Don't interrupt a Sheriff deputy's beer!


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jsalcedo
February 8, 2004, 11:55 AM
Free-Fire Zone

Interrupt a sheriff's deputy's beer? Prepare for a hailstorm of lead!

When Harris County sheriff's deputies return fire, they really return
fire. Especially if they're at a bar.

The December 27 drive-by shooting at the venerable West Alabama Ice
House didn't get much notice from the media, it being just another bit
of the gunplay that tends to liven up a night on the town here.

But gee, it sounds like it was fun.

Three off-duty deputies were at the icehouse about midnight, and things
seemed quiet enough. Then a 1992 Ford pickup truck screamed down the
street, with two twentysomethings in it, one of whom started firing a
.22-caliber pistol.

The cops tried to get the license plate but couldn't, so they settled
back to their table. Soon they heard the telltale sounds indicating the
truck was about to make a second pass. "By that time the guys had
loaded up and said, 'If he comes back again, forget about it, we're
returning fire,' " says Burt Springer, the lawyer representing two of
the deputies.

And did they ever. Somewhere around 40 shots' worth. Investigators
reportedly ran out of the little markers used to identify spent shell
casings and had to borrow paper cups. Basically, Springer says, the
deputies emptied their guns.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but.all the shots missed. The truck
was shot up like Swiss cheese, but neither the driver nor the trigger-
happy passenger was hit. They were stopped a mile or so later -- not
because they were driving a truck riddled with bullet holes, but
because they ran a red light.

(Deputies do have to keep up their target-shooting qualifications in
Harris County, but those tests are not taken in bars.)

Sheriff's spokesman Lieutenant Robert Van Pelt says the department's
internal affairs division is still looking into the incident, but
Springer thinks nothing will come of it. Since no one was hit, the
district attorney's office did not send anyone to the scene, making a
grand jury review more unlikely.

Springer says the deputies had been at the bar only a short time and
weren't drunk. Not that it would matter: "Even police officers who've
been drinking are allowed to defend themselves," he says.

If only they could aim.

http://www.houstonpress.com/issues/2004-02-05/hairballs.html/1/index.html

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FPrice
February 8, 2004, 12:08 PM
Was there an old movie on the TVthat night in the bar? "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight"?

El Tejon
February 8, 2004, 12:29 PM
Hmmm, must be that same Tejas lawman who said something about a ditch and a pile of brass, no?:D

TallPine
February 8, 2004, 02:02 PM
"Even police officers who've been drinking are allowed to defend themselves," he says.
And of course the rest of us aren't ....... :rolleyes: :(

idd
February 8, 2004, 02:15 PM
And of course the rest of us aren't .......


Au contraire, this is Texas. Self-defense is still respected.

4v50 Gary
February 8, 2004, 02:24 PM
Self defense is a God given right and even felons are entitled to defend themselves against unlawful deadly force or against great bodily injury. The real question is how much to shoot back considering that handguns are relatively ineffective against moving vehicles and the possibility of collateral damage.

Azrael256
February 8, 2004, 05:33 PM
Good shoot, IMHO. Raise your hand if you would've done differently.
Only problem I see is that it was only the deputies returning fire. Should've been the whole neighborhood.

WonderNine
February 8, 2004, 06:52 PM
Unfortunately I think this is indicative of police marksmanship in general....

JPM70535
February 8, 2004, 07:24 PM
My thoughts exactly, those Deputies desperately need a refresher at their Academy.

Thumper
February 8, 2004, 07:27 PM
No kidding, I mean, they couldn't even hit a passenger of a moving vehicle while under fire. Geez... Det. Murtaugh always gets 'em right between the eyes with his little .38...

:D

LawDog
February 8, 2004, 07:44 PM
*snort*

Anyone here wonder what the driver did when the first round went through the glass?

Other than that.

I imagine that parking there while they shot at him wasn't on the list.

Hitting an accelerating car, at midnight, isn't as easy as one might think at first blush.

LawDog

Ryder
February 8, 2004, 08:09 PM
Can't help but wonder why there was no mention of self defense here on the part of these off duty cops. Any windows shot on the bar? Bullet holes in the exterior walls or doors? The story leaves me with the impression that these two guys with the .22 were only raising hell shooting into the air. Death sentence for disturbing the peace?

These cops just went and sat back down after the first pass. Wouldn't they call that in if there had been real danger?

News reporting aint all it's cracked up to be!

TarpleyG
February 9, 2004, 10:41 AM
Tallpine beat me to it. As much as you can argue the drink and carry thing you have to admit that statement is very elitist considering normal CHL holders aren't allowed to carry in a bar and aren't allowed to drink and carry. These cops violated both of those "laws".

GT

HankB
February 9, 2004, 10:55 AM
Unfortunately I think this is indicative of police marksmanship in general.... Very true. It's my observation that police marksmanship, if graphed, would follow an inverted - but lopsided - bell curve. Now, granted, there are a certain number who are pretty doggoned good. But the majority are, to put it bluntly, almost as dangerous to themselves as the bad guys. (I've heard the same from more than one police firearms INSTRUCTOR.) The only time they shoot is at their annual or semiannual qualification.

