Man shot to death by Meridian police, family questions tactics

Not open for further replies.
I live in Meridian, the incident happened a few miles from my house. It seems pretty doubtful to me that officers would intentionally go into a domestic situation unarmed.

Several people have been shot and killed for attacking police with knives in the area lately, one went from contact with the police to the BG dead in less than 30 seconds.

I fully support the right of our police force to use lethal force when confronted with lethal force. A knife is deadly, there are some things you do not do, and one of them is attack the police with a weapon.

I don't know the whole story yet and I'm glad it will be investigated but all of the area shoots in the 7 years I've lived here have been justified.

I doubt there there will be a settlement, we have had far more controversial shootings over the past few years.
It is sad that this happened but I say tough. You pull garbage like that in Idaho you get what's coming to you. If you want touchy feely "help the criminals" then off to California with you! I myself am a former Californian and the last thing we need here is California type crime.

Suicide by Cop.

Hope the LEO's are holding up OK in the aftermath. I'm sure those types of incidents really make you think things over for a while... and then (hopefully) get right back to work.

It isn't the first time, it won't be the last time.
eek.... I don't even know what to think.

On one hand, I have had a medical reaction (allergic reaction) to a medication which caused strange behavior according to those who saw me. So if the police had gotten involved, it would suck to think they could have killed me when I wasn't myself and was having an allergic reaction to a new medication (a medication which isn't even meant to affect your brain - I just had a bizarre reaction and can never take it again). Situations like that really deserve special attention and careful tactics. I didn't become violent, just very confused and frightened apparently.

On the other hand, lunging at the cops with a knife.... from the standpoint of the cops, is a bad situation. Less-lethal force could result in an officer getting stabbed....

I'd say probably the best alternative would have been to have the lady cuff the guy beforehand so that when the cops come in to transport him to a medical facility to get his treatment and end the behavior problem from the symptoms - they wouldn't have to worry about the issue of force.

Or have somebody somehow sedate him.
I'd say probably the best alternative would have been to have the lady cuff the guy beforehand so that when the cops come in to transport him to a medical facility to get his treatment and end the behavior problem from the symptoms - they wouldn't have to worry about the issue of force.
If these people were willing to deal with this situation in the first place, they would not have called the police.

Or have somebody somehow sedate him.
Someone did have to sedate him. Unfortunely, these type of incidents most often do not allow the luxury of time to pursue all of the wonderful well thought out remedies that some people can think of after the fact.

I guess my years in law enforcement is probably showing.
I'll bet he's pretty sedate right now.

If that sounds callous, oh well, not every situation turns out smelling like roses and imo every life does not have the same worth. As in muggers and victims etc. By attacking the police, he devalued his life.
On the other hand, it sounds like the police had at least some advanced warning of what the situation was, so with all of the tools available to help arrest and/or subdue this EDP (taser, baton, pepper spray), I find myself asking why the pistol was the answer?

Pepper spray doesn't work all the time. I've seen it drop people fast and I've also seen people have a delayed reaction to it. I've seen a guy get hit with a stream of "Whoop Ass" and it had almost no affect on him. I've seen the same with Fox Labs, the guy had about a 15 minute delayed reaction.

You have to remember that pain receptors in everyone don't work the same. Taking a baton to him could have probably disabled him but at much greater risk to the officer. A baton or taser might not get fast enough results to avoid officer injury. He might not react to the pain that a baton or taser would bring.
The guy had Hep C and a knife. A wrestling match with this guy can end in a death sentence for the police officer. You do not want any contact with his blood . Yes shooting him lets the blood out but then again you do not have to wrestle with him later. I am not saying he should have been shot for having Hep C but that the disease along with a knife really limits options. You really do not want to ger bit by people like this either. I do not believe it has been proven one way ot the other about transfer of Hep with bites but who wants tobe the first?

21 foot rule

We've gone as far as rigging a target stand on a plastic kiddie sled and have people take turns pulling toward the shooter at a sprint. The shooter usually can get off maybe one shot from the holster before the sled gets into slashing range of the shooter requiring the shooter to step off the axis of the attack.

Now, the same situation within a confined space and you really have to stay ahead of unfolding developements to avoid injury.

Babbling nutball in violation of a DVRO with a knife lunging at officer = invitation to in-coming gunfire. I suspect that this guy aquired his Hep-C as a result of IV drug use and probably had run-ins with the police before.
Good Shoot. Good Riddance.

The good news is he won't have to worry about the Hep-C anymore. :D
The shooter usually can get off maybe one shot from the holster before the sled gets into slashing range of the shooter requiring the shooter to step off the axis of the attack.

