Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Off-Duty LEO Foils Robbery of Animal Hospital

"Off-Duty LVMPD Detective foiled Armed Robbery"--Video Leak Police (2 min.)

       A brief synopsis of the video: The perp enters the business, goes to the counter and takes something (cash box, I assume) and displays a gun. As he attempts to exit the building, an off-duty police officer ("under sheriff") pulls out his concealed carry weapon, extends his arm with the handgun toward the perp (presumably ordering the perp to surrender or stop). The perp then counters the officer's attack by grabbing the officer's weapon hand, and a prolonged struggle ensues. According to a related news report (YouTube video here), the officer fired two shots, but failed to strike anyone.

       I believe that this is the incident that Active Self Protection discusses here. The main takeaway ASP discusses is that a self-defense situation can and often will turn into a hand-to-hand fight; you need to be prepared mentally (aggressive mental state) and physically (be in shape; learn some combatives). ASP assumes what they call a counter-ambush was a viable option in this case.

       First, just one of my pet-peeves picked up from fencing is that a counter attack/strike/etc., are attacks initiated to counter an attack being made by the opponent. Example: opponent brings his fist back to punch you and you strike him in the neck before he can complete his punch--that is a counter-attack.

       So, with that bit out of the way, what we see here is the officer deciding to initiate a confrontation, if not an attack, as the perp was leaving the store. Setting aside that this involved a law enforcement officer (albeit, off duty), the first questions as we evaluate his actions in hind-sight is whether he should have taken any action at all. At the point he decided to confront the perp, the perp appears to have ceased threatening anyone and was leaving the premises. For a CCL holder, discretion might be the better part of valor--get a good look at the perp so you can provide details to the police, maybe even get up after the perp leaves to see if you can tell what direction he went or provide a description of his vehicle if he used one.

       But, let's say that you decide the perp is still a threat to yourself or others (perhaps he still has his firearm in hand). I can tell you that sticking your gun way out within the perp's reach and within his field of vision is just asking for it to be knocked away or worse. If the officer had just waited a moment longer, he could have stood up, taken a solid stance, and been behind the perp (or at least enough outside his field of view) so the perp could not make an effective counter-attack when he ordered the perp to freeze or stop or whatever. Plus, if the perp didn't freeze, but instead attempted to use his firearm.... Well, shooting someone in the back is a winning strategy in a gunfight (although it may not come off too well to a jury). Alternatively, the officer could have taken a retentive stance, with his body slightly turned away from the perp to protect the weapon, and the off-hand (or elbow) extended toward the perp to keep him from getting too close.

       The officer's handgun was a snub-nosed revolver. As noted above, the officer fired two shots, missing both times. I can't tell from the video when the shots were made. However, if it was after the two had gotten into their wrestling match, I would point out that one of the advantages to the revolver is being able to push it into contact with your opponent and then fire the weapon. Hard to miss at that range.

       This is all said using hindsight. Recognize that it is different when you are there and have to make decisions under time constraints and the influence of adrenaline. But that is why we study this stuff: to make us better prepared if we encounter a similar circumstance.

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