Lessons Learned Series| Episode 3.2

This is the second video breakdown from the officer involved shooting in Everett, MA. I originally published this video only to the Intel Brief subscribers. From time to time I will share relevant projects and content from the newsletter here, but if you want access to that content regularly you can subscribe here.

In this video, I breakdown the officer’s actions to get some valuable lessons that can be applied to both officers and civilians. Overall, the officer did a great job and prevailed through a extremely stressful situation. However, as with anything, there are always areas we can look at to improve upon and learn from.

What lessons do you take away from this incident?

11 thoughts on “Lessons Learned Series| Episode 3.2

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  1. Circle of Death. If the officer would have stepped to the suspects left, he would have placed himself into the circle of death where the suspect would have had control and greater opportunity for the attack.

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      1. Barrier is a good option but ends up running around the car with a knife wielding maniac who might then injure a third party passing by.
        Positioning the patrol car as was done, protects what the officer felt was a mundane call, and the tail of the car protruding to cover himself from traffic. I too, would have gone to the curb and a bit closer to the intersection. In the days when I was a cop, we disarmed knifemen by hand. The 21-foot rule came out as I was wrapping up my career, and wondered about it. The common thinking was, “It’s only a knife. Handle it”, was what was heard. Then, it would be necessary to step into the knifeman’s circle, and spin him to his left, while disarming. Thing’s changed. I remember hand-to-hand engagements in Southeast Asia, where there was complete chaos several times, and again, step in, spin them to their left but attack with hatchet. Bloody and brutal. In the streets, you see a knife in their hand, you get your gun into your hand forthwith, and be ready to kill them, or the son-of-a-bitch will have no problem killing you.
        Almost ten years ago I walked out of a bank and someone appeared to be walking in, but had a knife at the ready in his hand and tried to rob me. I disarmed him but got cut. I stepped in and went for his windpipe. He had the look of fear on his face, and threw it into reverse and I missed his windpipe. He ran off. A couple people screaming. They called 9-1-1, while I was angry as hell, and kicked the cheap knife down a dry well. Blood leaking from the cut between the palm swell of my left hand to the first knuckle. Let it bleed. You don’t know what bacteria is on that blade. I got into my Jeep and mad because I missed his windpipe, I knew then that I was getting old. About a block or two away, in the opposite direction, approaching, were the Glamor Boys. Light and sirens, a day late and a dollar short. I carry the scar. Actually, the scar balances the teeth scarring on the knuckles of my right hand. In the local barroom, when the guys start talking “scars”, I show them mine, and they kind of move away from me about one or two bar stools. (I laugh)

