Category Archives: deadly force

Intended Victim not ‘Subject’

The man did not know he was being followed according to police and once at the man’s home, [the shootee] allegedly produced a firearm and confronted the subject [sic] as he was trying to get out of his vehicle and go into his home.

https://wfxl.com/news/local/valdosta-shooting-ruled-self-defense

‘Subject,’ in POlice terms, is almost always used in the context of a wrong doer. In current times, the default treatment of anyone who shoots someone else is that the shooter is a criminal who must then prove his or her innocence. While some States provide some legal protection for self-defense, unless you never travel outside the county you live in, those protections cannot be relied on. ‘Stand Your Ground’ should always be viewed as a courtroom strategy not a tactical option. Keep that in mind. Do your best to AVOID or ESCAPE prior to being forced into CONFRONT or RESIST.

Surveillance Detection is a useful skill. Your car mirrors are a tool for you to use frequently, especially at 5AM. It’s beneficial to always take a few turns for Surveillance Detection purposes prior to committing yourself to turning into your driveway or other place you cannot escape from. Once you are Decisively Engaged https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/situational-awareness-and-positioning-part-i/ because your path is blocked, you are forced to CONFRONT or RESIST.

Note also that “the man was able to retrieve a handgun of his own.” ‘Retrieve’ most likely means that the gun was in the car not on his person. This mention is not intended as commentary about leaving unsecured guns in cars. Rather, it is an observation that many of the incidents in my database involve successfully accessing guns that are stored off-body.

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Purchase of any book includes Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make.

The Sandra Ochoa Incident (Shooting Analysis)

Body Worn Video (BWV) not only has value for analysis of Use of Force, it also can be used as a shooting analysis tool. By looking at a BWV in conjunction the results of a subsequent investigation, we can arrive at a more complete picture of the shooting incident.

On May 31, 2020, LAPD officers responded to a radio call of a “murder suspect there now.” Upon arrival, the officers observed the suspect cutting the victim’s throat and an Officer-Involved Shooting (OIS) occurred. The BWV of both officers present was later released by the LAPD. The incident was adjudicated by the LAPD Board of Police Commissioners on May 4, 2021. The shooting was ruled objectively reasonable, necessary, and In Policy. https://www.lapdonline.org/assets/pdf/023-20-ois-pr.pdf

A short edited and annotated video of the shooting portion of the incident is available on my YouTube Channel.

Several points can be derived from the BWV and the subsequent investigation and rulings. The first is that there is a significant difference between a shooting and gunfight. Noted firearms authority Ken Hackathorn mentioned years ago that a Private Citizen is just as likely to be involved in a ‘shooting’ as in a ‘gunfight,’ if not more so. In a shooting, there is sufficient cause to use a firearm (deadly force) in defense against an assailant who is armed with a contact weapon or personal weapons (fists, shod feet, etc.). This incident is a good example. The assailant was armed with a pair of scissors and succeeded in murdering her victim with those scissors.

The cadence of shooting by Officer A is another item we can analyze. The LAPD Force Investigation Division quantified the officer’s splits (time between shots) as follows:

  • Shot 2 – 0.340
  • Shot 3 – 0.286
  • Shot 4 – 0.232
  • Shot 5 – 0.247

The average of those splits was 0.276 seconds, with a total time for the first 5 shots of 1.105. The officer was shooting at a cyclic rate for the first five shots. Although he said he ‘assessed’ between those shots, it’s unlikely there was any assessment between shots 1 through 5. Shot number 6 had a split time of 0.711. That’s the more likely point of there being an assessment of bullet damage, i.e., target effect.

Just like Sergeant Tim Gramins in 2013 https://www.police1.com/officer-shootings/articles/why-one-cop-carries-145-rounds-of-ammo-on-the-job-clGBbLYpnqqHxwMq/ , he may have said to himself, “Hey, I need to slow down and aim better.” I.e., shoot better – meaning, achieve an adequate sight picture and perform a smoother trigger press. What likely occurred by the officer was a ‘Bullet damage assessment’ after 5 shots, followed by a marksmanship improvement and a more accurate 6th shot.

