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Harley Dude
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here is another brief story of an event that happened this last weekend.

We had a couple over for dinner on Monday night. The daughter and son in law of my wife's, former, deceased husband. They proceeded to tell this story.

Last Saturday night the daughter was up roaming the halls at 3 am and happened to look out the window. She saw a man attempting to break into her husbands van. She wakes up the husband who sleeps in the buff and he grabs his 9mm beretta and runs out the door nude.

Its cold outside folks. In the 30's and he runs down the driveway and the guy sees him and turns around. The husband blasts the gun in the air a few times and the guy runs off like he was shot from a cannon.

The husband sees lots of lights coming on in the neighborhood, realizes that he is standing there in the nude with a gun in his hand so he bolts back into the house.

Lucky man! Nobody called the cops except him and he did not say a word about the gunfire to the police.

This is a guy who does not shoot, never trains and his wife hates guns!

What did he do wrong??
 

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sig232 said:
What did he do wrong??
Well, assuming your question isn't rhetorical, I'll start off with a couple of obvious observations.

First, I feel his use of deadly force was most inappropriate. Even though his shots were fired in the air, the discharging of a firearm constitutes the use of deadly force. I don't know where this event took place, but I suspect the laws of most states would prohibit his actions. The story, as presented, does not indicate that the suspect represented any physical risk to the shooter. I was a law enforcement officer (full-time or part-time) for 29 years. As such I was trained that there are three situations in which I was authorized to use deadly force: when my life is endangered or I am at risk of serious physical injury; when someone else's life is endangered or at risk of serious physical injury; and to stop an escaping felon when all other methods fail.

Second, what goes up comes down.....somewhere. The story made reference to no one else calling a law enforcement agency. From this it appears that the incident took place in a populated neighborhood. The firing of warning shots into the air poses a danger to the lives and property of others. IF warning shots were appropriate (and I believe that would be a most unusual circumstance), then I would suggest that they be fired into the ground IF it could be done safely (ground not concrete or other hard surface, not frozen, paying attention to the angle of impact, etc.).

Third, and minor point as I believe the shooting was inappropriate to begin with, the shooter did not call out a warning. While such is probably not required, had he actually been threatened by the suspect, a warning before shooting could only work to help the shooter in the legal aftermath.

Fourth, since shots were fired and he failed to mention this when giving his report to the law enforcement officers, then it could be argued that he filed a "false" report. This is a pretty big detail to leave out of the report. Of course, considering the events as described, I completely understand why he left this out.

Just some of my thoughts on this matter.
 
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Gabby said:
and to stop an escaping felon when all other methods fail.
Which PD is that, that teaches shooting people in the back?

sig232 said:
What did he do wrong??
c'mon, have'im take at least basic pistol class, it ain't rocket science. btw, did you explain to him that shooting in the air is rather impractical as the force of gravity brings everything going up down?
 

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Rockatansky said:
Gabby said:
and to stop an escaping felon when all other methods fail.
Which PD is that, that teaches shooting people in the back?
The Departments I was on (City and County) did NOT teach this. I was relating the basic training I received at the State Academy. Also, please note that I did not say that shooting at an escaping felon was APPROPRIATE in every street situation. I merely stated the 3 types of circumstances where the USE of deadly force is AUTHORIZED. Such authorization does not mean that the USE of deadly force is appropriate for EVERY situation that falls under these circumstances. Before an officer decides to employ deadly force, he must FIRST determine if the situation AUTHORIZES such use. Then he must determine if such use is APPROPRIATE. If the decision is made to use deadly force, you can bet that he will come under extremely close scrutiny. And by the way, his split second decision will be second guessed over an extended period of time by Monday Morning Quarterbacks in the comfort of air conditioned offices while enjoying refreshments and cigarette breaks.

Though a situation may "authorize" the use deadly force, other factors come into play in determining if the "use" of deadly force is appropriate. The first two conditions (your life and safety or that of another person) are much easier to justify than the third. And by the way, it should also be pointed out that I was taught a road block may be construed to constitute deadly force.

As for using deadly force to stop an escaping felon, I can think of situations where not only would it be acceptable, but expected.
 
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Gabby is giving sound advice based on good training.

The North Central (Kennesaw, GA) LE Academy where I trained taught the exact same thing. If a known felon (especially armed) is allowed to escape and then murders, rapes or mutilates YOUR loved one you would quickly understand the need to stop a known, dangerous felon.

I once fired over the head of an obviously drug/alcohol impared teen. It was a rural setting with no chance of the bullet hurting someone. He had shouted that he had a gun but I never saw it and he never fired it. The young man subsequently was caught on another charge and received intense probation (ankle bracelet) and rehab. He has since turned his life around, is married and a family man. Although I may have been justified in shooting him I'm glad I didn't. I AM NOT a bleeding heart but I was brought up to value human life.

