Local Deputy tells me when he *almost* shot someone in SD


December 20, 2003, 11:14 AM
An acquaintance of my father's is a local businessman, and is also a reserve deputy sheriff. This person served as some sort of county jail keeper for many years. He is also one of the nicest people I have ever met.

Let's call this person "John".

One day, "John" was waxing nostalgic about the days when he was more actively involved with the Sheriff's department, and so I asked him if he ever had any hairy situations occur that made it necessary for him to draw his sidearm.

He said that one time, he and another deputy were out serving a warrant, or running radar or something, and it had just gotten dark outside. John was in the front passenger seat, and the other deputy was driving.

For whatever reason, the driver (deputy) was outside the car - either to serve a warrant or to approach a stopped vehicle - I really can't remember. John was sitting in the front passenger seat of the cruiser.

Either way, as he was on his way back to his car, a man approached down the sidewalk carrying something. This man had nothing to do with why the deputies were stopped - I do remember that part. He was a third party that just happened to be there - that was what was so striking to me about this whole thing.

Anyway, the man approached, and was carrying something like a bat or a stick. The deputy asked the man to stop. He kept coming. The deputy repeated the command, drew his sidearm (96FS) and shined his flashlight at the subject. The man kept coming.

At this point, "John" was still sitting in the front passenger seat - now with gun drawn. The deputy who was outside finally screamed to the subject to stop, and the guy that was approaching started asking what all the fuss was about. He was carrying some sort of gardening tool and was on his way home from a neighbor's or something to that effect, and indicated he meant no harm to anyone. (I think I would have told him if he was that stupid to get a hearing aid or a bullet proof vest.)

Anyway, it seems that "John" stayed inside the vehicle during all this - and indicated that that was the most scared he had ever been in his entire life. He said - "Travis, I almost shot him. I wouldn't have gotten out, I would have shot him through the windshield."

I asked him why he would have shot through the windshield - he indicated that the subject scared him so badly that he would have difficulty exiting the vehicle. I don't know if he meant because he was scared and "frozen up", or if he just didn't want to further expose himself to danger.

Now, this local Sheriff's department carries Beretta 96FS (.40) pistols. I *assume* they use hollow-points. I am no police officer, but this doesn't seem like normal protocol to me. I wasn't there, but I believe that shooting through the windshield from inside the vehicle is just about the worst possible thing he could have done.

I know a thing or two about guns and what-not, so let's just say that I wouldn't have wanted to be in the deputy's shoes in that situation - because I am averse to being shot in the back - even accidently.

Also, I wasn't there - but I can say with reasonable certainly that when the deputy saw someone and began yelling - that I would have immediately exited the vehicle to assist.

I really like this guy - he is probably in his mid-fifties, and is a well-respected member of the community. He is one of those people that everyone knows and most people like. However, when he told me this story, I was QUITE taken aback.



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December 20, 2003, 11:32 AM
At least standing behind the open door during the traffic stop...the only routine ones have already been completed...then no question about exiting.

December 20, 2003, 11:43 AM
Being caught in your patrol car and unable to maneuver is a scary thing at night. My department had this policy where the deputies were expected to dictate their reports into a tape recording while parked somewhere in public so we could be seen. One night I was dictating a report when a car pulled up behind me. The driver left his lights on and got out of the car and started walking up to me. I started my car and drove off, turned around, and lit him up with my high beams. He was bewildered.

He turned out to be a "good" citizen who wanted to give me some information. I, irritated, suggested it would be a good idea for him to park in front of the patrol car and walk back from where he could be seen. It was then the fellow realized how I interpreted his parking behind me and blinding me with his headlights. He apologized profusely.


December 20, 2003, 02:27 PM
Sitting in car = kill zone.

Bad JuJu.


Standing Wolf
December 20, 2003, 04:59 PM
Shooting through a car windshield would be my last choice, even when shooting at a bear or moose.

December 20, 2003, 07:56 PM
I would have gotten out of the car. Sure wouldn't want him covering my six!

December 20, 2003, 09:06 PM
I've been questioned by cops through an open car window a couple of times. Incredibly vulnerable position to put themselves into.

December 20, 2003, 09:42 PM
There was an article posted here on THR about a bullet resistsant glass that was developed to allow officers to shoot through the windows of their cars.

December 21, 2003, 06:43 AM
Maybe I read this wrong. The guy is working as a LEO and he`s sitting in the car while his partner is doing a car stop?:what: Then he gets scared and the first thing on his mind is to use deadly force on some guy who`s walking down the street with a stick? :rolleyes:

I worked with a couple of Sgts. who`d pull that crap. Pull that guy over, give him a summons while I sit here doing paperwork and not paying attention. You can go to hell and while you`re there get yourself a new driver.:barf:

December 22, 2003, 01:18 AM
The guy is working as a LEO and he`s sitting in the car while his partner is doing a car stop?

As he was telling me the story, that also struck me as odd.

I didn't want to say anything - because he's [quite a bit] older and "well-respected" and has been an LEO since before the wheel was invented during the "good old days" and all of that - and I would look like a 24-year old punk know-it-all if I were to question him - especially in front of others.

Like I said, I'm just relaying the information that was given to me. There may have been circumstances that I don't know about, necessitating him to be in the car, but I sort of doubt it. Either way, it seems odd - especially the wanting to shoot through the windshield part.

I mean, if there was that much time, I would probably already have a shotgun in my hands.

Thanks for the responses.


December 22, 2003, 07:40 AM
Sounds like the need for some retraining. One of the problems with "experienced" officers, pilots, drivers, soldiers etc. is that some of them feel they never need to go over the basics again. There is never such a thing as too much training.

December 22, 2003, 11:38 AM
Was he a full-time officer at the time? Or a reserve officer? That may have something to do with it.

I remember the first time I was ever tested in this way; looking back on it, I can think of at least a dozen different ways I could've handled it, and all 12 would have been better than what I really did...

On the "shooting through the windshield" topic... Several years ago, a local LEO in my neck of the woods did a traffic stop shortly after midnight. As he was calling in the license plate, the driver and passenger both exited the vehicle, both armed. The officer dropped the mic, drew his 1911, and fired through the windshield, killing the driver and wounding the passenger.

Evolution in action.

P.S. His department had just recently made a group purchase on the 1911's, on the theory that all of their officers should be uniformly armed; prior to the swap, he carried a S&W 9mm....

December 22, 2003, 12:54 PM
I'm fairly certain he was a reserve. Like I said, he was a jailer for a long time - now a banker, but has kept his ties to the local Sheriff's Department.


December 22, 2003, 02:04 PM
Now, this local Sheriff's department carries Beretta 96FS (.40) pistols. I *assume* they use hollow-points.

This may be a dumb question, but what are the ballistic ramifications if he had fired hollow points thru the windshield? Would penetration thru the glass have caused expansion that could've affected accuracy? I am in no way an expert on this subject, but I am curious to know what hollow points thru a windshield would do.

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