Man shot in neighbor’s home charged after allegedly undressing in 12-year-old’s bedroom during break-in
Although this incident occurred in April, it recently re-surfaced as an example of a Defensive Gun Use. As is frequently the case, Internet common taters had numerous things to say about it.
- Needs more practice.
- Only six? Should have emptied the magazine!
- Too bad the dirtbag’s not in the morgue.
It’s easy to focus on the unimportant aspects of an incident. All of the commentary focused on feelings, which are unimportant, instead of Lessons to be Learned (LTBL), which are important.
How do we focus on what’s important? One way to start is to identify who was involved by role rather than name. Most the time, news stories use last names but that tends to obscure who did what. Substituting a role for names in the story leads to more clarity about the actions of the participants. For this incident, it would look as follows.
Cast of characters in the drama
Donald Oliver – Intruder
Tina Burton – female of household (Female)
Ali Bracey – male of household (Male)
Important aspects of the incident
- The Male knew there was an actual intruder because of the Daughter’s text.
- Despite knowing it wasn’t just a ‘bump in the night,’ the Male went to confront the intruder unarmed.
- The confrontation between the Male and Intruder started verbally and then turned physical.
- It was either an entangled fight or within arm’s length.
- When it went physical, the male employed an improvised weapon, to wit: a broom.
- The broom was apparently ineffective in the confrontation, so the male continued using unspecified improvised weapons.
- They had a gun but didn’t think initially to bring it to the fight.
- The Female eventually brought the gun to the Male to use.
- There was a weapon handoff from the Female to the Male.
- Shooting the gun caused the Intruder to flee.
Unimportant aspects of the incident
- The intruder wasn’t killed.
- The householder didn’t practice enough at the gun range.
Lessons To Be Learned (LBTL) and other important aspects
Guns are not useful if you don’t bring them to the fight. Have a plan ahead of time about how to handle an intrusion.
You can’t practice appropriately for an entangled or close range fight at a gun range anyway. This would most likely have been best handled as a retention shooting situation. Retention shooting is a skill best learned by taking a class from someone who knows what they’re doing. Few instructors are qualified to teach this task. I can recommend Brian Hill of The Complete Combatant, Greg Ellifritz of Active Response Training, and Craig Douglas of Shivworks.
Males of the household will often confront an intruder unarmed. It’s not uncommon for another family member to have to access the firearm and bring it to the fight. A handoff to the Male periodically occurs at that point. This means that several implied Personal Protection tasks for the other family member come into play.
- Know where the gun is.
- Be able to access the gun. Is it in a safe and can the family member open it?
- If the gun is not stored Ready to Fire, be able to place the gun into Ready to Fire condition.
- Move safely from the storage location to the fight location. Having an Unintentional Discharge en route will probably be a Tactical Disaster.
- Either be able to engage the Intruder with the firearm, or
- Safely hand off the firearm to the Male engaged in the confrontation. If the confrontation is physically entangled, a handoff may not be safely possible.
Whether the Intruder is killed or not is completely irrelevant. Let’s keep in mind The Cost of Killing. Achieving a Break In Contact is our objective as Non-Sworn Citizens. Note that in this incident, the Intruder had to be taken to court in a wheelchair. That probably means that he has some serious injuries, perhaps debilitating for his entire life.
We need to focus on the important tasks in Personal Protection incident analysis and not our feelings, which are unimportant. That is what I will be doing in the monthly incident analysis on my Patreon page.
Deputies found a 32-year-old man who said that he and his wife were sleeping when they heard a noise in the kitchen.
The husband took his handgun and walked in the kitchen area, where he shot the victim.
After the shooting the husband recognized the victim as his younger teenage brother.
Yet another tragic example of why I stress target identification so much. These situations are absolutely preventable. As I’ve said before, if you live with anyone else, my analysis is that there is a 97 percent probability that the ‘bump in the night’ is a member of your own household. With those kinds of numbers, gunowners cannot take the risk of shooting someone at home without establishing a positive ID.
This kind of situation is a further example of why I say we have to be very cautious of what we take of from our training, and even more so, what we read. Much of the good training available is conducted by former law enforcement or military personnel. Just as much as any of us, they are subject to unconscious biases resulting from their experiences and training. Since most reading now is done on the Internet, you have to assume everything you read is wrong because most of it IS wrong.
Responding with a firearm to a noise at night in the home absolutely requires that you visually verify your target before shooting. You probably will need a flashlight for that. And stealth is not your friend, it is your enemy. Therein lies a major divergence from the law enforcement officer or soldier, to whom stealth is an ally. The notions that ‘the light draws fire’ or that criminals will wait in ambush for you if they hear you coming are nonsensical. Those are bad paradigms for us to insert in our thinking. If your background is such that having assassins waiting in ambush for you in your own home is a concern, you need to work on some serious hardening of access points to your home.
If you keep a gun at home, put a flashlight next to your gun; no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
Next time you go to the range, take the flashlight with you. Instead of just blasting 50 holes in a silhouette, shoot two shots at the silhouette 25 times. Sequence is very important in how you do this.
- Have your gun in your shooting hand and your flashlight in your support hand. The gun is not pointing at the target and the light is off.
- Before each two shot string, say out loud “Who’s there?”
- Wait to listen for an answer. If you go to the range with someone, have them stand behind you and sometimes respond with “it’s me, Daddy” or something similar.
- If they say that, immediately put your gun down on the bench and abort that sequence.
- Then illuminate the target without pointing the gun at it.
- Finally, bring the gun up and fire the two shots.
One of the things you will find when using this sequence is that the worthwhile two handed shooting techniques don’t work well for it. Harries is both clumsy and dangerous to assume when you already have the light on the target and are keeping it illuminated while presenting the pistol. The Rogers/Surefire technique takes some time and manipulation skill to assume. What you will discover is that only the Cheek Technique or the FBI Technique work well in this context.
That means you have to learn to:
- Speak while holding your gun.
- Abort the shooting sequence if there is not a threat.
- Do a dissimilar task with the other hand, i.e., orient the flashlight and work the switch, while keeping your gun off target and your finger off the trigger.
- Shoot with one hand only while continuing to perform the dissimilar task.
- Manipulate the safety or decocker of your weapon with one hand while holding something in the other.
For the final 5 repetitions (10 rounds), put up a clean silhouette target and shoot the LAPD Retired Officer Course (10 rounds at seven yards). Measure how well you do. You’re going to find it’s a lot harder than you think.
That sequence is obviously rather involved; practice it before you have to do it for real or you’ll forget to do it or get it wrong. Forgetting to do it is what leads to tragedies.