Would you have been able to protect yourself in this situation? Be honest! Deadly force encounters don’t announce themselves, and the ability to transition from talking to shooting is a critical component of Active Self Protection. Sgt Green and Officer Griffin both did a fine job here, and their decisive action teaches us all some important lessons.
News story with more details on the incident: http://get-asp.com/vz3x
Original video of Sgt Green’s body cam: http://get-asp.com/nrid
Original video of Officer Griffin’s body cam: http://get-asp.com/jidz
Interview with the suspect’s brother, which is surprising: http://get-asp.com/8gkm
What lessons can we learn from this officer involved shooting?
- In the moment, it is not possible to tell the difference between a real firearm and a replica. This reminds us that the media hype surrounding someone having a fake gun and being shot is hype and not reality. In the heat of the moment it is perfectly sane and reasonable to treat that gun as real and defend yourself against the person wielding it such that they cannot hurt you with it.
- Both sighted fire and point shooting are necessary skills for self-defenders. The first shot that Sgt Green fired was point shooting. Knowing instinctively how to get the firearm tracking where you want to shoot and being able to get a shot on target as fast as humanly possible is a critical skill in a gunfight.
- Shooting fast is great; shooting fast with accuracy is critical. Sgt Green took nine shots, and he was shooting about .25 splits (I counted in my editing software). That’s about what we see, again and again, in deadly force encounters. That makes training to the standard of being able to put shots in a man-sized target at 5 yards in that kind of split territory an important performance benchmark to train towards!
- I like that Sgt Green knew when to move from hands-on to his firearm. He tried to take the suspect down but he was too big and moved away, and as soon as he realized that he wasn’t going to be able to control him, Sgt. Green created distance, drew his firearm, and started putting shots on target. That was significant! He didn’t hesitate one bit.
- The strobe on the pistol-mounted light was annoying, but having a light to see what was going on was very helpful. It’s dark a lot of places a lot of the time, so if possible I really recommend having a light mounted on your pistol. (I keep this one on mine: https://get-asp.com/NightStand) Notice that in the point-shooting maelstrom of the fight that the laser on Sgt Green’s gun didn’t really come into play at all. A laser might be helpful in other situations, but it isn’t really helpful in the instant stress of a draw and shoot gunfight.
- Officer Griffin did a great job communicating with her partner. If you are not LEO, you might still have a partner in your spouse or best friend who you’re out with. She didn’t just scream, she alerted her partner to the danger and being able to verbalize is important!
- Capacity matters, everyone! Sgt. Green shot nine times before the threat ended. Nine. If he was carrying a 1911 or a single stack, he would have needed a reload. So do you carry one? I hope so! (and of course, I know that he wouldn’t carry a low capacity firearm on duty, but I just saw a local officer carrying a 1911 on duty last week, so it’s pertinent to LEO, and I know LOTS of CCW who carry fewer than 9 in the gun they carry every day)
Attitude. Skills. Plan.