Gun Fights are Dangerous — Even if You Win

By Dave Dolbee published on in Safety and Training

An armed resident and an intruder were both killed. The intruder was killed by the homeowner. The homeowner was killed by a responding officer. Read the following account of what happened. The details are sparse, but the commentary regarding the dos and don’ts in the comment section should be revealing.

It’s about 1:30 a.m. The police have responded to an intruder call. As the police arrive on the scene, they hear gunshots. Fearing for the safety of the home’s occupants, the police rush in and encounter a man holding gun. The police shoot the man with the gun. In doing so, the homeowner, who had just shot the intruder, is shot and killed by the responding officer.

The investigation of whether the officer’s actions were justified is fodder for another place time. We simply do not have enough details, and I have no wish to foster a bunch of comments to bash those who run to, not from, the 911 calls. Nonetheless, this could be most any of us. Maybe you did everything right, perhaps not.

After all, the police shot the homeowner in his own house. Stress levels were high. The officer may not have properly identified himself. In the heat of the moment, adrenaline flowing, the homeowner may have panicked and leveled his gun at the responding officers after they identified themselves. We just don’t know, and there is little benefit to debating the right or wrong actions of those involved without complete details. However, that does not mean that this cannot be a catalyst for a learning moment.

Don’t Get Mistaken for the Bad Guy

You awake to a crash and people yelling. You realize an intruder is in your house. You hear a family member scream and gunshots. Fearing for your safety and that of your loved ones, you move to confront the intruder.

Your neighbors also heard the shots and screams and called the police who, unbeknownst to you, are only one block away. You see the intruder coming down the hall, alone. You confront him and are forced to shoot and kill him as the police pull up to the house

What happens next?

This is your chance to write the story and share your knowledge with readers of The Shooter’s Log. Provide your answer in the comment section.

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Comments (58)

  • Frank

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    The homeowners mistake was in calling the “police.” That’s always a recipe for disaster. Cops are good for handing out speeding tickets and that’s about all.

    Reply

  • JAMES T COOK

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    We don’t know all the facts yet. However, ANY foolish person that tries to justify the behavior of a LEO that has killed two people in a 30 day time period, is asinine. A homeowner doesn’t need to train, kiss the police’s butt as they come to their home. All they need to do is obey the law and be respectful of of their authority, that’s all. The Constitution gives us certain unalienable rights, which law enforcement cannot take away. Period! To comment that the homeowner has to unload his gun, get on the floor with his hands behind his head is ridiculous. The officers have to know that the homeowner is going to be impaired, in shock or affected in an adverse way after a shooting maybe they should be the ones who train for this scenario not the homeowner.

    Reply

  • Pete Chandler

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    Sleep with a florescent worded shirt that says HOMEOWNER front and back

    Reply

  • Phil

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    First, I’m not a police officer. As a civilian though, there are far too many reports of civilians being killed by police. As far as this story, all I’ve heard is that the homeowner was told 5 times to put down his weapon before he was shot by the police. I have not heard whether the homeowner was pointing his gun at the police or not. Was he shot simply because he didn’t put down his weapon? Could his hearing have been impaired because of his shots to kill the intruder? Were the police all shouting commands simultaneously so that he was confused? Could he have been shot yet not killed? The police are trained to shoot center mass which almost always is fatal. Is it possible he could have been merely wounded to disable him? In my opinion, the homeowner should not have been shot. I understand that their job is public safety and that they also fear for their own lives. However, they should be trained much better to handle these situations without the death of someone being the only option.

    Reply

    • Robin Sellers

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      Start making those cops stand trial for being stupid. But what can you expect out of someone to lazy to get a real job.

      Reply

    • dprato

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      There are over 1,000 incidents a year of police breaking into the wrong home and the results being catastrophic resulting in injury, death, confiscation and destruction of property putting innocent people in horrendous legal and persona situations.

      As far as this article goes I stated earlier that it should never have been written until all the facts were known. Looking at the array of comments it is obvious that not everyone has the same information or which information is accurate. Makes most of us make assumptions that may or may not be correct about how we might handle the situation. Would have been better to wait, give us all the details so that we could respond more knowledgeably.

      Reply

  • JAMES T COOK

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    No, he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the LAW! Remember he is in the shooters home where the homeowners rights are unequivocal. If the police chief ruled that the LEO is not guilty he should be FIRED immediately. A cops rights do not exceed the rights of the individual or the C0nstitution. Period. Now you know why Denver has become a den of thieves and pot smoking parasites. Everybody wants to make sure it is known that they love the police and firemen. I don’t like any of them that break the law and murder innocent folks. This cop not only needs to be fired, he has to serve jail time. No back-up, no identification and apparently no clue about procedure. Did the police chief in the Florida school shooting earlier this year transfer to Aurora? This pisses me off!

    Reply

  • Matt

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    It’s really hard to say what the correct thing to do is. It’s all driven by the situation and not a one size fits all thing that can be planned. I know what my 2 decades of Army training have turned into muscle memory. I do keep combat plugs by the AR that I use for home defense. That way I won’t lose my hearing if or when shots get fired. But having your firearm at the ready and not standing in the open if you think there is a possibility of another intruder would be the optimal plan. Then when the cops do come busting in you have a better chance of seeing them rather than being caught by surprise. Cops tend to shoot armed people that are started by them. It’s always best to take up a good defensive position once you have removed the immediate threat. It can keep you from getting shot by whoever come by next good or bad.

    Reply

  • jim fritz

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    We live just down the street. This is the latest, but may not correct. The homeowner is a Vietnam vet, a bit hard of hearing. A naked crazed neighbor got inside his home and was assaulting his grandson. The homeowner used lethal force. Cops did not enter the home and instead one cop fired INTO the house from OUTSIDE and killed the homeowner. Again, will the narrative change later? I don’t know.
    Lesson to be learned, when you call 911, and you are armed make sure you do two things. Say you are the homeowner and armed and clearly describe yourself to dispatch. Obviously make sure you impress upon dispatch that you are in fear of your life.

    Reply

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