Skip to comments.Massad Ayoob: 5 Things To Know After A Defensive Shooting
Posted on 03/20/2017 7:19:05 PM PDT by Strac6
Never forget that when you shoot someone, however necessarily and justifiably, you look an awful lot like a killer and he looks an awful lot like a victim. The stereotype can take hold quickly if you dont act to let the authorities from the first responding officer to the designated lead investigator know what happened. The old saying You only get one chance to make a first impression is absolutely true here.
Decades ago, I developed a five-point checklist of things I feel the righteous shooter needs to establish as soon as possible in the aftermath. It has been widely adopted, sometimes with attribution and sometimes without, and is now recommended by entities ranging from the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network to the US Concealed Carry Association. Im rather proud of that.
Establish the active dynamic. That is, let the authorities know immediately what happened here. If you have harmed someone in self-defense, always remember that the active dynamic is not what you did to him, its what he was trying to do to you or another victim. The active dynamic is his action that forced your lawful response. Its not, I shot him. Its, This man tried to kill me. Or, This man attacked my wife. Whatever it was that led to your use of force.This makes it clear that the guy on the ground doing a convincing imitation of a victim is in fact the criminal perpetrator. It makes it clear that you, the person with the smoking gun who just shot someone, are in fact the intended victim. If one or more of your attackers has left the scene, explain that now, and give their description. Its going to be hard for people to see you as the innocent party if you failed to let police know that a violent criminal was at large.
Advise the police that you will sign the complaint. There are two roles open in this particular play: victim and perpetrator. As noted, appearances can create mistaken role reversal if things arent immediately clarified. By making a statement to the police to the effect of I will sign the complaint, you reinforce the fact that you are the victim-complainant, the good guy or gal, and the person youre signing the complaint on is the bad guy who forced you to harm him in legitimate defense of self or others. (Note: I would not advise using the phrase I will press charges. The reason is that legal terminology varies slightly jurisdiction to jurisdiction. While in many jurisdictions it is indeed the complainant who presses charges, there are some places where the local terminology is such that the prosecutor presses charges. If you inadvertently find yourself in one of those places and say I will press charges, it sounds to the police as if you have delusions of being the elected chief prosecutor, and you wont be off to a good start. I will sign the complaint is neutral and universal.)
Point out the evidence. The scene will be chaotic. Witnesses will be trampling the scene. So will paramedics and police officers. Ive seen cases of the bad guys gun being picked up by his accomplice or by a well-meaning neighbor who didnt want to leave it where a child could find it. Ive seen spent casings kicked away from their original resting place, or picked up in the treads of emergency personnels boots or the wheels of an ambulance gurney, thus altering the dimensions of the shooting scene and making it look like something it wasnt. The sooner you point out the evidence to the first responding officers, the more likely it is to be secured. When youve done the right thing, evidence helps you.
Point out the witnesses. Witnesses worry about having to lose time from work to testify in court, or being the target for vengeance by criminals. A lot of them dont want to get involved. Once they leave the scene unidentified, their testimony that would have helped to prove your innocence leaves with them. Point out the witnesses to the police at the first opportunity. (Some have asked, What if the witness is a friend of the attacker and lies about what happened? The fact is, he was going to do that anyway, so you havent lost anything. However, your having pointed him out to the police can be seen as an indication that you believed in your own innocence, or you wouldnt have steered the police to him, and that cant hurt.)
Politely decline further questioning until you have consulted an attorney. Studies show that, in the immediate aftermath of a life-threatening encounter, we may forget some things or get some details wrong. The questions to you will come at random as they occur to the officer, and you will answer them in the same order; in reviewing the cops notes and his recollection of the discussion later, this can create the false illusion that you were giving a narrative of events in the order in which they occurred, which of course is not the case. But later, when you do narrate events in the sequence of their occurrence, it creates a false perception that you have changed your story. Often, very frightening things that happened are blocked in short term memory by a subconscious that doesnt want to recall them; when you mention something later that you didnt mention at the scene, it sounds made up. You dont want to answer detailed questions as to exact words spoken, distances, or time frames. None of us are human tape recorders. The tunnel vision that afflicts well over half of people caught up in something like a gunfight creates the literal optical illusion that things and people appear closer and larger than they are. If your memory tells you your attacker was six feet away when you shot him but he turns out to have been six yards away, you sound like a liar. Tachypsychia is likewise very common, the sense of things going into slow motion. It seemed to you as if the fight took a whole minute, and you say so, but a security camera shows it was actually only ten seconds, and now you look like a liar. The involved victim who had to fight for his or her very survival is the worst possible witness for measuring things in feet or inches, or counting how many shots were fired.
