Local shootout and "shooting to wound" debate...


Green Lantern
January 4, 2007, 07:30 PM

By Kristen Swing
Press Staff Writer

A shootout between Johnson City police and a man wanted on out-of-state charges ended in bloodshed Wednesday afternoon.

Officers arrived at the Roan Centre parking lot, 1805 N. Roan St., minutes after 2 p.m. Wednesday to serve a warrant on Steve Rupard, 22.

Authorities had received word that Rupard, whose last known address was 1801 N. Roan St., was leaving his home and heading toward the shopping center.

“As they approached Mr. Rupard, he opened fire on the officers. There were several rounds fired at the officers from a semi-automatic handgun of some kind,” said Johnson City Police Chief John Lowry. “It started in the parking lot proper and then moved behind the building. Two officers fired guns, to the best of my knowledge.”

Rupard, who was wanted out of Pennsylvania for failing to appear on a simple assault charge and terrorist threats with the intent to terrorize another, was killed as a result of the shootout.

He died a short time after being transported via ambulance from the scene to an area hospital.

“One of our K9s, Tigger, was shot in the incident also. Tigger was released by his handler to try to apprehend the suspect,” Lowry said. “He was shot in the front leg and the bullet passed through and clipped an artery.”

The police dog underwent surgery a couple hours after being shot and was expected to make a full recovery from his injuries, authorities said.

No one else was injured in the incident, despite the close proximity to several busy restaurants and businesses.

“I think the quick response from the police department and those officers probably saved an innocent bystander’s life,” said Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Robert Denney, who is now heading an investigation into the incident. “They really did protect the public out there.”

Authorities had yet to determine exactly how many shots were fired during the incident. However, Lowry said he believes his officers “followed the use-of-force protocol” in returning fire at Rupard.

“They did everything they could to approach this situation safely,” Lowry added.

Authorities would not immediately release the names of those officers who fired shots during the incident. No officers had been put on any kind of leave as of late Wednesday afternoon. Meanwhile, the police department was working to provide the officers with assistance to “lessen the trauma” of the incident, Lowry said.

The TBI was called in by District Attorney General Tony Clark at the request of the Johnson City Police Department to conduct an investigation into the incident. That investigation is continuing, however no charges are expected.

As for the second part of my title...I heard about all this secondhand today, and was under the mistaken impression that the suspect was still alive. When talking about it with co-workers, I jokingly said that if the guy was still kicking, then the police need to spend more time at the range.

A co-worker replied that the police probably "weren't shooting to kill him." In all fairness, I don't think she caught the part where HE shot at the cops FIRST.

I replied that you CAN'T "shoot to wound" someone. You can shoot someone and not kill them, but you only shoot when you HAVE to kill someone. Trying to hit a smaller, usually moving target like an arm or a leg would take the kind of marksmanship usually reserved for the movies.

She replied, that's why the police GO to ranges....:banghead:

Uhhh...then work got busy, so that was that for now.

So, I don't know what to think really - she thinks that the police have the magical ability to "clip" someone in the arm or leg at will. Does she think that they should do so, EVEN when under fire from a would-be cop killer? Or that the cops have the authority to crank a round off into one of your extremities rather than use Mace?

Now, *I* may be in the wrong or something, but with all the stuff I've read from guys like Ayoob, I assumed that the police (like us) can only use deadly force if faced with death or grave injury...

Anyway, I'm just glad I wasn't down there when that happened!

But I wouldn't be in Roan Centre ANYWAY - the only thing of interest there is the movie theatere. And it's POSTED, so I go to the CARMIKE 14 when I catch a movie in JC!!! :neener: :D :neener: :neener: :evil: :cool:

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January 4, 2007, 08:10 PM
Well, you're right on the whole "shoot to stop the threat" thing.. that's been standard doctrine for ages. Which doesn't change the fact most folk get their info from TV. :rolleyes:

For those that don't know, that part of Johnson City is at one end of the main strip of the town. It's a miracle there wasn't a bystander hit.


January 4, 2007, 09:28 PM
I just love a happy ending.

Art Eatman
January 4, 2007, 09:34 PM
GL, those who know little about firearms, and particularly little about handguns, don't understand the realities of a gunfight. Too much influence from Hollywood movies, I imagine.

"The Lone Ranger" was not a series of documentaries...


Black Knight
January 4, 2007, 09:46 PM
Police may use deadly force to defend themselves or othersbut, the intent is not to kill. The intent is to stop the action that caused the police to shoot in the first place. Back in the late '60s to mid '70s an LEO was asked about his training. He stated that at the academy they were trained that if they shoot they were to shoot to kill. The LEO was charged with murder and the department lost the law suit. Police shoot to incapitate the subject that they are defending or protecting against. I know it sounds like I'm coming down hard but I don't mean to. Sometimes the Hollywood stereotypes need to be corrected.

January 4, 2007, 09:58 PM
Shoot to wound? I'm not stopping until my magazine is emtpy. Then i may poke them with my pocket knife a couple of times for good measure.

Guy B. Meredith
January 4, 2007, 10:42 PM
The young lady needs an enlightening trip to the range.

January 4, 2007, 11:03 PM
Basically, you "SHOOT AT THE BIG PART". This is not rocket science! :) As pointed out, it's really hard to make a shot that just nicks someone or creates a minimal wound on a peripheral body part. Even under range conditions without time/threat pressure, it's hard. With the other elements going, nearly impossible (except by accident).

