Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Shoot-out lessons

Nice job by the cop, good job by passers-by, and fair work by CNN.

This video on CNN shows a shoot-out that occurred in Altamonte Springs, FL, where police officer Mike Lavoie (a patrol officer who is on the SWAT team) pulled over vehicle matching the description of a suspect leaving a motel. CNN drops the ball by not mentioning what he was suspected of, but I'll let that go-- it's not the lead nor really pertinent.

As Officer Lavoie approached the driver's side door of the red Ford Focus hatchback, the passenger, one Franklin Ortiz Castro, made a damned fool decision that could easily have cost him and his partner their lives-- he began shooting at the patrol officer with his single-action revolver.

No word on the caliber or make, but the nickel or chrome-plated revolver was showed from a couple of angles in grainy shots, and clearly was a single-action, which required the operator to thumb cock it before each shot, as compared to, say, a double action revolver (which self-cocks with each trigger pull) or a semi-auto pistol (which almost always self-cock after each shot, for a fast, light trigger pull).

Officer Lavoie does a nice job-- he doesn't shoot the driver who is between him and the active threat, and he does make hits on Castro. Though not fatal, the hits do end the gun fight.

One of the truly superb parts of the story is that a bystander, Mike Solitro, and his unnamed adult son, tackled the fleeing driver and held him for responding police.

No word on how this started, or where it will end, but lessons learned are:

--The threat may be the next guy over; never assume that the one nearest you is the only or most dangerous person in the area.

--Decide ahead of time, before the balloon goes up, what your criteria are to take action. Mr. Solitro and his son were not expected to tackle the driver, but they did so. Would you have done so? What's your line in the sand? Consider situations in your head. What could you live with?

--Always be sure of where your bullets will end up. Officer Lavoie did a superb job of putting them (through glass and open door) on the threat while avoiding perforation of a driver that looked a LOT like a collaborator, but who wasn't yet really a person one could rightfully shoot (and indeed turned out to be, in all probability, a hostage). This takes us finally to:

--Keep your head.

Heck, I'm going to upgrade Lavoie's response from "workman-like" to "Excellent."

(Did I beat Xavier to the punch?)

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At Saturday, November 17, 2007 11:26:00 AM, Blogger SpeakerTweaker said...

You know, I try to keep to your lessons learned as much as possible, but there's one in there that I haven't given much thought.

The "next guy over." I'm usually looking at whoever is closest to me, especially if they're just too darned close. I need to zoom out a bit, I suppose.

Great advice, by the by, and kudos to the officer for keeping his head. My guess is he could have opened fire and likely gotten away with it. It wasn't until I saw the driver get out and head for the hills that I realized the passenger was the guy with the hand cannon.


At Saturday, November 17, 2007 2:59:00 PM, Blogger OK Katrina said...

I saw the video on YouTube or somesuch and I'd gotten the impression that the driver was a hostage. I found an article at that seems to sort out the details pretty well. Here's the link if you'd like to check it out:

At Saturday, November 17, 2007 3:02:00 PM, Blogger OK Katrina said...

PS: I had to put a break after "local" in the above address in order to make it fit. You may have to work around it.

At Saturday, November 17, 2007 6:51:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

Ok Katrina, maybe it would be easier to just click here.


At Saturday, November 17, 2007 8:10:00 PM, Blogger OK Katrina said...

Yeah, I thought of that. However, I don't know how to make a link in the comments section. HTML is geek, oops, that's Greek to me.

At Sunday, November 18, 2007 3:57:00 AM, Blogger Scott said...

Stupid CNN, I could have totally used a lot more info on that whole incident. That was stupid of the thugs, good of the policeman, and good from the bystanders.

At Sunday, November 18, 2007 6:31:00 AM, Blogger Matt G said...

To all: OK Katrina's link (above) gives The Rest Of The Story.

Seems the driver was being held hostage. But tackling him was a good thing to do, anyhow.

At Sunday, November 18, 2007 7:53:00 AM, Blogger Xavier said...

"Did I beat Xavier to the punch?"

Yep! Excellent!

At Wednesday, November 21, 2007 4:01:00 PM, Blogger Old NFO said...

WOW- Outstanding job! Kinda puts paid to the indiscrinate, Cops shoot anything and anyone that moves argument doesn't it...


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