26 Sept 17

Fatal Shooting:

This is from a friend and student, a shift lieutenant (at the time) with a large, metro PD. This incident happened earlier this year. He was within weeks of retirement!

“Night shift was almost over. I was at the precinct station, and just about out the door.

Then came the report of ‘shots fired.’ The area (low-rent district) was near one of our homeless shelters, and this kind of call is not unusual there.

My patrol sergeants were there quickly and got everything under control. One shooting victim, and he was already on his way to the hospital. Investigation ongoing. No arrests.

Although my personal presence was probably unnecessary, I decided to get in my car and head that way.

As I would later regret, I did not take my M4!

As expected, when I arrived at the scene I found everything under control, and there was really not much for me to do, save passing information up the food-chain.

Then, one of my officers spotted the suspect vehicle, and the chase was on, eventually involving ten beat-cars, from several agencies!

Suspect vehicle got on the freeway, but quick action on the part of our Highway Patrol in getting spike-strips in place slowed down the suspect vehicle from in excess of one-hundred mph, to less than fifty.

Suspect vehicle took the next exit, but shortly ended-up off the pavement and augured-into low brush. Suspect vehicle was going no further!

I was several minutes behind, but I heard the ‘shots fired’ call over the radio.

When I arrived, I saw the suspect vehicle, lit-up by lights from our beat-cars. I was informed that one suspect had just fired at officers, using a rifle. Several of his rounds struck our vehicles. At least one of our officers had returned fire with his pistol, but no one (on either side) was hurt, as far as anyone could tell.

Suspects were crouched behind their stalled vehicle, but they had options. There were homes in the area, and it was still dark.. There were two suspects, and neither was apparently inclined to surrender!

I decided to outflank them, before they became mobile again. They needed to be sealed-off before they could escape, and/or take hostages.

Running through various back yards, I finally got into a strong position, using a building as cover. On the way, I encountered a local home-owner. He was scared to death! I told him to get back in his house and lock all doors!

It was beginning to get light. I was behind and to the side of the suspect’s position, but I knew eventfully they would see me.

One of the suspects suddenly stood-up, raised his hands, and then walked toward our vehicles (away from me) to be taken into custody. Second suspect, the one armed with a rifle, remained crouched behind his vehicle, and I was still pretty sure he didn’t know I was there (twenty meters to his rear).

How I wished I had brought my M4!

As it was, I had only my RMR-equipped G17. Ammunition was 124gr Gold Dot

I then saw the second suspect raise and mount his rifle in the direction of my officers, and I decided I needed to shoot him immediately!

I centered my dot, and pressed my trigger. It seemed to take forever!

When my pistol finally barked, I knew I had hit him, but I caught the link and prepared to hit him a second time.

I never got the chance! When he discovered he had been hit, the second suspect immediately pointed his rifle at his own forehead and fired. He fell and went limp, lifeless!

In retrospect, I don’t think he ever knew I was there. My single hit may have been ultimately fatal, but we’ll never know! In any event, my pistol, RMR, ammunition, and training all functioned as advertised!

No officers were hurt. One suspect (the one I shot) was DRT. Second suspect (the one who surrendered) was unhurt.

Rifle used by the second suspect turned out to be a 22 (rimfire) autoloader. Brand unknown.

All officers involved were cleared.”


1) When it’s least expected, you’re elected! Crises keep their own schedule. There may be at least some warning. Maybe none at all!

2) Keep your gear with you! Rifles give you many options. Don’t leave yours behind!

3) Happy endings only happen in fairy tails! Any time we “go to guns,” the outcome will be bad. It’s just a question of how bad it is going to get!

4) A slow hit is better than a quick miss! Use your sights. Aim your shots. Press your trigger carefully! You don’t get to know how many opportunities you’re going to get. “Panic-shooting” always generates unhappy outcomes!

5) Don’t relax too soon! With either a pistol or rifle, no matter how accurate you are, instant deanimation of the suspect is unlikely. Be prepared to hit suspect(s) multiple times, inflicting rapid, fatal wounds.

6) Don’t dither! Get in motion. Size-up the situation quickly. Make a plan. Go for it. Tweak it on the run, as necessary! “Perfect plans” are as unlikely as are “perfect outcomes.” When you hesitate long enough to get all the information you think you need, it becomes moot point!

“The percentage of mistakes in quick decisions is no greater than in long, drawn-out vacillations, and the effect of decisiveness itself ‘makes things go’ and creates confidence.”

Anne McCormick