(NSFW language) Even if your verbal judo is up to par, as part of your Active Self Protection you still need to have a variety of skills and a plan to change your approach in a heartbeat if the encounter goes from verbal to physical to deadly. This officer involved shooting highlights the chaotic nature of a gunfight for sure! How would you have responded in Officer Luna’s shoes?
Original video and news story on the incident: http://get-asp.com/j1ig
What can an officer involved shooting teach LEO and CCW alike?
1. Unpredictable people are just that: unpredictable. Officer Luna stopped this guy for a bad tail light, and stepped into the middle of a huge problem that he had no control over. This guy had a history with the law, firearms, and mental instability. He had no idea when he pulled the guy over that this was going down. For all of us, the lesson is clear: be ready for what you think is a routine part of life to turn into a deadly force encounter without a lot of warning. Of all of the officer involved shootings we see, very few of them come with any appreciable warning. If you’re CCW and not LEO, this could just as easily be your uncle or neighbor or some guy in your aisle at the grocery store.
2. You must know the appropriate response to the situation you face. Officer Luna did the best he could to de-escalate and use verbal skills (and good verbal judo) to try to control the encounter. When it came time to use empty-handed skills, he didn’t hesitate and went to work. When the threat escalated, he disengaged and got to a place to defend himself with deadly force. (it wasn’t needed; the news story says another officer shot the aggressor) And then when he had a partner down, he was able to regain his composure and start emergency medical care (did you hear him say “apply pressure”?).
3. Officer Luna’s body camera was glasses-mounted, and we can see that the glasses came off in the struggle. If you wear prescription glasses, be ready for them to be knocked off in a deadly force encounter! Train with them on and off, so that you’re ready for what might come in either case. If you wear prescription lenses, can you still see your front sight with them off? Can you put shots on target accurately? These are important questions to ask.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.