Officers weapon Jams at worst possible moment


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jsalcedo
April 16, 2003, 10:25 AM
Officer's gun misfired
Probers say malfunction cost policeman's life
By PEGGY O'HARE
Copyright 2003 Houston Chronicle

Veteran Houston police officer Charles R. Clark's gun failed him at
the worst possible moment, costing him his life.

As he barreled into a southeast Houston check-cashing store trying to stop a robbery in progress, he was gunned down in a horrifically cold-blooded fashion after his own weapon malfunctioned, according to investigators who recounted the crime to the Chronicle on condition of anonymity.

The revelations offer a harrowing picture of what happened inside the Ace America's Cash Express in the 5700 block of the South Loop East when Clark responded, alone, to the April 3 robbery.

Clark, 45, was the first of two officers to arrive at the robbery. He
didn't wait for back-up, but ran inside, knowing a store employee was in distress.

Clark was shot in the shoulder. He managed to return fire with one round, but his gun jammed.

As the wounded officer tried to call for help, speaking his last
words, someone placed a gun very close to his head and pulled the trigger. The bullet slammed through the top of his skull.

Clerk Alfredia Jones, who had been dragged from the back of the store to the front and was standing just a few feet away from the officer, had no chance to hide, investigators said. The 27-year-old single mother of two was killed next, evidence and statements indicate.

Dashan Vadell Glaspie, 21; Elijah Dwayne Joubert, 23; and Alfred
Dewayne Brown, 21, are each charged with capital murder and are being held without bail in the slayings of Clark and Jones.

At least two of those men were armed when Clark confronted them just before his own weapon malfunctioned, said Houston Police Lt. Nelson Zoch. Investigators still are waiting for an official report from the ballistics lab to find out why that happened.

"Why it malfunctioned and what caused that, I can't tell you that,"
Zoch said Tuesday. "If you're alone there and your gun's
malfunctioning, and two other people have guns -- that's a cop's worst nightmare.

"It was a tragic day, and the only thing we can do to make that dayn better is to get the guys who did it," Zoch said.

Clark was carrying his own weapon that day, a 9 mm with which he was qualified, police officials said.

HPD does not provide guns and ammunition to its officers. Rather,
officers bring their own guns to the job and must qualify with their
weapon once a year in order to keep their certification as peace
officers, as required by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards.

Over the years, HPD has tried to establish some uniformity and
standardization in the type of weapons approved for uniformed duty.

In September 1997, the department narrowed the type of weapons to .40-caliber semiautomatic pistols, manufactured by Smith and Wesson, Glock, Baretta and Sig Sauer. Officers such as Clark, who were with HPD before those latest regulations took effect, were grandfathered in and allowed to continue using the weapons they'd relied on for years,
as long as it was a .38-caliber weapon or bigger.

Clark's death, said Hans Marticiuc, head of the Houston Police
Officers Union, "was one of those flukey-type deals. You don't know about a mechanical breakdown until it happens."

Investigators said they were not aware of Clark reporting any previous problems with his gun.

Any number of reasons could cause a weapon to malfunction, officers said, such as improper lubrication and cleaning; faulty ammunition; moisture seeping into the powder inside the ammunition, perhaps if the gun had recently been cleaned and oiled; human error made by recoiling or "breaking" the wrist improperly after the gun is fired or perhaps bumping the gun against something as it was fired; or the gun being
altered by an outside source.

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Blackhawk
April 16, 2003, 10:37 AM
Tragic!

1. Have backup.

2. Wait for backup.

3. Don't go in without backup.

I'm morbidly curious about the gun he had. :(

DeltaElite
April 16, 2003, 10:40 AM
Very sad.

Well said Blackhawk, well said.

JGReed
April 16, 2003, 10:44 AM
If he was hit in the shoulder and then returned fire, he was probably shooting one-handed and limp-wristed it. Sucks.

keyhole
April 16, 2003, 10:51 AM
Hate to hear about it. Job is always tough, and stuff happens.
Sorry for the family.

Carlos Cabeza
April 16, 2003, 10:53 AM
Sad indeed.....:( He acted without selfishness in attempt to save the clerks life. I only wish he would have succeeded as the three men will most certainly get to "wait for their turn".........at taxpayer expense.

Cal4D4
April 16, 2003, 11:37 AM
Brave man, wrong people got dead.

