@Crisco B: "And why does Mr. Warren insist that the defendant was unarmed? I
have repeatedly read that he was wielding a pen" A pen is an
"arm" ? In that case, we'll have to fire all the security people
for allowing so many people "bearing arms" into the courtroom. Shoes,
boots and belts may also become problematic. And I wasn't
advocating standing idly by and letting the two "duke it out." There
were multiple security personnel in the courtroom, some of them presumably
fairly strong people and with Tasers, so there may have been better options.None of us can say we "know" what was the right approach, but as
I've stated, this needs to be reviewed by a civilian board (not court
personnel or law enforcement).
Law enforcement officers cannot (should not) shoot to wound. It's a good
way to get themselves or others killed.
We need to stop constantly thinking the government is corrupt and that the US
Marshals shoot for pleasure. I mean, really? Do we honestly believe that law
enforcement is out to get us and shoot everyone? This is not Animal Farm.The whole thought of just letting the gang members duke it out is
absurd. As Vladhagen says, this is not a gladiator pit. Some of the commentors
on here make me wonder if they have even shot a gun before. Or been rushed by a
240 pound gang member. US Marshals must protect not just the
witness, but the judge, the courtroom, themselves...When the defendant has the
judge around the neck, it is too late to restrain him. Some on here seem to be
oblivious (massively) to what law enforcement goes through each day. We are not
on Mayberry Street no more Barney. And why does Mr. Warren insist
that the defendant was unarmed? I have repeatedly read that he was wielding a
pen (which is a great thing to have jabbed in your eye I am sure). Those who
know few facts see corruption at every turn.
Mike Richards wrote: "When deadly force is called for, they are trained to
shoot to kill."Maybe deadly force was not called for.Two strong, unarmed men scuffled. One was not hurt at all; the other was shot
to death. Just because an angry man rushes the witness stand does not make
deadly force necessary. And just because a defendant has been accused of a
serious crime does not mean he deserves to be shot to death. Doesn't anyone
use Tasers anymore? In countless trials across the country, family
members of murder or rape victims have attempted to attack defendants, and they
weren't seeking autographs. Thankfully, officers in those cases didn't
automatically decide that the angry attacker deserved to be shot five times.A civilian review board should take a look at this.
Just what was the defendant doing? Was he asking for an autograph? He was
rushing the witness who was testifying about the defendant. The audio from that
situation has been released. Any police officer would have been compelled to do
what the Marshall did.No officer is told to "shoot to
wound". When deadly force is called for, they are trained to shoot to kill.
If the defendant had wounded or killed the witness, would those who tell us
that think that excessive force be demanding why the defendant hadn't been
stopped? Do they think that he would have obeyed a voice command to stop? If he
was "obedient" he would have stayed in his seat.
@Vladhagen, 2 bitsSorry, I'm not buying the necessity of
shooting someone five times in this circumstance, and I do think who is being
attacked should be part of the equation for a trained officer. If a little old
lady is attacking a linebacker, I think deadly force may not be needed,
especially if she is wielding only a pencil. And if two large, unarmed gang
members are fighting, maybe deadly force isn't needed, particularly when
the one being attacked isn't being hurt at all.Again, this
incident needs to be reviewed. We should not automatically accept the official
Steve C. Warren,Another fallacy people not familiar with real guns (not
movie guns) have... is... that all it takes is one shot.In the
movies one shot stops everything. One shot and the car blows up. One shot and
it's over, and we put our popcorn down and we all go home happily ever
after.In real life it's not like that.One shot
rarely stops anything. And if your goal is to stop them... you keep firing
until they stop.I doubt they were standing over him shooting him
while he was stopped.They are taught to stop when he stops. But
they know one shot rarely stops a crazed person. Crazy enough try to attack
somebody in full knowledge that there are people with guns there who's job
is to stop him.In an instant and in close range like that... They
don't have the luxury of shooting once and waiting to see if it works.
@StevenCWarrenThe suggestion that the witness was capable of defending
himself is absurd. This is not a gladiator pit where we let witnesses defend
themselves. In this case there was no such thing as excessive force. That
entire shoot to wound thing, as has been repeatedly pointed out, is something
for John Wayne or NYPD Blue. No cop shots to wound.