Of the 6 shots fired, 2 were hits. There’s no way to say for sure but the likelihood is that of the first 5 shots, 1 was a hit. The 6th shot was likely a hit and perhaps a better hit that got the message across. Viewed this way, there were actually 2 sequences of fire. Sequence 1 consisted of 5 shots resulting in 1 hit, a 20% hit ratio. Sequence 2 consisted of 1 shot, which resulted in 1 hit, a 100% hit ratio.

Nothing in this analysis is intended as a criticism of the officer. Shooting someone who isn’t immediately adjacent to a victim is difficult enough. Shooting with an innocent downrange and right next to the assailant is a very difficult task that is seldom practiced for.

Although the victim in this case died, there’s a good chance she had been fatally wounded prior to the shooting. The officer did the best he could under the circumstances. Not all situations have a Positive Outcome.

Other items of note were that, as is frequently the case, the officer under-estimated the number of shots he fired. There’s nothing uncommon about that. In most of the Categorical Use of Force reports, when more than two shots are fired, the officer undercounts. On the other hand, the officer estimated the distance of the shot quite accurately. He thought it was 20 to 25 feet and the actual distance was 18 feet. Very few people’s eyeballs are calibrated to better than 10% margin of error for distance.

The full LAPD news release video (NRF023-20) is posted on the LAPD YouTube Channel.

Incidents like these, but involving off duty officer incidents, is why I found my work on Real Shootouts of the LAPD https://realshootoutsofthelapd.com/ so worthwhile. The off duty Officer Involved Shootings very much mirrored the thousands of Private Citizen Armed Encountered I have studied. However, there was a great deal more detail available about what led up to the encounter and how it unfolded.

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Suspect Held at Gunpoint (temporarily)

https://www.foxnews.com/us/caroline-schollaert-murder-florida-man-charged

Sequence of events

  • Perp establishes Line of Business consisting of checking car door handles for unlocked cars to burglarize
  • Perp finds gun in unlocked car and steals it
    • “The firearm used by the suspect in this murder was found to be stolen from an unlocked vehicle in the same neighborhood just eleven days prior.” –JSO
  • Eleven days later, perp is carrying said stolen pistol while burglarizing the car of a USCG Servicemember
  • Servicemember detects the burglary in progress
  • SM calls 911
  • SM gets own pistol and confronts would-be burglar, ordering him to remain in place until POlice arrive
  • Perp refuses to comply and instead draws stolen pistol
  • Perp fires several shots and hits SM at least once, incapacitating her
  • Perp departs
  • POlice arrive and ‘attend’ to SM
  • SM dies from wounds
  • POlice identify perp
  • Perp turns himself in
  • Family, friends, and fellow SM are heartbroken
  • Perp is charged with murder in the second degree
  • Family, friends, and fellow SM are still heartbroken

Negative Outcome for everyone involved

“Don’t go looking for trouble not expecting to find it.” –John Farnam https://defense-training.https://defense-training.com/present-tense/com/present-tense/

Possible tactical alternatives

  • If you feel compelled to challenge a criminal, do so from a position of cover (concealment does not count as cover). If no cover is available, do not challenge.
  • Use a high intensity flashlight to illuminate and blind the perp before issuing the challenge.
  • If your car door is locked, illuminate the perp with your flashlight from a considerable distance without issuing a challenge.
  • At your own residence, have a large bear-spray type canister of OC close at hand. Spray the perp, without warning, at the maximum range of the container. Be sure to saturate him from the top of his head to the tips of his toes. Then immediately seek cover if you’re not already behind it.
    • “Begin to attrit the enemy at the maximum effective range of your weapons.” –Infantry maxim

Facebook link to Sheriff’s Office Press Conference

https://fb.watch/7l5H9RudgH/

We strongly recommend citizens lock their vehicles and absolutely remove their firearms when exiting. Please do not provide criminals with easy access to a gun that will only be used in more criminal, and as in this case, violent acts.

Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office

Very sad. RIP Airman Schollaert

Bloody Violent Battle in Barbershop

From the ARMED CITIZEN AUGUST 2021 page of the NRA Official Journals:

On the evening of May 21, a 33-year-old man walked into a barber shop in Riverside, Calif., apparently intent on causing harm. According to the Riverside Police Department, the suspect, an ex-employee, started a fight with a former co-worker. During the fight, the suspect stabbed one of the male barbers, and, when a second employee tried to intervene, he was also stabbed. However, one of the victims was able to retrieve his firearm and shoot the attacker. The suspect was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead by the coroner. The two stabbing victims’ injuries reportedly were not life-threatening and deputies said they considered the shooting to be a case of self-defense. (losangeles.cbslocal.com and pe.com, Riverside, Calif., 5/21/21)

The original story is here.

https://www.pe.com/2021/05/22/man-stabs-2-barbers-in-riverside-before-victim-shoots-him-to-death/

Armed Citizen Task Analysis

  • Retrieve from Storage (handgun)
    • Implied task – avoid menacing others with your handgun as you retrieve it and bring it to bear on the attacker (Rule 2). “Muzzle direction is the primary safety. Always has been and always will be.” –Bill Rogers
    • Implied task – maintain trigger finger in register position until indexed on the attacker (Rule 3). “An Unintentional Discharge during an incident can become a disaster.” –John Farnam
  • Shoot with handgun (Proxemic Distance – Social Space) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proxemics
  • Shoot in midst of others, some possibly downrange.
  • Implied situational task – don’t send rounds flying out into the parking lot.
    • “One motorist snapped a photo of the shop… A window that had been pierced by a bullet was boarded up.” -Press-Enterprise
  • Implied situational task – don’t send rounds flying into adjacent businesses.
    • “as you can see, we got a grocery store here, some fast food places, other businesses” – POlice spokesman

Here’s a more lurid description of the incident with an “Example of a knife.” Perhaps it’s Jason’s knife.

The Armed Citizen is a good resource for starting a task analysis of incidents from The Real World™.

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Low Light Indoor Match

#flashlightfriday

I had the opportunity to attend a low light shooting match at a local indoor range yesterday evening. My goal for the evening was to observe closely so I didn’t shoot it. The format consisted of clearing three rooms and a hallway constructed of plastic sheets. It was done three times with targets moved around each time. The shooters had a look at the layout lighted the first time but subsequent stages were not.

Non-threat targets (Don’t Shoots) were designated with hands painted on them.

These non-threat targets were interspersed among the threat targets.

Some of the shooters had weapon mounted lights but many did not.

A few observations:

  • Some attendees, although regular shooters, had never shot while using a flashlight.
  • Most of the shooters had some familiarity with flashlight technique but mostly on a theoretical basis.
  • The cadence of shooting, in terms of splits, transitions, and moving from position to position, really slows down when using a flashlight in low light.
  • The difference in light intensity when going from almost no light,

to illuminating with a high intensity light

can be momentarily disconcerting, even to the person holding the light.

Matches like these represent the practical application of theoretical techniques. They are a valuable exercise for everyone who participates.

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Consistency (again)

In my book, consistency does not mean 70%, it means 100%. I’ve written about it before https://wordpress.com/post/tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/173323 but it’s worth mentioning again.

That’s the reason I prefer evaluation protocols that involve short 100% standards that are done repetitively. I would rather someone know exactly what they can do to a 100% standard and stay within those boundaries than have two rounds out of six going into someone else’s house.

Two NRA standards come to mind.

  1. the Red, White, and Blue Levels of the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting
  2. the NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program – Defensive Pistol I

Naturally, I love the 5^5 standard I developed, based on Gila Hayes‘ original 5 times 4 idea.

Work on learning to do one thing consistently well, then move on to more Cool Kid Cosplay stuff.