Jeff White
April 16, 2003, 11:51 AM
The article doesn't go into what the officer encountered when he arrived on the scene. We don't know if he felt that he had to take immediate action to save the clerks life.

That said, like in the 507th Maint Co ambush in Iraq, this may have been a training failure and not a weapons failure. It's hard to draw too many conclusions from the information we were provided.

Jeff

ahenry
April 16, 2003, 11:57 AM
I agree with your statements as a general rule but sometimes people in positions like a police officer have to do incredibly unsafe things (known deadly force situation) without the luxury of backup. Its hard to say if that was the case this time or not, but it appears it might have been. Either way though, sad day for the Houston PD.

El Tejon
April 16, 2003, 11:57 AM
Terrible.:(

Jesse H
April 16, 2003, 11:59 AM
That's tragic.

I had no idea that HPD didn't issue guns?

RustyHammer
April 16, 2003, 12:21 PM
.... did he have a BUG .... if so, did he go for it. Just wondering.

Wrong people got it.

Very sad.

4v50 Gary
April 16, 2003, 12:25 PM
Like Reed, I suspect his injury caused his hold to "weaken." It may well be a malfunction attributable to the shooter and not to the firearm. Tragic results. :(

George Hill
April 16, 2003, 12:27 PM
Smith and Wesson, Glock, Baretta and Sig Sauer...

I guess they all had decent weapons... but what is a Baretta?
Sorry, jokes aside... this is a sad event.

Let this be a lesson to the rest of us... take care of our guns so they can take care of us.





:(

DMK
April 16, 2003, 12:49 PM
Kind of a good argument for a revolver as a primary isn't it?

Dave P
April 16, 2003, 12:51 PM
Blackhawk, I am surprised by your comment of wanting the cop to wait for backup. The way I read the article, he saw the robbery in progress, with a woman being held by 2 or 3 BG's. He then just barges in and does the best he can to try and stop it, ignoring the obvious risks to himself. Very un-selfish and Very heroic! (Yeah, and in hindsight - stupid.)

But what if he waited for backup ... that sounds too much like Columbine, where many of us scolded the cops for waiting for backup instead of rushing in to help the students and teachers!

Ol' Badger
April 16, 2003, 12:59 PM
So Sad. Not enough good men like that in the world. :(

On the other hand, I never met anyone named dwayne that I liked! Lets hope for a fast trial and a 1st class exucution!!! :fire:

USGuns
April 16, 2003, 01:28 PM
I didn't catch from the article what kind of 9mm he had that jammed? Glock 17?

thumbtack
April 16, 2003, 01:32 PM
The wrong people died that day.:mad: :( :mad:

Jim March
April 16, 2003, 02:02 PM
That was my first thought too: injured and he limp-wristed.

I sold my last auto in '98, and won't ever buy another. If he'd have gone in blazing with a nice big 357 or better and kept his head, he'd have won.

bountyhunter
April 16, 2003, 02:23 PM
Sorry to hear that. I own about eight autos and enjoy shooting them, but would never trust my life to one. It's too bad that officer didn't have a 686 with seven rounds of 125-gr .357 ammo. They would have been carrying out the perp's bodies instead of his.

DeltaElite
April 16, 2003, 02:47 PM
His decision to go in was his decision.
For a long time in Le the training was to wait for the bad guys to leave and then take them out.
After Columbine this was found to not always be the best response.
Many agencies, mine included, have enacted "active shooter" training, where you go in and take out, errrrrrrr stop the bad guys actions.
In the training, they encourage you not to go in alone, but sometimes a man has gotta do what a man has gotta do.

This officer obviously felt the need to go in and attempt to handle the situation, sadly it didn't go his way and he paid the ultimate price.

RIP Officer Clark, your bravery will not be forgotten by me.

Blackhawk
April 16, 2003, 02:47 PM
Blackhawk, I am surprised by your comment of wanting the cop to wait for backup. The way I read the article, he saw the robbery in progress, with a woman being held by 2 or 3 BG's. He then just barges in and does the best he can to try and stop it, ignoring the obvious risks to himself. Very un-selfish and Very heroic! That's just it, Dave.

There are MANY, MANY LEOs, soldiers, and other good guys who get tunnel vision when confronted with such situations. They automatically switch into hero mode when all their danger circuits fire, and they will predictably react without regard for their personal safety. May God bless them all!

