A timely article on “Surviving ‘Shots Fired’ Calls” by FSRC National Advisory Board member Dave Grossi appears in The Law Enforcement Trainer magazine (4th quarter 2004), just published by the American Society for Law Enforcement Training.
Grossi reinforces the risks of these common but hazardous calls by citing a number of cases of officer deaths resulting from them, and reviews appropriate tactics for approaching them.
The value of the article was underscored a few days ago in Ceres, CA, when an AWOL Marine fired a shot into the pavement of a liquor store parking lot. He then went inside and told the clerk, “Somebody just fired at me. Call the police.”
Minutes later officers arrived in multiple units. Waiting with an assault rifle, the suspect shot 2 officers, who went down. One was able to crawl to safety. The other died when the suspect ran up to him and fired 2 more rounds into the back of his head.
Several hours later in another confrontation with police, the suspect himself was killed, apparently the successful initiator of a suicide-by-cop.
A good reminder not to take any dispatch for granted. In this case, the “victim/complainant” turned out to be the perpetrator. Under such circumstances any officer responding in the wrong mindset could be a ready candidate for assassination.