Just my humble opinion.
 

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whompuss said:
Gabby is giving sound advice based on good training.
Thank you for your kind words.

whompuss said:
Although I may have been justified in shooting him I'm glad I didn't. I AM NOT a bleeding heart but I was brought up to value human life.
Sounds like we share the same types of feelings and belief.

I've spoken with a number of individuals over the years who have offered bold comments about how they would "blow someone away" without a second thought. I suspect (and hope) that these individuals have never found themselves in a situation where the use of deadly force even has to be considered. I can attest that it is a most frightening occasion to look down the sights of a firearm at a living human being. And as for how you will react, you never know. Even if you've reacted quickly and correctly 99 times in a row, there is no guarantee that you won't "freeze" or "mess up" on the 100th occasion.

All I can say is that though over the years I have found it necessary and appropriate to employ the THREAT of deadly force, I thank God that I have never had to employ it's USE.
 
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May well be. Last thing I was told and taught (along with some local LEO's) that there are only TWO situations when deadly force is justified -- it's the first two you talked about. One of the things that they paid special attention to was that you CANNOT shoot someone fleeing, no matter the circumstance. I am not disagreeing or agreeing, just stating a fact. Again, that's probably based on state laws more than anything else, too.
 

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Rockatansky said:
One of the things that they paid special attention to was that you CANNOT shoot someone fleeing, no matter the circumstance. I am not disagreeing or agreeing, just stating a fact. Again, that's probably based on state laws more than anything else, too.
LEO's can shoot an escaping felon when it meets some basic criteria.

The below is the ruling taken from the Supreme Court case of Tennesse v. Garner that curbed LEO's from shooting all fleeing felons...which immediately led to a huge increase in crime BTW. Before this ruling, criminals stopped when police pulled their guns...now they just keep running. SCOTUS a friend to crime in some regards.

Could you imagine LEO's allowing violent inmates to escape from prison???....what the hell are the gun towers for??? Shooting clay pigeons? LOL
Where the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a threat of serious physical harm, either to the officer or to others, it is not constitutionally unreasonable to prevent escape by using deadly force. Thus, if the suspect threatens the officer with a weapon or there is probable cause to believe that he has committed a crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm, deadly force may be used if necessary to prevent escape, and if, where feasible, some warning has been given. . . .
Also, if I witness an aggravated rape or homicide and the guy tries to escape, I would be completely justified in shooting him. I probably wouldn't shoot someone breaking into my car (only because there is too much legal hassle about non-violent offenses) But I would definately confront him.
As for what this guy did wrong...he should have had his boxers and boots on when saw the guy breaking into his car...reminds me of this scene from a movie where guys were trying to jack this guys vehicle...bad idea.
 
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SatanzBountyHunter said:
Rockatansky said:
One of the things that they paid special attention to was that you CANNOT shoot someone fleeing, no matter the circumstance. I am not disagreeing or agreeing, just stating a fact. Again, that's probably based on state laws more than anything else, too.
LEO's can shoot an escaping felon when it meets some basic criteria.

The below is the ruling taken from the Supreme Court case of Tennesse v. Garner that curbed LEO's from shooting all fleeing felons...which immediately led to a huge increase in crime BTW. Before this ruling, criminals stopped when police pulled their guns...now they just keep running. SCOTUS a friend to crime in some regards.
Can I see some proof linking Tennesse v. Garner outcome to "huge increase in crime BTW", please. BTW, "fleeing" felon is a bit different from "fleeing suspect", now having witnessed a violent crime is somewhat different from shooting a shoplifter in the back, eh? Now, I don't know what the law is, I was taught something, and I am telling what I've been taught. Period.

SatanzBountyHunter said:
Could you imagine LEO's allowing violent inmates to escape from prison???....what the hell are the gun towers for??? Shooting clay pigeons? LOL
What heresy... "LOL" :roll: and since when is corrections officer is the same thing as a police office or peace officer or even a fed.

Okay, enough of a thread hijack. I am glad no one was hit in the shooting described above.
 

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Ancient Gaseous Emanation
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First, I think I'd have put my pants on.

Second, running outside without first reconnoitering the area, making sure the indvidual was alone, showed a lack of forethought.

Third, shooting a round or two into the air, or anywhere for that matter, as the individual is leaving is stupid, at best.

Fourth, I don't know if I'd call the police after the fact.

Fifth, If I had been this foolish I'd tell no one about it.
 

