Quick thinking saves deputy's life


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Preacherman
December 13, 2005, 09:53 PM
From the CA Press-Democrat (http://www1.pressdemocrat.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051213/NEWS/512130303/1033/NEWS01):

Quick move likely saved deputy's life

Officer, a defensive-tactics teacher, grabbed cylinder of revolver pointed at him, then shot and killed suspect

By MARTIN ESPINOZA
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Published: Tuesday, Dec 13, 2005

In a scene straight out of a crime novel, law enforcement officials say Sonoma County Sheriff's Deputy Jon Watson used a lightning-quick move and simple physics to jam a revolver that was pointed at his belly.

Watson, a defensive-tactics instructor for the Sheriff's Department, probably saved his life when he stopped the cylinder of a loaded revolver and then pulled his own gun, shooting and killing a 42-year-old convicted felon Saturday.

Police identified the dead man as James Richard Nace, a wanted parolee who was about to be arrested after deputies discovered he was in possession of several pounds of marijuana. Police said Nace, a Mendocino County resident, had been out of contact with his parole officer for more than a year.

A preliminary autopsy conducted Monday found Nace died of a single gunshot wound to the upper left chest. Other findings included bruises on his arms and shins "consistent with struggle injuries," the report said.

In recounting the shooting, authorities said officers like Watson know that if you stop the cylinder of a revolver from turning, the gun's hammer will not find a loaded chamber.

Officials said the move gave Watson enough time to get off a round of his own, using his .40-caliber handgun.

"Because of the cylinder's diameter, you can exert more force on the (firing) mechanism than by pulling the trigger," Sheriff's Lt. Roger Rude said. "If the cylinder can't rotate, then pulling the trigger isn't going to fire the gun."

Rude said Watson teaches defensive tactics at the Santa Rosa Junior College's Public Safety Training Center in Windsor.

"Jon is extremely proficient in his training," Rude said. "But even with someone that is proficient in his training, there has to be an element of luck as well."

The incident began at about 4:40 p.m. Saturday when Deputy Dave Iverson approached Nace and Gloria Jean Bunyon, 38, also of Mendocino County, who were in a Blue Toyota 4-Runner stopped in an area known to authorities for a history of drug activity.

Authorities said Nace and Bunyon, who also had two pit bulls in the SUV, repeatedly gave misleading information about their identities.

After questioning Nace and Bunyon and learning they had several pounds of marijuana, Iverson called for help. Officials said the suspects claimed the marijuana was for medical use.

Officials said Watson arrived with a drug-sniffing dog at 6:17 p.m., and a couple of minutes after Watson began talking with Nace the suspect drew a loaded .38 caliber, double-action revolver and shoved the barrel under Watson's bulletproof vest.

Sheriff's officials said Watson grabbed the revolver as he twisted his body out of the way, drawing his own gun and firing. Bunyon unleashed the pit bulls and one of them attacked, officials said. Watson and Iverson shot at the attacking pit bull, killing it.

Rude said even with Watson's training, the outcome Saturday might have been different if the gun used by Nace wasn't a revolver.

Authorities haven't said whether Nace had been searched before his encounter with Watson.

Deputies receive firearms training, including defensive tactics, every quarter throughout the duration of their careers. In addition, Rude said, deputies go through annual updated law enforcement training, including firearms and defensive tactics.

Rude declined to give further details about the specific defensive tactics used by deputies for fear that "bad guys" would use such information against officers.

He said criminals constantly are updating methods for engaging police and prison often serves as a training ground. The placement of the revolver under Watson's bulletproof vest is the kind of tactic used by criminals who have received such training, he said.

In 2002, Nace was sentenced to five years in prison for possession of controlled substance for sale, Rude said.

He said Nace has five felony and four misdemeanor convictions, including exhibiting a deadly weapon, burglary, assault on a peace officer, assaults with a deadly weapon, possession of controlled substances and possession for sale.

Following interagency protocol for officer-involved shootings, the investigation is being conducted by the Rohnert Park Public Safety Department and the District Attorney's Office.

Rohnert Park Lt. Jeff Taylor said Bunyon has been booked on suspicion of possession of marijuana for sale, transportation of marijuana and aiding and abetting a known felon.

It was the fifth officer-involved shooting in the county in the past 18 months, including two others that involved deputies.

"One of the things that's a concern to us is the frequency that we are encountering people with handguns," Rude said. "There's a change going on, and it's very disconcerting."

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Alex45ACP
December 13, 2005, 09:58 PM
Another victory for prohibition.

CAS700850
December 14, 2005, 09:18 AM
All I can say is that Deputy Watson had an angel sitting on his shoulder that day. As Elliot Ness said in the Untouchables: "Never stop fighting until the fight is done."

middy
December 14, 2005, 09:52 AM
:what: Nice move.

GTSteve03
December 14, 2005, 10:19 AM
Another victory for prohibition.
While I disagree with the War on (Some) Drugs, this guy sounds like he was a pretty violent fellow, having had multiple weapons charges against him. Whether or not they were all directly related to the Demon Weed, I can't say, but at least we only have 1 body bag and not 2.

Oldtimer
December 14, 2005, 11:02 AM
Yep, grab ANY handgun (revolver or pistol) with enough force to render it useless. By grabbing the slide of a pistol, you have to add some rearward movement, which will push the slide "out of battery". If a pistol is shoved into your back, jam your back against the muzzle...and hope that it's enough to cause it to go "out of battery". Your next move should be to side-step, try to grasp the pistol with both hands, and divert the muzzle away. A well-placed front kick might work after that.

fjolnirsson
December 14, 2005, 11:12 AM
Much as I disagree with the War on Drugs,
I know Watson from my days in the Academy. He's one of the good guys. Glad he made it.

jsalcedo
December 14, 2005, 03:20 PM
My friends and I used to practice this move for hours on end.