Package Deal Update

I’m gratified that Thinking Clearly about Self-Defense and Personal Protection has been well received. One reader sent me the following comment, which I found quite gratifying.

I went through the book quickly and my initial impression is that it is superb. Tremendous intellectual effort and incredibly sage and mature counsel on the subject. It’s also incredibly in-depth and thoughtful.

J.T.

I want to spread the word as far as I can so I’ve now included it in the Shooting Drills Package https://www.payloadz.com/go/sip?id=3348053

The Package still includes Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make, also.

I appreciate the loyalty of those who have already purchased the Package, so I will be sending previous purchasers a download link for the book.

Two non-gun related books heavily influenced me in writing the book. The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli and Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends by Martin Lindstrom are both very insightful books about topics that aren’t often discussed.

Without knowing a proper name for it, I’ve been working with ‘small data’ for decades. I think Lindstrom would have approved of the Deloitte & Touche Real Estate Capital Markets Database that I created years ago. It started out with a few notes in Word and eventually grew into the broadest analysis of Wall Street’s entry into the commercial real estate finance business that has been done. Even the Wall Street soothsayers were only tracking 20 percent of the data in my database.

Contrary to the popular opinion that “the plural of anecdote is not data,” Lindstrom’s work shows that the opposite is actually true. All of Gary Klein’s work about decision-making is based on small data. Concealed Carry Skills and Drills, one of the books in the Package, is based on the concept of small data.

The collection of books in the Package presents a very comprehensive view of using firearms and other tools for preservation of life. Tools, skills, philosophy, and pitfalls are all covered. Those who are serious about our Art will find them useful reading, I am sure. I hope you will consider purchasing the collection.

Man shot and killed for peeing in public – Or was he?

Title of the story:

Man urinating in Houston street shot dead after being confronted by angry residents

https://currently.att.yahoo.com/news/man-urinating-houston-street-shot-114605999.html

This certainly implies that this poor gentleman was killed for relieving himself.

However, more details come out further down the page.

Houston Police Department spokesperson Lt Ronnie Willkens said witnesses told police the victim was in the neighbourhood [sic] to buy drugs, and that an unspecified number of residents confronted him when he started urinating in the street.

Then the plot thickens further:

Fuentes and the suspect then got into an argument, during which both men pulled out guns. The suspect shot Fuentes-Buezo and then fled the scene.

The details are sketchy so far but there’s a distinct possibility that ‘Mr. Pee Pee’ pulled a gun on the wrong person in the group that confronted him.

Of course, there’s the de rigueur regurgitation of anti-gun statistics at the end of the article.

Here’s the original story by The Independent.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/crime/houston-man-shot-urinating-texas-b1865280.html

The headline looks like this on a Google search.

It’s called Yellow Journalism https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_journalism in the US and Tabloid Journalism https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabloid_journalism in Lost Britain (formerly known as the United Kingdom). This story is a very pure example.

The sadly entertaining thing is that The Independent tries to put on the image that it isn’t a Tabloid Journal.

Anyone who thinks there’s not a Culture War going on is sadly mistaken.

The BOGO on Tactical Professor books continues

I’m grateful to my subscribers who send me news reports about the Negative Outcomes gunowners encounter. The ones about children gaining unauthorized access to guns really make me sad, especially because some folks defend practices that lead to those tragedies. Consequently, the purchase of any Tactical Professor book now includes a free copy of Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make.

In addition, I have reduced the price of Serious Mistakes by itself to $4.99. I’d make it free except that people only value things they pay for.

If anyone who has purchased any of my books would like a free copy of Serious Mistakes, email me through the About section above and I will send you one.

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Deadly Conduct and Attempted Murder

Those are the charges in two incidents where Negative Outcomes resulted from gunfire. Both situations occurred when people thought they were making good decisions about employing a firearm for Personal Protection but the legal system doesn’t agree. Unfortunately, both incidents are material for the updated and expanded Second Edition of Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make http://seriousgunownermistakes.com that will be published later this year.

