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 Post subject: Shoot or Don't Shoot
PostPosted: 31 Dec 2014 10:12 
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There is probably no right or wrong answer to this question because most police departments do not have written or clearly defined guidelines on how to handle this kind of situation, but I would like to hear from all of the people who use this forum:

If a police officer approaches a person who is holding a gun and the person refuses to stop moving or lower the gun after the police officer orders the person to freeze and drop the gun, should the officer:

A. Shoot
B. Give the same order again and shoot if the person fails to comply.
C. Give the same order three times and shoot if the person fails to comply.
D. Continue giving the same order, but do not shoot if the person fails to comply.


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 Post subject: Re: Shoot or Don't Shoot
PostPosted: 31 Dec 2014 10:59 
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I would say that any of the four is a possibility.
Access to immediate cover would be nice, but it comes down to a judgement call on the part of the officer based on his/her training , experience and personal evaluation of the individual, weapon and situation.
There is no pat answer. An action though justified, may not always be the "right" answer.


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 Post subject: Re: Shoot or Don't Shoot
PostPosted: 31 Dec 2014 14:59 
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I am NOT a cop so my opinion is a non-professional one.

Each situation is different and so is each individual so it's hard to say. NEVERTHELESS, speaking strictly for my-life-loving-self, if the muzzle of his firearm starts coming anywhere near my direction I'd drop him like now.

I'm also assuming that I am not behind cover, this is a face-to-face thing.

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 Post subject: Re: Shoot or Don't Shoot
PostPosted: 01 Jan 2015 11:55 
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Without being in the situation or being a trained police officer, I don't know that I can pick any of the options. There are too many variables to make a snap judgment from my couch.

1. Is he pointing the gun at you or others and you are in fear for your life or the lives of those around this man?
2. Is he deaf and not facing you?
3. Is it possible to disarm this man without having to shoot him? How close to him are you?
4. Is he trying to defend himself from someone else you can't see?

Based upon the context, the use of force varies. I know these situations occur in just a few moments so training, experience, quick thinking, and gut instinct would most definitely come into play.


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 Post subject: Re: Shoot or Don't Shoot
PostPosted: 01 Jan 2015 19:07 
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As you both clearly recognize, these issues are complicated and most police departments are not willing to issue written directives concerning how you should deal with someone who is holding a gun. In some situations, shooting and killing someone who refuses to show his hands might be ruled a justifiable homicide, whereas as in other situations, shooting and killing someone who has fired a shot at you might be ruled first or second degree murder. In many cases, decisions that are made by police officers in less than one second will be tied up in criminal or civil courts for years after the incident occurred. Even if a police officer is found innocent of any criminal charges, civil litigation might drag on for years and the cost of defending yourself against civil charges can be astronomical even if all of the civil courts rule that you are not liable for any damages.

Here is a question that every US citizen should be able to answer: If you see someone running out your front door with a box of jewelry that was just stolen from your gun safe, do you have a right to use deadly force?


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 Post subject: Re: Shoot or Don't Shoot
PostPosted: 05 Jan 2015 09:09 
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"If you see someone running out your front door with a box of jewelry that was just stolen from your gun safe, do you have a right to use deadly force?"

It is commonly accepted that one cannot use deadly force to protect property (whether this is, in fact, true or not I do not know) which I can see to some extent. I, however, do not agree with this 100% but how does one draw the lines?

Example: You live in the city and look out your window and see some dirtbag trying to steal your car. You could pop him from the window but that is illegal so you just watch as your car goes bye bye and hope the insurance covers it.

I agree with this only because it protects innocents from stray rounds. Most people can and will miss, even using a rifle, and a crowded city is no place to be shooting wildly. Look at all the bystanders who are shot every year in gang drive-by shootings...

Speaking strictly for myself, I look at things differently than many folks do, especially those "people" that make the laws. I feel that most laws are made by cowards to protect criminals and we're stuck with them. Reasonably assuming that my actions would harm no innocents and within common sense rational limits, I believe that if you perpetrate a crime against me or mine and I see you, your ass belongs to me.

Now, solely based upon the above, "If you see someone running out your front door with a box of jewelry that was just stolen from your gun safe, do you have a right to use deadly force?" Yes. I worked damn hard for those things and by what right does some sunuvabitch have to dare to take them away from me? Why should I have to work my arse off to try and replace the thing I already paid for once because some lazy, useless, piece of homo sapien excrement took them from me? He knew what he was doing. He planned it. He knew and took the risk. He lost. Screw him. If he doesn't drop MY BELONGINGS he get's it, like now!

Is this right? In my opinion yes.

Is this legal? Probably not.

Would I do this? No, because I don't want to lose everything I have and go to jail for some filthy piece of crap.

And that's how screwed up society is....

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 Post subject: Re: Shoot or Don't Shoot
PostPosted: 28 Jan 2015 15:15 
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handguntactics wrote:
As you both clearly recognize, these issues are complicated and most police departments are not willing to issue written directives concerning how you should deal with someone who is holding a gun. In some situations, shooting and killing someone who refuses to show his hands might be ruled a justifiable homicide, whereas as in other situations, shooting and killing someone who has fired a shot at you might be ruled first or second degree murder. In many cases, decisions that are made by police officers in less than one second will be tied up in criminal or civil courts for years after the incident occurred. Even if a police officer if found innocent of any criminal charges, civil litigation might drag on for years and the cost of defending yourself against civil charges can be astronomical even if all of the civil courts rule that you are not liable for any damages.

Here is a question that every US citizen should be able to answer: If you see someone running out your front door with a box of jewelry that was just stolen from your gun safe, do you have a right to use deadly force?


The problem with concise "written directives" is that it may hold the Officer to a very narrow standard. Because decisions are quite likely to be made in such a short time period & the uniqueness of just about every situation, one could find it VERY difficult to be within "policy". Instead, there are general guidelines.

In the OP, it does depend on many things. The ability to get behind cover/concealment, possible innocents in the area, etc. In general, it's what a "reasonable" person would perceive as a threat (To themself &/or others).

Several years ago, there was a particular shooting in the city next to the one I work for. 4 Officers ended up shooting a female who was bringing up a handgun. I won't go into the details, but all 4 Officers fired their firearms, killing the adult female. The shooting was rules justified, but later there was a big deal made about excessive shots fired. All 4 Officers ended up losing their jobs & the Department ended up under Federal oversight for several years along with some mandatory recommendations (Kind of like LAPD after the Rodney Kind incident).

I recall a meeting, after the incident, in which the assistant to the state AG was present. He (Being anti-gun, along with the then Republican AG) stated that he believed Officers should not fire their firearms until the/a weapon is pointed at them (Not as it's coming up or moving around in a threatening manner, but actually pointed at the Officer or someone). After everyone picked their jaws off the ground, it was suggested that he try some firearm simulations. At the time, we had a system that had an air soft gun above the simulation screen that can fire at the person as they're participating in the simulation (Cover & concealment, as well as movement while shooting were obviously things we were already training back then, about 15 yrs ago). Needless to say, he quickly realized that his original idea was not exactly a good one.

Over the years, a number of "less lethal" weapons have been developed & used. In the OP situation, it'd be highly likely that at least 1 bean bag shotgun & a taser would be available. If the person is not complying with lawful orders, but not actually pointing the weapon at anyone/anything, we'd probably shoot him with a bean bag round (Distance) with the taser as a backup.


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