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      1. Level-3 holsters, in my opinion, are a very good piece of equipment to prevent the service weapon to get into unauthorized hands. In fact, a couple of street fights On-Duty, the perps did try to unholster my weapon, from an NYPD swivel holster for the S&W Model-10, but they did not know how to unlatch the recoil shield flap. I also had a habit of breaking in all holsters prior to wearing them On-Duty, the old swivel holsters and the Gould&Goodrich B501 models. Anticipate trouble. Expect the unexpected, always. Covering 21 feet, I will say this, the North Vietnamese regulars, when they charged, could cover about 100 yards and be on top of you from the time you notice them, to firing your rifle, once. On the streets, knives were produced at about ten to fifteen feet. Twenty-one feet, for a six foot attacker, is only a matter of a few strides. The most dangerous of them held the knife with blade pointed down, to punch/slash, then back motion stab.
        The article is on the money. It is also one reason why any armed person needs to know the hip-shooting position to fire as soon as the weapon is unholstered and brought into performance, similar to the old FBI training. That shot must be accurate from three feet to seven feet. I once worked with an old-timer, who wore a deformed shield. He refused to have the shield replaced. He went to a shoplifting call, and was going to take the suspect out of the store, and placed his hand on the man’s upper arm. The man spun, and pulled a gun from his coat pocket and shot the cop, hitting his badge. The old-timer emptied his service revolver into the suspect, killing him. Complacency, kills.
        I used to shoot 400 rounds a day, seven days a week, because I did not want any wild shots hitting anyone unintended. I belonged to three gun clubs and had access to the ranges when they were open and one by key, where two men tried lurking at night until I instinctively felt an attack coming. I removed my shield from inside my shirt and had my gun out. They ran off. Not many cops qualify as Distinguished Pistol Expert. That was my baseline. It also paid off in three On-Duty shootings, where I fired a total of eight rounds, got eight hits, and killed seven gunmen. Administrators put me in hack on desk duty for it, but what did they want, a police funeral? There is absolutely zero compromise, in any armed confrontation, whether knife or gun is encountered. Another thing, is my belief that calibers and ammunition need to be sufficient to halt, any attacker. In my first shooting, a robbery suspect was fleeing, and Central had me set up just past a highway entry ramp where the Highway Patrol had closed off. I hear sirens, then see red roof light. Here comes the “camel caravan”. As the suspect car passes the ramp, I throw the patrol car into Drive, and T-Bone the suspect car. He exits through the driver’s window shooting twice at me, looking right at me. The patrol car doors are jammed and only open a slight bit. My partner barely managed to get his gun out, and I unholster and fire from between the A-pillar and door frame. In the street lighting, I only see the suspect’s face, and fire one round, just above the browline and nose, back of his head blowing out. I was made to give my gun and badge to the captain and rode a desk for 18 months, answering phones and doing paperwork. Then, one afternoon I go to work, and the captain called me into his office. He took a brown paper bag, and out of it drops my revolver and badge. He said it was against his better judgement but he was severely shorthanded that tour. In the locker room I get ready and everyone is cat calling. At roll call, I am partnered with my old partner, who says, “try not to kill anyone tonight”, and everyone laughed. Central was holding nine jobs from the previous tour. Running back and forth, criss crossing four sectors we are covering. Finally, about four hours into the tour (8 pm), a lull. We stop at a bodega for coffee. I never call in my position but figured I might be watched as it is my first night back on patrol, so call in position and “getting a container of coffee”. The Arab bodega, neighborhood so rough, the Hispanics sold the place to Arabs. They make good coffee. I walk in, set two containers up, throw four tablespoons of sugar and then fill halfway with milk for my partner (he wonders why he farts so much), and for me, black, no sugar. As I hear a gunshot and a jar breaks above my head, the hat brim leaking whatever was in the jar, I see a kid standing with a gun. I fire, and hit him in the forehead. A second male jumps up and shoots. Again I shoot. Forehead. I run through the aisles. Are there any more in here? I peek in the backroom and see the clerk tied to a chair, bleeding, and I run over to the far aisle. A third male with a gun. I double tap center mass. My partner comes running in. He already called “Shots Fired. Officer Involved”. He yells, “What did you do?!”. I am running around aisles like a crazed man. About 100 cops burst through the door. The clerk was new and the robbery crew tied him up with clothesline and pistol whipped him for the floor safe combination, but he did not know it. Ambulance on the way. The captain walks in. (What a mess). Blood. Brains. Three dead males. My Internal Affairs “buddies”, again Miranda me on tape. Gun and badge taken. Twelve months, riding a desk. I was going to resign. Then the boss gave me back the gun and shield, from the same paper bag. I sarcastically said the bag looked worn out, would he want me to stop by the liquor store and get him a dog’s leg. He was livid. “Yes sir”. Back on patrol. About four months later, US Marshals are serving a warrant in the projects, Central calls for backup. I was right around the corner. Into the stairwell. Turn my hat around backwards (stairwells are kill zones). I hear a door open a see shadows. I shout, “POLICE! DON’T MOVE!”. They respond, “US Marshals!”, and I hear automatic gunfire. They were serving a warrant and walked right into a major drug operation. Another voice shouts, “they went down the back stairway”. We run downstairs, and see a car peeling out. Marshals pursue. I pursue, and see the red lights showing up and call that it’s mobile, and direction. At the waterfront, by truck loading docks, they shot the street lamps out and were shooting. The guys up front empty their revolvers and I say to step behind me and reload, while I covered and saw motion. I fired. Then I see three shadowed males run to the corner and turn. Cops get in the patrol cars and reverse. I run almost to the corner but figure an ambush is waiting, so I cut the corner by degrees, and it’s empty. I see a male a block away, fall. Other two, running. I give the downed male, the infantry kick. He’s dead. Then I see the second male fall. I run up, kick. Dead. Where did the third male go? Maybe he hijacked a car, or is in the topless bar. We run into the topless bar, and the bouncers would not let up in, so I gave the Dick Butkus, “Out of my way”, shove. Lights are turned on, girls exit the stage. We search. Nothing. Again at a topless bar a couple blocks away, same thing. We go to the hospital down the avenue, but they did not want us searching and had to wait for detectives and plainclothes. Uniforms covered every exit in teams of four to six men. Nothing. The next day, as I was walking into the stationhouse, the desk officer said there was someone across county who walked into an emergency ward with a gunshot wound. I said that it could be anything, then the lieutenant said, “the guy refuses to let them operate and remove the bullet”. That translates into, it is a cop’s bullet, and evidence. Detectives were already there. When I got there the guy was dead. Autopsy, removed a bullet from his neck. A month later, ballistics confirmed the three perps had bullets that were fired from my service weapon. No other wounds.
        It happens fast. Very fast. If you are not thinking, you get killed. Knife, gun, or anything else. I was labelled a “mad dog killer”. Nobody would partner up with me. All the rookies were warned about me and they were afraid to work with me. We got seven new kids. One kid had to work with me as I was a former FTO, and the tour was short handed. He had the look of fear on his face. It was Friday night 11 pm. I tuck the patrol car past a building line and watch the traffic light operate. He doesn’t know what I’m doing. I explain. We watch. Then as the light goes red facing traffic across us, a car goes though and three males, they turret head me as they pass. I pull out. Lights, tap the siren. They fidget. I unholster my revolver. More fidgeting. I want to see hands. I see something else. The kid walks up with his summons book and pen in hand. I tell him to put that away, and I get the trio out one at at time. I carried three sets of cuffs, because trouble, really does come in threes. Yeah, they’re going to sue me. I tell them, “Shut up, Stupid”. I get the kid, and tell him to look in the Benzy Box. He sees nothing. Here, use my light. Nothing. I grab him from the nape of the neck and almost push his face into it and he says, “Oh shit! A gun!”. I tell him to remove it and I secure it. One round was in the chamber. Magazine full. It’s nobody’s gun. Amazing. I ask who’s drugs are under the seats. Nobody’s. The plates don’t match the registration sticker. Car belongs to a friend but they forgot his name. I give the collar to the rookie. I help process all the paperwork. He got a medal. Excellent Police Duty. I bought the new shield backing, and he says he wants to put his qualification medal on, so I buy a two medal rack, and an American flag. I set it all up. Next tour, six other rookies were almost arguing who, would ride with me. They all ended up getting collars. They all got their first medal. Yes, I bought at the cop shop, shield backings, qualification bars, and American flags. They learned good, and became experienced cops. Watch the peoples’ hands. Watch their body language. Everything, happens fast.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Chris,

    This is a great post. You share valuable points, including the use of a well positioned vehicle to offer cover.

    Another valuable point was highlighting how the Officer maintained and manipulated distance to stay safe. His angle-change during the proxemic push was tactically useful.

    I like how you tied this in with some sport empty-hand examples as well.

    Great points. Great post.


    Liked by 1 person

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