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BTW, "fleeing" felon is a bit different from "fleeing suspect", now having witnessed a violent crime is somewhat different from shooting a shoplifter in the back, eh?
Let me post this again and underline a key word here:
Where the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a threat of serious physical harm, either to the officer or to others, it is not constitutionally unreasonable to prevent escape by using deadly force. Thus, if the suspect threatens the officer with a weapon or there is probable cause to believe that he has committed a crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm, deadly force may be used if necessary to prevent escape, and if, where feasible, some warning has been given. . . .
Don't think shoplifters qualify as a someone using or threatening to use serious physical harm. An armed bank robber might fit that description.

and since when is corrections officer is the same thing as a police office or peace officer or even a fed.
Probably about the same time they were given a badge, the duty and authority to enforce the law and make decisions regarding the deadly use of force. Most state corrections officers are LEO certified, they just have a different job and jurisdiction.

As for the crime rate increasing after Tennessee v. Garner, I am looking up statistics right now and will post later when I get off work. In the mean time, feel free to ask any other veteran street officer if that didn't make a difference in the apprehension of suspects.
 

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Harley Dude
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
This event happened in Vancouver Washington recently.

The gentleman involved is not someone that you can consul, although he appears to usually react with "common sense!" This display was not a good demonstration of proper technique.

I too agree I would never shoot someone unless my life or the life of another was in danger. I would rather let them go than be responsible for taking a life for a minor property crime. Destruction to my home or theft of my auto may bring about a bit of a stronger reaction, hard to say how I would react without being in the middle of that situation.
 
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And then there's the issue of shrinkage! Another good reason to not run around in the cold, naked, in your front yard, with cars passing by! :shock: :eek:
 

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Gabby said:
First, I feel his use of deadly force was most inappropriate. Even though his shots were fired in the air, the discharging of a firearm constitutes the use of deadly force.
In Arizona firing a gun, any gun, into the air is a felony since they instituted "Shannon's Law". It was named after a girl who was killed by random gunfire fired into the air during celebration. (I can't remember if it was New Years or what.) There is a guy currently serving 10 years for a violation of it. There are inmates serving less time for murder. Police gave up firing "warning shots" years ago for the same reason, and the fact all they do is show the "suspect" you're not serious. Bill T.
 

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Harley Dude
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
billt said:
Gabby said:
First, I feel his use of deadly force was most inappropriate. Even though his shots were fired in the air, the discharging of a firearm constitutes the use of deadly force.
In Arizona firing a gun, any gun, into the air is a felony since they instituted "Shannon's Law". It was named after a girl who was killed by random gunfire fired into the air during celebration. (I can't remember if it was New Years or what.) There is a guy currently serving 10 years for a violation of it. There are inmates serving less time for murder. Police gave up firing "warning shots" years ago for the same reason, and the fact all they do is show the "suspect" you're not serious. Bill T.

I think to put people in prison for 10 years for firing a gun in the air is nuts. They proved on Myth Busters that the idea of a bullet coming down and the same speed as it is traveling out of a barrel is incorrect. Its all about the mass of the projectile and the force of gravity.
 
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SatanzBountyHunter said:
As for the crime rate increasing after Tennessee v. Garner, I am looking up statistics right now and will post later when I get off work. In the mean time, feel free to ask any other veteran street officer if that didn't make a difference in the apprehension of suspects.
You're right, I have no idea actually why I was even arguing :lol:.

I still would like to see the crime stats, even though I was asking about proof and statistics aren't anywhere near proof :) -- if they were, I could probably correlate the Santa Ana winds to increases in crime.
 

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sig232 said:
I think to put people in prison for 10 years for firing a gun in the air is nuts. They proved on Myth Busters that the idea of a bullet coming down and the same speed as it is traveling out of a barrel is incorrect. Its all about the mass of the projectile and the force of gravity.
I couldn't agree more. Going overboard seems to be common place today. It usually has minimal effect as well. Just look at these harsh drunk driving laws. Reports show that DUI arrests are on the rise once again, in spite of tougher laws. Bill T.
 

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Harley Dude
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
billt said:
sig232 said:
I think to put people in prison for 10 years for firing a gun in the air is nuts. They proved on Myth Busters that the idea of a bullet coming down and the same speed as it is traveling out of a barrel is incorrect. Its all about the mass of the projectile and the force of gravity.
I couldn't agree more. Going overboard seems to be common place today. It usually has minimal effect as well. Just look at these harsh drunk driving laws. Reports show that DUI arrests are on the rise once again, in spite of tougher laws. Bill T.

The laws just don't seem to make and sense to me. The come down hard on minor infractions but give the dangerous criminals a pass. Murder and rape in some cases are short sentences to get a conviction and you get 10 years for firing a gun into the air.

The angry folks who rob and use a gun in a crime are the ones that need to be put away long term. Especially the ones that have a rap sheet as long as your arm. Car theives get a pass up here as do folks doing the federal crime of stealing mail. But try to do a crime against a minority or gay and its a double jeopardy "hate crime" which carries much more severe penalties than crimes committed by the angry criminal. Seems like the system is all twisted around backwards and promoting a specific liberal agenda.

It must be really tough to be a LEO and watch serious criminals go in the front door and out of the back.
 
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