Anatomy of a shootout

Greensboro Ohio- A police officer stops a suspicious man walking down the road in the middle of the night. After attempting to identify the subject, he finds the man is Daniel Roy Smith, a felon wanted by the US Marshals for escaping federal custody. Once the man realizes the jig is up he pulls a pistol on the officer and tells him to get on the ground. The officer pulls his gun and a gun battle ensues. The officer is amazingly not even injured and the suspect survives with wounds. The action starts at 4:55.

Lessons learned:

1) Notice the officer has a large, heavy flashlight in his right hand which is also his gun hand. This makes it very difficult to get to your gun quickly since he would have to drop the flashlight first. In fact is sounds as if the bad guy got the drop on the officer at first, and had the officer at gunpoint with the officer’s gun still in his holster. Not a good position to find yourself in.

2) When someone fails to comply with commands, that should be your cue that danger is just around the corner. The officer obviously knew what was coming, because as soon as he realized that the bad guy was not complying, he said “don’t do this”- twice. So the officer’s instincts were correct, but at that point he could have transitioned the flashlight to his non-gun hand to free up his gun hand, instead of repeating commands. He also could have chosen to have pepper spray or some other alternative force weapon ready in his non-gun hand instead of the flashlight.

3) When a bad guy has you at gun point, it is better to fight than die with your gun in the holster. To the officer’s credit, he brought the fight to the bad guy quickly and decisively, once he made the decision to do so. He wisely feigned compliance with the bad guy’s demands at first, so that he could gain the tactical advantage in choosing the opportune time to make his move.

All’s well that ends well, but you can never be too aware or over prepared. Anticipating danger is one of the most important survival skills we can have in our tool belt.

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