Experts recommend 24 to 48 hours between one of these critical incidents, as they are now euphemistically called in the emergency services, and when the participant is subjected to a detailed debriefing. The Force Science Institute recommends one full sleep cycle.
This is why my recommendation practical advice, not legal advice is to establish the active dynamic, indicate that youll sign the complaint, point out evidence and witnesses known to you and then stop. Be polite. Do not raise your voice. I for one would answer subsequent questions with, Officer, youll have my full cooperation after Ive spoken with counsel.
"Officer, he said he was going to kill me, and he pointed that gun there at me and fired two shots, and the spent cartridge cases are over there..." should never be allowed to progress to "Well, when did you first see his gun....."
Also remember, in even the most righteous of shootings, some long lost cousin is going to sue you. You are speaking for the record, both civilly and criminally.
Also, when calling 911, always say "This is an emergency," then give the address or cross street before anything else. That way, if you get cut off, help will still come. If you are trying to describe the nature of the emergency before the location, they may know there are three perps running loose, but not where.
Yes, cell triangulation will help, but always give the location first.
his name sounds like sideboob
Not a comment I would make to his face.
He is a certified bad ass.
He’s a smart guy and this is good advice.
“I feared for my life.”
My lawyer will answer all other questions...
Also, he was once asked why he had never become a master of at least one of the martial arts.
He replied. “If I was attacked and I was some sort of Kung Fu Jedi Master, then I might not get to shoot the bad guy.”
Massad F. Ayoob
DOB 07/20/1948 in Cambridge, MA
Two daughters, Cathbin and Justine
Bachelor of Science in Business, 1970
New Hampshire College, Cum Laude
Director of Lethal Force Institute, Inc, 1981-present
International Director of Police Firearms Training, Defensive Tactics Institute, 1980-82
Special Instructor, Chapman Academy, 1981-88
Assistant Professor teaching weapons and Chemical Agents, Advanced Police Training Program of New Hampshire 1974-77
Special Instructor, NH Institute of Karate
Feature lecturer, Missouri Police Shooting State Championships and Seminar, 1983-88
International Instructor Staff, PR-24 police baton training program
National Chairman, committee on police firearms training, American Society of Law Enforcement Trainers (ASLET), 1987-present
Co-instructor (with former world combat pistol champion Ray Chapman) of Advanced Officer Survival Seminars conducted nationwide through Police Marksman Association
Lecturer and coordinator, first state ASLET seminar (New Hampshire, 1988)
Guest lecture experience includes Second Chance Officer Survival Seminar 1980-85
Smith & Wesson Academy Instructors update
Metro-Dade Police Academy (use of deadly force, unarmed combat and arrest tactics, officer survival)
Ordnance Expo., Los Angeles 1983-84
New England SWAT Seminar
ASLET NATIONAL SEMINARS (knife/counterknife; plainclothes/off-duty encounter management; forensic aspects of gunshot/knife/bludgeon wounds)
Regional International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Seminars, New York (ammunition selection) and Switzerland (dynamics of violent encounters)
McGill Univ. School of Medicine, Royal Victoria teaching hospital (wound dynamics, knife and gunshot), 1988
International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors (aftermath management in police shootings), National Conference, 1988
Lecturer, National Tactical Invitational, Gunsite Training Center, 1995
Smith & Wesson Academy Advanced Combat Shooting, 1st in class
Smith & Wesson Academy Instructor Course, 1st in class
Smith & Wesson Academy Officer Survival Course, 1st in class
Smith & Wesson Academy Weapon Retention Instructor Course
Smith & Wesson Academy Instructors Update (Twice)
Smith & Wesson Academy Match Shooting School
PR-24 Baton Instructor Course (Lon Anderson)
PR-24 National Instructors Seminar (annually)
National Instructor, Telescoping Baton (CASCO)
National Instructor, Persuader Baton (Joe Truncale)
Instructor, Straight Baton (COPSTK)
PPCT Pressure Point Control Tactics (Bruce Siddle)
Kubotan Instructor Course (Takayuki Kubota, John Peters)
International Police Academy Defensive Tactics Instructor Course (Rated master instructor by Sensei Jim Morell)
Advanced Homicide Investigation (Lt. Cmdr. Vern Geberth, NYPD, ret.)