I suspect if you took a bunch of randomly selected cops out and had them shoot something like the IDPA classifier, you'd end up with a bunch of "Novice" shooters.

TallPine
February 9, 2004, 11:31 AM
Au contraire, this is Texas. Self-defense is still respected.
Okay ... try this yourself, then

I really hope they have internet service in jail so you can tell us how it worked out.

cordex
February 9, 2004, 11:51 AM
Hitting an accelerating car, at midnight, isn't as easy as one might think at first blush.
No argument from me, 'Dog.
'Course, that does beg the question: "If you can't reasonably expect to make reliable hits on a moving vehicle with unknown occupants in a (presumably) populated area, should you be blazing away at it?"


Azrael256,
Raise your hand if you would've done differently.
*raises hand*
I'd be searching for hard cover, not emptying magazines at a moving vehicle.

But that's me and I'm not a police officer.

QuickDraw
February 9, 2004, 12:10 PM
Did I miss the part where the yahoos in the truck were shooting AT the bar?
What would have happened if the cops had put several into the driver,
him losing control,crashing into an orphanage full of blind,crippled,
children.Justifiable shooting?
I thought eveyone in Texas drove around shooting in the air,
cowboy style! :D (just kidding)

QuickDraw

TheEgg
February 9, 2004, 12:28 PM
If it is bad public policy for me, a CHL license holder, to be able to carry my handgun into a bar and have a few beers (it is illegal and will get you arrested on a felony charge in Texas), then it is bad public policy for deputies to be able to carry their weapons into a bar for a few beers.

Oh, wait, I forgot -- some are "more equal" than others.

:barf:

Orthonym
February 9, 2004, 08:12 PM
One would think that the off-duty deputies would have enough presence of mind,after repelling the first drive-by and getting back to serious recreation,to get on the phone to dispatcher, 911, or whatever, and get some other folks, on the clock, out there to take care of the situation.

Wait- No!
Don't tell me this was one of those counties with such a small population that the entire Sheriff's staff was in the bar!

Cosmoline
February 9, 2004, 08:27 PM
Actually that sounds darned impressive for short guns. I think even gun owners have watched too many sillwood movies. Seeing James Bond drop some BG with his Walther at 200 meters eventually alters your subconscious mind. So you imagine it's an easy matter to nail a bunch of people in a fast-moving motor vehicle with only sidearms.

If you actually need to hit something, especially something that's moving fast and shooting back at you, you need a long gun.

The posse that ended the Barrow Gang's reign of terror realized this. They used Remington Autos, Colt Monitors, and assorted hunting rifles. And the end result was shall we say, a little more decisive :D

Thumper
February 9, 2004, 08:31 PM
Don't tell me this was one of those counties with such a small population that the entire Sheriff's staff was in the bar!

Naw, man...Harris County is Houston. It's hard to tell from the article, but maybe they didn't have a whole lot of time. The article just says "soon."

Orthonym
February 9, 2004, 08:41 PM
It's the attitude,dude! (My opinion subject to correction if/when I get better info). As it happened, the rowdy folks weren't all that dangerous, and were caught. What if they had been seriously dangerous? (I.e., sober, heavily armed Mohammedan fanatics?)

labgrade
February 10, 2004, 03:24 AM
1) "Reporting" this incident in such an editorial fashion lends no credence to the author.

2) Nothing mentions the officers were having anything alcoholic - merely they were in a place that served some. Don't know 'bout down south, but perfectly legal here in CO.

3) I kinda do wonder why there was no reporting of reporting of (yes, I meant to write it that way) the first drive-by. Perhaps the occifers did, but it wasn't reported in the article as such? I dunno. Whole thing really does sound anti-cop biased to me.

4) " ... but.all the shots missed. The truck was shot up like Swiss cheese, ... "

Don't know 'bout y'all, but "swiss chees" doesn't sound like "all the shots missed."

5) From all information, the occifers may have been waiting outside, the truck drove by at 15 feet & every shot was well-directed into where they were supposed to go. Depending upon circumstances, background, etc. it may be that they were every bit circumspect in their application of fire.

6) Not a darned thing you can tell from such a slip-shod article.

7) Makes for a great attempt at cop-bashing though, huh? - with zero substantiation.

Howz that, Art? :D

labgrade, (peacemonger)

cordex
February 10, 2004, 08:40 AM
Nothing mentions the officers were having anything alcoholic - merely they were in a place that served some. Don't know 'bout down south, but perfectly legal here in CO.
In Texas, I believe the "51% Law" applies ... to Concealed Handgun permittees, anyway. Doubt it applies to police.
Don't know 'bout y'all, but "swiss chees" doesn't sound like "all the shots missed."
I think the author was trying to say "all the shots missed the perps".

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