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Quick thinking saves deputy's life

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Preacherman, Dec 13, 2005.

  1. Preacherman

    Preacherman Elder

    Dec 20, 2002
    Louisiana, USA
    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


    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."
  2. Alex45ACP

    Alex45ACP Participating Member

    Apr 21, 2005
    Another victory for prohibition.
  3. CAS700850

    CAS700850 Participating Member

    Jul 20, 2004
    Central Ohio
    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."
  4. middy

    middy Participating Member

    Mar 26, 2004
    :what: Nice move.
  5. GTSteve03

    GTSteve03 Participating Member

    Apr 21, 2005
    Cumming, GA
    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.
  6. Oldtimer

    Oldtimer Member

    Oct 5, 2005
    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.
  7. fjolnirsson

    fjolnirsson Participating Member

    Jan 21, 2004
    Oregon, in the Willamette Valley
    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.
  8. jsalcedo

    jsalcedo Senior Member

    Dec 31, 2002
    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.
  9. Old Dog

    Old Dog Senior Member

    Aug 11, 2004
    somewhere on Puget Sound
    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 ...
  10. TarpleyG

    TarpleyG Senior Member

    Dec 28, 2002
    North Carolina
    No distinguishment between ordinary law-abiding people and criminals noted here. In other words, ALL people with handguns are very disconcerting.

  11. mbs357

    mbs357 Participating Member

    Dec 14, 2004
    Vienna, VA
    Vash the Stampede strikes again.
  12. Mulliga

    Mulliga Senior Member

    Jan 13, 2004
    Gainesville, Florida
    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.
  13. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Dec 24, 2002
    Idahohoho, the jolliest state
    Unfortunately, an awful lot of cops perceive no distinction between citizens and criminals when it comes to firearms.
  14. Old Dog

    Old Dog Senior Member

    Aug 11, 2004
    somewhere on Puget Sound
    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.

    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.
  15. WvaBill

    WvaBill Member

    Sep 22, 2003
    Springtime, WV
    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.
  16. GTKrockeTT

    GTKrockeTT Member

    Mar 5, 2003
    Southern California
    anyone else concerned that there was no search made on Nace to see if he had any firearms on him?
  17. crofrog

    crofrog Active Member

    May 31, 2005
    Severna Park, MD
    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.

  18. LAK

    LAK Senior Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    This is misleading. As Mulliga points out, this only disables a DA revolver if the hammer is not cocked.

  19. Firethorn

    Firethorn Participating Member

    Feb 27, 2004
    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.
  20. Devonai

    Devonai Senior Member

    Mar 24, 2003
    Art imitates life, you hack. I will grant an exception for our first (public) encounter with space aliens.

    +1 Vash.

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