Medical Legal Death Investigation (Dade County Medical Examiners Office)
International Homicide Investigators Seminar (Twice)
NYPD Hostage Negotiation for Supervisors
NYPD Post Shooting Tactics
NYPD House Clearing Techniques
NYPD Off Duty Confrontation Tactics
NYPD Summary of Violent Encounter Patterns
NYPD Police Shotgun Program
Ordnance Expo. Firearms and Ballistic Evidence
Ordnance Expo. Handling Barricaded Suspects
Ordnance Expo. Officer Involved Shooting Investigations
Ordnance Expo. Officer Involved Shooting Investigations Advanced
Ordnance Expo. Officer Survival
AELE, Police Civil Liability Seminar
Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, B.O.S.S. program including officer survival, intelligence briefings on outlaw bike gangs, booby traps, counter-ambush tactics, arrest techniques
Sceptre Baton Program, Georges Sylvain
Illinois Department of Law Enforcement Counter-Terrorist Series, including Use of Explosives in Terrorism and Hostage Negotiation
Escrima (short stick fighting) seminar, Grandmaster Remy Presas
Knife/Counter-Knife, Master Paul Vunak, Jeet Kune Do, Long Beach, CA.
Knife/Counter-Knife, Hank Reinhardt, Atlanta
Knife/Counter-Knife, Sensei Jim Maloney, Uechi-ryu, Concord, NH
Chapman Academy Intermediate Pistolcraft
Chapman Academy Advanced Pistolcraft
Mid South Institute of Self Defense Shooting, Advanced (John Shaw)
Defense Training, Inc. judgment shooting program (John Farnam)
DEFT Simulator (Judgment Shooting Test), LAPD Academy
FATS Simulator (Judgment Shooting Test), Atlanta (consultant for mfr.)
Calibre Press Street Survival Seminar
Glock Instructor Certification
Glock Armorers Certification
In addition, has intensively researched the training of numerous police agencies including, but not limited to:
NYPD Firearms and Tactics Unit
NYPD Emergency Services Unit
NYPD Armed Robbery Stakeout Unit
LAPD Firearms Traning Unit
Metro-Dade Police Firearms/SWAT Training Unit
Illinois State Police Ordinance Section
NH State Police SWAT
Ohio State Peace OFficer Training Academy
Arizona Highway Patrol Firearms Training
Kentucky State Police Firearms and Special Reaction Team Training
London, England Metropolitan Poice Firearms Training and Special Services Unit
Articles or stories on Massad Ayoob have appeared in or on:
Los Angeles Times
New York Post
ABC Turning Point
Various other newspapers
BBC News Magazine
Numerous local TV and radio broadcasts
Gun World Magazine
Inside Karate Magazine
“Shooting Schools - An Analysis” (chapter)
“Gun Digest Book of Autoloading Pistols” (chapter)
“Gun Digest Book of Combat Handgunnery” (chapter)
Quoted as an Authoritative Reference in:
ran outta room
What have you done?
My kinda guy.
Ayoob is one of the best guys in the gunner’s rolodex of people to rely on for accurate info.
Also, DO NOT follow advice from WENDLE in #7.
The rest of your life could depend on it.
He’s served as an expert witness in countless shooting trials.
Not really enough. TRUTHFULLY add at least one act of aggression by the perp.
Your “feelings” are usually not enough to justify DPF
Nope . You underestimate. You shoot and keep shooting. Never allow that bastard to move again. Much less sue you. No jury will EVER indict. “murder “ my ass.
Unless your initials are HRC.
#1 Before you make the decision to carry a firearm, make damn sure you have talked to a good 2A lawyer and have his card in your wallet.
The last thing you want to have happen after a defensive shooting is that you are sitting in a local jail cell and Officer Goober is tossing you the local yellow pages.
You are an idiot, and a very poor student of history. The moment you continue to shoot after the threat is reasonably removed, you can and will be charged with murder.
You shoot someone after they are down on the ground and not actively moving, it’s very easy to detect, and you will be charged, and convicted.
Drag a body into your house? You need to stop watching bad movies.
Please stop with this idiotic advice. You will get a good person put into prison for what might otherwise be a justified shooting.
This advice seems to involve saying a lot of things to a police officer in the heat of a very stressful moment.
I always understood that nothing, nothing, you say to a police officer will be of the slightest benefit to you and will probably make things a hell of a lot worse.
Crimes aren’t convicted on what is said or not said to the first police officer who arrives on the scene, the police officer’s first opinion of what may or may not have happened is utterly irrelevant to your being found guilty or not.