That makes sense but the key part of that is "from the holster". With a handgun drawn and aimed, you can put a heck of a lot more than one bullet in someone from 21 ft away. The reason why I mention that is because when police enter a home where they know there is a knife wielding mentally unstable person, they either already have drawn or they should have drawn at that point (with good reason of course).

I don't think any of us can say it was a good or bad shoot from the info in that article. There's way too much missing information. In fact, that applies to every case that gets posted on here. It's silly for us to even try without actually being there or seeing very detailed video evidence. For police there is a very thin line between a good shoot and a bad shoot, hence all the lawsuits. I also think that comparing a CCW holder and the police is ridiculous. We might react to a situation in a similar way because we're both human (instincts) but that's about where the similarity ends.
An Update Today

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Family questions police tactics in deadly shooting

Expert: Meridian police used wrong tactics in incident that left one man dead
Authorities aren't saying much, but one expert says Meridian Police used the wrong tactics Sunday night in an incident that left one man dead. The family says it will sue.
By Heath Druzin - [email protected]
Edition Date: 05/17/07

Three days after a Meridian Police officer fatally shot a mentally unstable man, questions remain.

Why did police enter the Meridian house where Ricardo Benitez was holed up alone?

Did they make any attempt to coax him out?

Why did Officer Brian Lueddeke use his service revolver instead of a nonlethal weapon such as a Taser or beanbag round?

Meridian Police have declined to answer these questions and many others about the incident. Police did provide some basic information, including the name of the officer who fired the fatal shots after Benitez lunged at him with a knife.

Based on the information released by police, a national expert on police use of deadly force has questions about the officers' tactics.

"The first approach is to get a hostage-type negotiator or suicide prevention person and try to talk him out," said Geoffrey Alpert, a deadly force expert who helps police departments around the country write their use of force policies. "There's no reason to do anything else if he's only a threat to himself."

Among the undisputed facts is that Benitez was alone in the house and armed with a knife, but he was not threatening others when police entered the house.

Alpert said it's not worth risking officers' lives by sending them into that situation.

"Clearly, you want to talk him out, you don't want to rush him," he said.

Benitez's estranged wife, Terry Benitez, said police made no attempt to contact her husband before going into the house.

She has also said that officers told her they were not bringing live ammunition into the house but instead would use nonlethal weapons, such as Tasers, to subdue Ricardo Benitez, 47, who died on the scene from three gunshot wounds to the chest.

Meridian Police would not comment on what officers said to Benitez's family. They have said that Ricardo Benitez had threatened his family with a knife earlier that night. The family denies they were threatened.

Terry Benitez said her husband suffered from hepatitis C, which caused brain swelling and erratic behavior.

She called police late Sunday because Ricardo Benitez was acting bizarrely, speaking incoherently and had grabbed a bread knife. Benitez said she wanted help getting her husband medical attention.

"It's pretty darn sad that ... you're afraid if you call on the cops you're going to get shot," said Terry Benitez, who said she will sue the police department.

Meridian Police Lt. Bob Stowe declined to answer a series of questions, including whether any of the officers on scene were carrying nonlethal weapons or whether they recovered the knife Benitez was allegedly carrying.

"We're going to let the investigation continue," he said.

Mayor Tammy DeWeerd did not return a request for an interview, and Meridian Police Chief Bill Musser did not return repeated requests for comment Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Questions left with city attorney Bill Nary for Musser were not answered.

At the beginning of a news conference Monday, Musser announced he would not answer questions. Reading from a statement, Musser referred to Benitez as having a "history of violence" but did not provide any details.

A search of Ada County criminal records turned up only one apparent violent incident, a 2001 conviction for misdemeanor resisting and obstructing. At the news conference, Musser also said Lueddeke, whom the department named on Wednesday, acted properly.

Lueddeke, who has been a Meridian Police officer for three years, remains on paid administrative leave, which is the department's policy. Five other officers who entered the house were also initially placed on paid leave but are now back on the job.

The Boise Police Department is leading the multi-agency Ada County Critical Incident Task Force in an investigation of the shooting.
One reason police hate domestic disputes is that they often wind up with both parties joining forces against them. The wife's response appears to be a manifestation of this dynamic.
I fully support the right of our police force to use lethal force when confronted with lethal force.

But do you support the right of self defense for us mere commoners? If so, why did you phrase it the way you chose to phrase it?
220 Swift said:
Sounds like mother nature added some extra chlorine to the gene pool.
If by chlorine you mean HepC?
Its possible that this guy wasn't a moron, and that he was genuinely ill. If that is the case (which I'm not saying it is for sure) then this is certainly a tragic case.
Not open for further replies.