SFPD had a shoot a few years back -- "blue suicide". The department admitted to nearly 130 rounds fired by officers (none by subject -- only armed with fake grenades). Suspect was hit only 2-3 times, and bled to death from a neck wound (not where officers were aiming). Not that this is all LEOs, or even all SF LEOs, but it seemed to me that a vast majority of the LEOs who came out to the range for training sessions did not shoot all that well, nor react well in terms of bringing a firearm to bear, even in a simple training situation where they knew they needed to fire.

It would simply be unrealistic to expect LEOs to perform superhuman feats of marksmanship. As has been said, that's all Hollywood.

January 4, 2007, 11:10 PM
As a former police firearms instructor there was always at least one that would say, "why don't we train to just hit them in the leg or arm?" Inevitably, someone would always ask about 'warning shots'.

You don't shoot to "kill" or "wound", you shoot to stop an agressive action that warranted the use of deadly force...and you shoot/aim center-of-mass (that would be the largest part of the target presented to you). The question would then progress to "when do I stop shooting?" You stop shooting when the agressive action(s) end. 1,2,6,8...whatever it takes.

So when the judge asks why you shot the deceased 6 times the answer is easy....5 wasn't enough and 7 would have been too many.

January 4, 2007, 11:54 PM
"There's this whole debate on whether it's shoot to kill or shoot to maim, which misses the point that you get to shoot somebody."

Deputy T. Junior. Reno 911.


And to keep it all OT...These people can argue shoot to kill, shoot to wound all they want. Until they are placed in a position where it is possible that they may have to pull the trigger they simply will not get it.

Shoot to stop.
Should be the mantra of anyone who carries a gun either for work or for survival.

January 5, 2007, 12:19 AM
Yeah, shoot to stop would only be possible in standoff/cornered situations. Hitting a moving leg, etc. would be very, very difficult.

Green Lantern
January 5, 2007, 06:16 AM
Oh yeah - I forgot to mention, her stepdad will probably 'splain things to her even better than I could if she brings it up. He's a State Trooper. :cool:

Byron Quick
January 5, 2007, 06:36 AM
Many people simply don't understand the reality of the situation.

Even if you are super trooper and can make the arm or leg shot while under the stress of fear of your life and the life of others...odds are it won't stop the threat. Suppose you are really supernatural with your handgun and shoot the gun from the assailant's hand...and he draws his BUG and continues the fight?

The aiming points on a human being are chosen for the highest probablity of stopping the fight NOW. Yes, there is a probability of death with those targets. Stopping the threat is the goal though.

Colonel Plink
January 5, 2007, 08:23 AM
A sage old lawman (my dad) told me clear back in the '60's that you don''t shoot to take a life, you shoot to save a life.

January 5, 2007, 11:41 PM
Stop the threat. Period
My agency ("Three Letter Federal" you guess which one!) even has "Body Armor" drills during qualifications. "Two to the chest and one to the head" and repeat...... If you ever say I'd shoot to kill, you'd get ripped a new one.

Years ago we used to get yelled at for head shots on another department I was working for (Rhymes with "SLAMTRAK"). The range guys used to tell us (in the 80's) that "The head is too small a target" "Always shoot for center mass". We even got point deductions for "errant" head shots !!!!! My oh my, how times have changed.

January 6, 2007, 02:43 AM
"Shooting to wound" is a popular fiction, and will get you in deep trouble in every jurisdiction I've ever heard of if you actually are involved in a derfensive shooting.

Shooting to wound implies a concious decision, that deadly force was not justified (in your mind). And, if deadly force is not justified, you are not justified in shooting.

You shoot (when justified) to STOP. NO OTHER REASON. If your assailant dies as a result of being stopped, so be it. They had to be stopped. Show remorse if you feel it, but never "shoot to wound".

January 6, 2007, 09:36 AM
"warning shots" don't work. Just look at the entry about the SFPD firing 130 shots and getting just a few hits. The 120+ misses were essentially warning shots and did not end the situation.

January 6, 2007, 10:26 AM
For those who want LEO's to "shoot to wound" or complain about our marksmanship, just try a little experiment next time you go to the range. Rather than stand 7 yards away from the well-lit target, facing it calmly and drawing before you place your precise double tap in the A zone: on a dimly lit range run about 100 yards as fast as you can, draw and fire while ducking and stepping out of the line of fire. KEEP MOVING! A stationary target is a dead target. Fire all your rounds as fast as you can, change magazines and fire the rest of them at your target. Then tell us how many you were able to put in the A zone.

Remember, your target will be paper, not flesh and blood, so you might actually be able to tell when your rounds hit. It's very difficult to tell when you've hit a live human being, you don't get a bright stream of arterial blood geysering into the air like in Hollywood and they don't necessarily react right away. Also, remember that your target won't be moving and shooting back, and you won't have to worry about friendly fire or innocent bystanders. Do this on a slippery surface with obstacles such as curbs, plants, and vehicles littering the range.

Remember, LEO's seldom train this way either, so their results will be comparable to people who don't train this way regularly. Too many safety issues and not enough training dollars, but these are precisely the conditions under which many shootings occur.

January 6, 2007, 11:07 AM
There is no debate.
People who know guns and shooting shoot to stop a threat.

January 6, 2007, 01:23 PM
she sounds very much like the anti's that I come in contact with. The belief that cops are highly trained in all things firearm related and are superb marksmen, which is why the average citizen shouldn't carry because they don't get that intensive training. :rolleyes:

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