It is in the court room where the verdict will be decided, long after the event and your attempt at self-justificatory babbling to the first cop to show up will now be dissected and analysed in court by very clever prosecutors who will be delighted to put whatever slant they like on your, by now barely recollected words, to the jury.
I always understood that what you do is shut the freak up and say nothing until such time as your legal representative has arrived, and continue to say nothing afterward, let him do the talking for you.
Let me tell you Pal. My advice just kept some innocent person from jail. What is your advice if someone is breaking into your house on Meth to rape your 11 year old daughter. HUH? call 911? OMG
Wendle, when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. An if you’d like a cops opinion on this, you just got it from me.
Please reread Masod’s advice, and the REASONS FOR IT.
In the old days, total silence was good advice. No longer. If you do not tell your story first, trust me, the bad guy will tell his story, and at a minimum, you will lose big civilly.
Remember Michael Brown. All his friends were ready to tell their BS story and the PD did not get the real story out soon enough.
Tell your story, and just that story, then silence....
I appreciate your service to this country. I respect you . I will stop , Sir. No offense intended. God BLESS you every day. I will do my thing and you MUST do yours. Go man!!
1, I am not your Pal.
2, If followed, your bubbavice will ensure an otherwise innocent man would go to jail.
3, Someone raping my daughter?. Of course I would probably NOT shoot him. The chance of an internal ricochet from two bodies in such close proximity would be to risky. I would hit him in the back of the neck with something sharp and heavy, about C-3 to C-5 to ensure I broke his neck and spinal cord, ensuring he was a quadriplegic for thew rest of his life.
Happy.... a few days late.
and I’m clear the active. Have a good evening.
Nope. Happens all the time. Never let the meth head in that broken window to your daughters room — or will you? Shoot to KILL!!
That was a case of winning a publicity battle on the airwaves, not a courtroom battle.
The legal advice that I always received from lawyer friends was simple.
“Whatever you say, say nothing”.
There is no need for you to explain a thing to a police officer, that’s your lawyer’s job, he’s paid to do that sort of thing.
for later read
Thanks. I enjoyed it for a change.
No problem Wendle. Passion in the defense of liberty is no vice. but level headedness is what you need in a use of force situation. Mas Ayoob consulted on my agencies use of force policy. He knows what he is about. The above is good advice. Have a good night.
His book, "In the Gravest Extreme" is a must have if you're going to carry a sidearm.
I read that in the Eighties. His focus to me was 1. Make sure you really should be shooting if you have to and 2. stay out of jail if you have to shoot. He's the real deal.
And there is NOBODY better at it. His ‘In The Gravest Extreme’ book is still a good read. (I think I bought my copy in 1981 or 1982, still have it!) Heck, ALL of his books/writing/articles/gun tests etc. etc. are very well done as far as I am concerned.
Great Post, also as you noted the perception of time slows down when in mortal danger. It is like things are playing out in slow motion though in reality it is very quick. In your memory you see everything in detail. If not in mortal danger it is not like that and your perception of events is not as detailed and exact.
Use maximum force until the bad guy is down and then shoot no more. At the point he is no longer a threat you should use any skill you have to give aid to the bad guy. That will go a long way in court on the good guys side.
I carry anyplace it is legal. In advance I have gone over scenarios of when I must use lethal force and thankfully this has never happened.
It is very easy to think these things out in detail but when the adrenaline is pumping you become narrow focused in a fight or flight syndrome. The absolute best scenario is you do not need to pull your weapon. Talk your way out of it if possible. Actually just walk away if you can. That confuses bad guys unless they are intent on causing you harm. If none of this works and you are in mortal fear of your life, kill the threat, call the cops and call your lawyer and say two things, “I was in fear of my life and will cooperate fully when my lawyer is present.” Then shut up!
Actually if you are trying to flee and they agress you in most states (I love my Texas) you are home free if you use deadly force. If it is in your home in Texas, you own their ass and the cops will be pleased.
I have experienced this, although I was not in mortal danger at the time. It's wild, it's like the world is moving in slow motion and you're not.
Agree completely. If there is a way out that does not involve deadly force, take that.
I wouldn’t do that, it could get you killed. Your choice.
But I’d take time to ensure the bad guy had no accomplishes around before even thinking of giving aid to the bad guy.
And if you do that they’ll target you for his death civilly in court saying you weren’t qualified to give aid which contributed to the cause of his death and on and on and on.
Next time, talk to he doctor before you suddenly stop the meds.
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