becomes murder.

    Knowing who is the bad guy and not, and the level of force to use on the bad guy is a tougher call, than most people can handle. Even the most trained law enforcement officers cannot make this call. Therefore, think well before you enter a situation. Have situation awareness. Be prepared mentally, and physically. That means, that if you believe that a weapon is necessary, then it better be out of the holster and ready to point and shoot when the time comes. Quick draws only work in the movies.

  2. #2
    Regular Member Ironbar's Avatar
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    *TWEET* I call B.S. on this story.

  3. #3
    Regular Member Ironbar's Avatar
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    mrsemman wrote:
    The suspect turned towards me and had a 9mm pointing at me. At about ten feet, and backlighted, I did not feel that I had a chance of running for cover safely.

    Needless to say, it was an intense situation. The bad guy held me as a shield as one of the town cops came towards us, then pointed his gun at the cop. I struggled with the bad guy, but the best I could do is to throw his aim off. After, what seemed hours, but was probably seconds, I offered the bad guy a way out. "You can escape" Isaid. This hit a chord with this guy, and after taking my revolver, he took off.

    Yeah sorry, but this section of your story makes absolutely no sense at all.

  4. #4
    McX
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    good story, and good lessons too!

  5. #5
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    Yeah, I could see that the story, which I condensed as it took several pages in the Boston Herald and a couple of other papers, might read that way. I will scan the news clips saved, and post them here.

    To me, the details are as clear as if it happened earlier this morning. You never forget.

    As for holding me as a shield? Yeah that happened. As the cop approached us, I was held infront of the bad guy. The shock of what was happening, made it seem as if I were made of lead. I couldn't move. The bad guy stuck his right, gun hand by my right shoulder and pointed his gun, a S&W Model 39 at the oncoming cop. The cop stopped about fifteen feet away. That was when I tried to get the gun with my right hand.

    The bad guy was pumped with adreneline, and I was just the opposite. All I could reach was his right forearm, but I could knock his aim off. Later, he made the cop drop his weapon, which the cop placed in front of him; and then made the cop lie down, which placed him mere inches from his revolver.

    When I realized that I was still breathing, I began to think of a way to get out of this situation. I started to talk to the bad guy. I told him that he could escape and get away.

    At this time, the sirens of cops coming from all the surrounding towns were heard bearing down on our position. The bad guy realized that he had to escape, and eventually forced me to give up my service revolver; and then made me lie down. I thought I was dead at that time, but he left and ran off.

    After the cavalry (cops from the surrounding towns) showed, we cordoned off the area around the incident. Several dogs were brought in, but could not locate him.

    Eventually, after another coincident incident happened and was resolved. We found the bad guy, passed out and curled in a fetal position at the base of a large tree. He had dcropped both weapons in the surrounding woods, but had kept the paper bag with $15,000 of robbery money.

    I will try to get those clips on line today.

  6. #6
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    So...tell us what you would have done differently...curious, with all of that time to rethink.

  7. #7
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    My first BIG mistake was to not take the situation seriously. I believed that because it was a sleepy, little town, that the bad guy was a car thief or such, not an escapee from the state prison. I should have had my service revolver out and pointed at him, as soon as I got close. Just a few months previous to my incident, there was a town cop from this town, shot and killed during a M/V stop on the midnight shift. This was a lesson I never forgot since then, even now.

    I was lucky. The police captain of the detective bureau from Worcester, MA (the second largest city in New England), stated that I was damn lucky, as this guy was initially put away for shooting at cops.

    I have shared this story to help others realize that danger lurks everywhere, and that everywhere one travels during their normal routine lives can be changed in an instant. Vigilance is a constant. Don't take every situation at face value. Be ready.

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