Mom charged [with Deadly Conduct] after shooting her 5-year-old son while trying to target loose dog, H[ouston]PD says

https://abc13.com/mom-accidentally-shoots-her-son-trying-to-shoot-dog-5-year-old-shot-by-angelia-mia-vargas-deadlyconduct-of-a-firearm/10728726/

A mother [who was riding a bike down the street] has been charged after accidentally shooting her 5-year-old son [who was also riding his bike down the street] while trying to shoot a dog that was running across the street in north Houston, according to Houston police.

FBI agent charged [with Attempted Murder and other crimes] in off-duty shooting of man on subway

https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/fbi-agent-charged-off-duty-shooting-man-subway-78019158

Valdivia shot and wounded the man from a distance of roughly 2 to 3 feet (0.6 to 0.9 meters) after repeatedly telling the man to back up, county prosecutor Robert Hill said in court.

The man had approached Valdivia on a train, sat across from him and asked the agent for money, Hill said. The man muttered expletives and began to walk away when the agent said he didn’t have any money to give, the prosecutor added.

‘Watch your mouth,’ the agent told the man, according to Hill.

After the man turned and approached him again, Valdivia pulled a gun from a holster and shot him, the prosecutor said. Another passenger was in the agent’s line of fire, about 15 feet (4.6 meters) away, [which resulted in an additional charge of Reckless Endangerment] but wasn’t harmed, Hill added.

Note that getting the last word in, e.g., “Watch your mouth,” is not the way to Break Contact. Breaking Contact (Part I) The moment a criminal, or in this case undesirable, breaks contact, let it go. If possible, increase your distance by going in the opposite direction. Moving away from an adversary is a good skill to practice, probably far more useful in everyday life than practicing shooting on the move.

Guns are not general purpose tools for Personal Protection. They are special purpose tools that are useful only in a very limited set of circumstances. The legal system did not believe either of these incidents fell within that set of circumstances. Probably both persons charged will end up pleading to lesser offenses. Whether those will be felonies or not remains to be seen.

The mother’s relationship with her son is unlikely to ever be the same and she may lose her right to own a firearm forever. The FBI Agent’s once promising career is over, even if he is acquitted on all the charges, which is unlikely. At best, he can hope to keep his job as an FBI Agent, if he wins acquittal. The chances he will ever advance or get a good assignment again are minuscule.

Minuscule – very small

If you carry a gun, carry pepper spray, PERIOD. Lacking a non-lethal force option implies that all you are willing and capable of doing to defend yourself and your loved ones is to kill someone. That’s not a rational decision.

Whether it was necessary to do anything in the dog incident at all is questionable but using pepper spray as a defensive tool would have had less consequences. Also try to avoid or deal with having irrational fears about dogs.

The important thing in viewing these stories is not to harsh on the persons involved because that’s easy but non-productive. Rather, try to learn something from their misfortunes.

  • Do you consistently carry a non-lethal force option?
  • Have you practiced with your NL force option using an inert version?
Practicing with an emptied inert unit
  • If you have irrational fears, have you confronted them and programmed yourself with a rational response to the trigger?
  • Have you mentally and physically practiced breaking contact?

Gaining knowledge from others’ experiences is one of the useful legs of Will Rogers’ learning triad. https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/116468-there-are-three-kinds-of-men-the-ones-that-learn

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Breaking Contact (Part 5)

#mindsetmonday

Our goal in personal protection is to force a break in contact. We want them to go away, or we want to go away. One or the other.

The final segment of the CCW Safe Series about my concept of Breaking Contact is posted.

https://ccwsafe.com/blog/breaking-contact-pt-5

This edition focuses on success stories. I like those.

[W]hen a concealed carrier enters a self-defense situation with the goal of breaking contact — as opposed to a goal of killing or disabling an attacker — the defender has a substantially higher likelihood of avoiding a deadly shooting or making a successful self-defense claim when all else fails.

Shawn Vincent