Even when the guy holding the gun knew you were going to try to disable the firearm 90% of the time the move was successful.

Holding the cylinder, slide out of battery, web of thumb under the hammer
all seemed to work pretty well.

Old Dog
December 14, 2005, 03:32 PM
Another victory for prohibition.I wondered how long it would take before a comment such as this popped up ... only one post, wow. Some have the uncanny ability to inject their feelings about the WoD into any thread ... Completely irrelevant to the topic of this thread, which pertains to a law enforcement officer subduing a violent felon and using his training. Personally, the deputy's actions impress the hell out of me ...

TarpleyG
December 14, 2005, 03:49 PM
"One of the things that's a concern to us is the frequency that we are encountering people with handguns," Rude said. "There's a change going on, and it's very disconcerting."
No distinguishment between ordinary law-abiding people and criminals noted here. In other words, ALL people with handguns are very disconcerting.

Greg

mbs357
December 14, 2005, 03:55 PM
Vash the Stampede strikes again.

Mulliga
December 14, 2005, 04:38 PM
Nice move, but the deputy was pretty lucky too IMHO. If the criminal had a non DAO revolver and cocked the hammer first, it could've been ugly.

Standing Wolf
December 14, 2005, 05:06 PM
No distinguishment between ordinary law-abiding people and criminals noted here. In other words, ALL people with handguns are very disconcerting.

Unfortunately, an awful lot of cops perceive no distinction between citizens and criminals when it comes to firearms.

Old Dog
December 14, 2005, 05:32 PM
Quote:
"One of the things that's a concern to us is the frequency that we are encountering people with handguns," Rude said. "There's a change going on, and it's very disconcerting."

No distinguishment between ordinary law-abiding people and criminals noted here. In other words, ALL people with handguns are very disconcerting.

I re-read the sheriff's lieutenant's quote ... Is it possible that we've all become a bit too sensitive to these types of comments, and read into them what we think the law enforcement folks are really saying? After all, from the cop's perspective -- I think he's probably just talking about the people (with handguns) who are suspects they're trying to bring in or arrest ... When a cop talks about "encountering" people -- he's usually speaking of those negative encounters when he's dealing with bad guys ... to extrapolate from a LE department's public information statement that the officer talking (and by extension, his department and ALL cops) believes ALL people with handguns as being very disconcerting -- well, that may just be reading too much into those few words.

Unfortunately, an awful lot of cops perceive no distinction between citizens and criminals when it comes to firearms.Many here share this perception. I'm just not quite sure it's an accurate reflection of more than a minority of cops ... not necessarily their politicized leadership, though.

WvaBill
December 14, 2005, 06:37 PM
A Trooper did something like that, recognized the revolver was coming on an empty chamber, shot the guy, and was quietly scolded.:cuss:

Despite my opposition to prohibition, drug running seeems to attract low-lifes around these parts.

GTKrockeTT
December 14, 2005, 06:46 PM
anyone else concerned that there was no search made on Nace to see if he had any firearms on him?

crofrog
December 14, 2005, 06:49 PM
Nice move, but the deputy was pretty lucky too IMHO. If the criminal had a non DAO revolver and cocked the hammer first, it could've been ugly.

If he moved the gun away properly too it wouldn't have mattered. Get a partner and some blue guns or airsoft guns, or unloaded real guns. And practice disarms. At contact ranges if the guy doing the disarm is agressive enough he in my experince when's almost everytime. Action beats reaction.


Chris

LAK
December 15, 2005, 03:23 AM
In recounting the shooting, authorities said officers like Watson know that if you stop the cylinder of a revolver from turning, the gun's hammer will not find a loaded chamber.
This is misleading. As Mulliga points out, this only disables a DA revolver if the hammer is not cocked.
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Firethorn
December 15, 2005, 05:03 AM
A Trooper did something like that, recognized the revolver was coming on an empty chamber, shot the guy, and was quietly scolded.:cuss:

How the heck did he determine that, at least quickly enough to stop from shooting him?

Personally, I'm not going to be noticing the state of the cylinders, I'm just going to assume it's loaded and fire to defend myself. I don't trust my dsylexic self to know what side the next chamber up is going to be on.

Devonai
December 15, 2005, 06:22 AM
In a scene straight out of a crime novel...

Art imitates life, you hack. I will grant an exception for our first (public) encounter with space aliens.

+1 Vash.

WvaBill
December 15, 2005, 12:05 PM
How the heck did he determine that, at least quickly enough to stop from shooting him?

Personally, I'm not going to be noticing the state of the cylinders, I'm just going to assume it's loaded and fire to defend myself. I don't trust my dsylexic self to know what side the next chamber up is going to be on.


Tunnel Vision?

I have focused on some bizarre stuff when stressed.

nomadboi
December 15, 2005, 01:43 PM
I could be wrong here, but wouldn't it work even if the hammer was on a loaded cylinder? As long as the hammer isn't already cocked back, trigger pull would be a b!t@h with someone pinching the cylinder and the trigger trying to advance it. On ther other hand, if the hammer was already back, the defender would also have the option of trying to manually obstruct the hammer from dropping.

Not saying I'd really want to try this in a life and death situation anytime soon, but still... seems worth trying if anyone ever points a revolver at me.

Not sure how you'd know with hammerless revolvers, or what I'd do with that.

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