However, that's why the backup rule has to be pounded into them again and again. Harry Callahan is a fictional character. Most cops going up alone and in a frontal assault against 2-3 BGs are going into a death situation. Once the assault begins, the shooting starts and things go downhill rapidly. If the LEO had given the backup rule more consideration, he likely would have done the one best thing: delayed the start of shooting. The BGs hadn't killed anybody yet, so they still hadn't gone past the point of no return.

Having natural heroic inclinations is wonderful and should be a job requirement for LEOs, soldiers, etc., but learning how to survive in spite of them is every bit as important as being proficient with the other tools they use. One of those tools consists of a set of rules, including the backup rule.

Charles R. Clark's death is a tragedy and he was absolutely a hero. But he's dead. If he'd followed the rule, he might not be, even if all it did was delay things enough for him to mount a better tactical assault by himself.

larry_minn
April 16, 2003, 02:47 PM
Sad. Sounds like a very good officer laid down his life to protect others.
I see this is becomming a revolver vs autoloader. Please start a new thread for that. Thanks.

Frohickey
April 16, 2003, 02:49 PM
Clerk Alfredia Jones, who had been dragged from the back of the store to the front and was standing just a few feet away from the officer, had no chance to hide, investigators said. The 27-year-old single mother of two was killed next, evidence and statements indicate.

Alfredia Jones should have been armed and carrying concealed on the job. Then, she would have been in a position to help Officer Clark give those lowlifes some deserved dirtnaps. :cuss:

COHIBA
April 16, 2003, 03:29 PM
here is a lesson. when responding to...
shots fired
robbery in progress
possible burglary

pop the trunk and break out a real weapon.

12-34hom
April 16, 2003, 04:03 PM
I wonder if he was wearing a BPV.?

Does make a very good case for revolver as primary weapon.

RIP.

12-34hom.

Blackhawk
April 16, 2003, 04:24 PM
I wonder if he was wearing a BPV.?Dunno, but it wouldn't have mattered, IMO. The vest doesn't protect the shoulder, and the speculation is that he was hit in his strong shoulder, which may have contributed to his gun jamming.

I'm not convinced that "limp wristing" causes pistols to jam anyway, but that's a different topic....

I don't agree that this: Does make a very good case for revolver as primary weapon. I doubt that anybody with a shoulder injury that prevents a good grip on a pistol would even be able to fire a revolver DA or be able to cock it for SA.

Double Naught Spy
April 16, 2003, 04:36 PM
Some guns seem more prone to limp-wristed jams than others. I don't know why that is the case as there seem to be differences at the level of the individual gun within a given model line.

Why is it we always practice and repractice those annoying gun jam drills? It is because things can go wrong at the worst possible moment? I think so.

What a shame.

gudel
April 16, 2003, 04:40 PM
the article did not mention what make/model he was using? :confused:

Kobun
April 16, 2003, 05:24 PM
pop the trunk and break out a real weapon.
Was thinking the same thing.
When you see danger coming, pick a (short) long gun if you have access to one.

It is sad that things like this happens.
A lesson to all.
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?s=&postid=43854

Standing Wolf
April 16, 2003, 05:57 PM
Sad!

There's no way I'd even consider working in a check cashing operating without being armed.

WonderNine
April 16, 2003, 06:00 PM
Carry 3 guns. Nuff' said.

Well actually there's something to be said for proper maintenance as well.....

WonderNine
April 16, 2003, 06:01 PM
I doubt that anybody with a shoulder injury that prevents a good grip on a pistol would even be able to fire a revolver DA or be able to cock it for SA.

Use your other arm!

cool45auto
April 16, 2003, 07:49 PM
Terrible event. I'm sorry for the family.:(

DeltaElite
April 16, 2003, 10:30 PM
Use your other arm!
Easier said than done in the middle of a close quarters gun battle.

Of course, you would have had no problem in a close quarters gun battle, all that video game experience would get you through. :rolleyes:

thaddeus
April 17, 2003, 02:33 AM
He should have had a long gun and certainly a backup gun. I hope that he did not die because he took his weapon lightly and did not train well or maintain it. It is a lesson for us all.

PS- Revolvers are far from malfunction-proof, and when they do malf, it is serious. I have had my share of revolvers that malf'ed, and it is usually impossible to clear with any speed.

WonderNine
April 17, 2003, 03:47 AM
Easier said than done in the middle of a close quarters gun battle.