Another excellent letter, Kim.We do need a serious evaluation of
whether excessive force was used and whether officers need better training on
when to use deadly force. We should not automatically accept the official
version.Although the marshal likely will be cleared, the firing of
five rounds seems a bit much, particularly when the witness being attacked, a
former gang member, appeared to be perfectly capable of defending himself and
was not hurt, and the attacker was unarmed. As one witness observed, "I
thought, 'when is he going to stop firing?' "
one old man,Yah... I'm pretty sure they checked his gang
credentials... and only shot because he was a gansta... and it's only OK
because he was a gansta...We would probably be upset if it was a
pencil necked accountant who went after the witness and got shot...
With a pen or a pencil the assailant could have gouged out the witnesses eye. He
needed to be stopped. The bailiff did the right thing.
This letter is utterly ridiculous. The writer needs an injection of reality.
Shoot to wound?Yeah, right.In combat you aim for the
largest body mass. Easier target. Knocks the person off their feet.However, in this case, I do question the use of deadly force if the only
weapon was pen or pencil. But because the gangsta who was shot was a gangsta,
it's apparently okay.(By the way, I was once in Federal law
enforcement. My training included a lot of work to learn to recognize when
deadly force may be necessary and when it is not.)
RE: The DesNews editor's decision to label this "GUN
Violence"...From my understanding of the incident.. the
"violence" was started by the guy WITHOUT a gun. So how does the whole
incident become "GUN violence"...?IMO the gun ENDED the
violence... it didn't START it. Referring to the whole
incident as "GUN violence"... just because a gun ended it... seems like
the usual "blame the gun" spin.===I think there
was violence with or without the gun...So don't call what
happened in the court room "gun violence". That's a skewed way of
looking at the whole incident.
Shoot a guy on the run and just winging him enough to disarm him... happens in
the movies.Shooting the guy peaking out behind his hostage...
happens in the movies.Most people aim at the center of what they
need to hit.... and hope they hit something. Especially if what you need to hit
is moving quickly (moving target hard to hit) and you have to stop them quickly,
and absolutely stop them (not just slow them down). You don't aim to wing
them.This second guessing people who had to make an instantaneous
decision.. a decision people like you and me will probably never have to make in
reality... while we just sitting in our comfy chair judging them, and pretending
WE would do better... is getting ridiculous IMO.They did what they
did. They did what they were trained to do.Maybe they could have
shot the weapon out of his hand as he leaps at the witness... I don't think
I could do that...IMO... Their first priority is to protect the
No time to determine what the weapon is. You've got a crazed felon
attacking a witness.And what does the church (what church is it you
refer to?) have to do with this?
Shoot to wound only exists in the movies. No such thing is taught in any pistol
or rifle course. Center mass, or any available exposed body part on concealed
targets is the standard. When shooting a pistol in action, your mostly lucky to
hit where you intend any rate.
He could have just shot the pen out of his hand, like in the movies.
shoot to wound? you have GOT to be kidding!
Police shoot to kill.Gun are designed specifically for this purpose.I think we could come up with less lethal means of stopping people, sandbag,
rubber bullets, etc.Most people believe that if a cop shoots you,
you deserved it, end of story.This could have been handled
differently, I mean he was armed with a pencil or pen, but pulling the trigger
till the gun goes click, is probably the easiest way.
Kim, Put yourself on that witness stand. How much courage would it
take just to get you there and testify against a gang which kills people? Then
he comes after you. I would be so grateful to that officer!Society,
through law enforcement, absolutely needs to make it as safe as possible to
testify against mafia style gangs.Or would you rather have the gangs
enforcing their laws throughout society?
Perhaps Kim would have preferred that this violent criminal had been handed a
balloon and a lollipop. Attitudes such as this are what helped this
violent career criminal terrorize the community for so long. People refused to
hold him accountable for past actions, so the violence just escalated. Thank
heavens that prosecutor Steve Nelson was willing to put himself in harm's
way in order to hold this criminal responsible.As noted above, the
idea that the Marshall should have aimed to wound is absurd. Nearly as absurd
as the judge who refused to take proper security measures based on the
criminal's promise to behave.
Kim, on the flip side, what would you be saying if the witness had been
seriously harmed or killed? Such a result would understandably make future
witnesses more scared to come forward. Wouldn’t you be asking,
“Why can’t a witness be safe while testifying in a courtroom?”
In the hands of a violent criminal, a pen or pencil can seriously injure or
even kill. Also, the concept of “shoot to wound” is
bogus. These officers are trained to STOP THE THREAT -- which they did –
and which may or may not result in a death. We should all be grateful that the
marshal had the skill to stop the threat without harming anyone else in the
courtroom. I am.