Of course, you would have had no problem in a close quarters gun battle, all that video game experience would get you through.

Stop that already. I never said that I could do any better. I only challenged one poster's comment that you can't do anything when you've been shot through one of you shoulders. Go back and read the entire thread........thanks in advance.

WonderNine
April 17, 2003, 03:48 AM
Anybody who reads this thread should consider thaddeus's post above all.

Tim Burke
April 17, 2003, 08:34 AM
But what if he waited for backup ... that sounds too much like Columbine, where many of us scolded the cops for waiting for backup instead of rushing in to helpColumbine was an active shooter event. When Officer Clark arrived at this scene, it wasn't an active shooter event. Waiting for back-up may have been reasonable. Apparently he saw something that convinced him that the clerk was in immediate danger, and he needed to take action. Heroism has always gone hand in hand with tragedy; this is not a new phenomenon.I'm not convinced that "limp wristing" causes pistols to jam anywayI've seen Glocks that were completely reliable through thousands of rounds turn into jamamatics when tried by inexperienced shooters, and then become reliable again when the owners started shooting them. I thought that was "limp wristing."

TRIDENT
April 17, 2003, 11:00 AM
I wish he would have grabbed an 870 on the way in.

Safety First
April 17, 2003, 11:23 AM
Very sad about the officer and clerk. Do you think we will ever find out what gun the officer was using? I guess since he was the only one on the scene he had to evaluate the situation and make a fast decision. If he and the girl had lived he would be heralded as a heroe (and I'm sure he will be anyway) but the outcome would have been a happy one. I have no LE experience but find it hard to judge his actions with or without the experience/training. No one knows what he heard or saw before making the decision to not wait for back-up. My guess is he felt the clerk was about to be shot and had to act then. Let us remember the officers family and girls family in our prayers,they are the ones who are hurting the most.

Don Gwinn
April 17, 2003, 11:53 AM
He may not have had a long gun in the car. There are patrol officers who don't carry them, aren't there?
(I'm too big a chicken--if I were cop, I'd have a shotgun.)

DeltaElite
April 17, 2003, 12:05 PM
I'm with you Don, I have two back ups and an 870 that has 15 rounds on it.
My 870 would have been in my hands in that scenario.

In my dept I would estimate that less than 5% of patrol officers carry a shotgun and less than 2% are assigned rifles.

The 870 is a major equalizer and the sheer intimidation factor cannot be discounted. :D

Greybeard
April 17, 2003, 12:36 PM
Yep, pretty tragic. Prayers for family and friends of all down.

It's been so long ago, I've misplaced it, but I clipped an article one time entitled something to the effect of "One-shot Stoppages".

A major contributor was essentially said to be repeatedly abusing the top two rounds in a magazine. Scenario(s): Clear the chamber at night, insert mag the next morning, chamber a round, then "top off" mag with bullet that had been in chamber the time before. The Bottom Line: resulting overseating/underseating/dinged up cartridges can often cause semis to only go "bang" once, then malfunction.

I recall carrrying primarily a revolver as "always gun" at the time. But, after reading that article (in Combat Hanguns?), the semis that I did carry started making semi-frequent onesey-twosey contributions of high-dollar defensive ammo to a "practice only" bag ...

El Tejon
April 17, 2003, 02:13 PM
Grey, yes, the dreaded "police stoppage" is what I thought of as well. This is where the bullet setback on the second round caused a mal on the second round. The most notrious example of this is the shootout between those militia brothers and the Ohio Highway Patrol. :(

Lesson learned: check your gear, even the most blacktical weapon needs to be clean and lubed properly; check your ammo, fresh ammo! Check your 6.

pax
April 17, 2003, 04:30 PM
One handed malf clearing is an essential skill.

:( RIP Officer Clark.

pax

It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived. -- George S. Patton, Jr

Greybeard
April 19, 2003, 09:26 PM
related thread http://www.glocktalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=150142

Feedback in "Cop Talk" forum indicates EXTRACTOR failure in Browning High Power ... :(

TheeBadOne
April 19, 2003, 11:03 PM
Tragic!

1. Have backup.

2. Wait for backup.

3. Don't go in without backup.
Agreed, but the officer would have been roasted if he had not gone in and someone was injured. Perhaps that's what overrode his training and common sense. God bless him and his family. :(

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