COLUMBUS, Ohio — Distraught and depressed, Doug Conley eases back into his white plastic chair and perches his chin on the business end of a .38-caliber revolver.
He's sitting in the middle of a residential intersection on the northwest side of Columbus, surrounded by cops.
The standoff has gone on for two hours in the blazing August sun. The air temperature climbs into the 90s. The pavement is like a griddle.
Between pointing the gun at himself and lowering it, Conley waves it at officers and passing drivers. He yells that he wants to see his former girlfriend.
Instead, police call in Mike Plumb, a Columbus SWAT sniper who has taken a position under a pine tree 82 yards away. Sprawled on his belly on Aug. 16, 1993, Plumb focuses the scope of his Austrian-made Steyr SSG PII black sniper rifle on the 37-year-old Conley.
If Columbus has "swagger," Plumb is one of the reasons.
Plumb is a "bad dude." A "good dude." The "best dude."
That's how police officers, city security workers and his friends still describe him.
As people flock to the film American Sniper, Plumb remains an icon among precision shooters in Columbus and elsewhere.
Until that day in 1993, no Columbus police sniper had ever fired a shot in the line of duty. That didn't occur to Plumb as Conley came into focus in his scope. Plumb had fired only at distant range targets during practice or certification tests — aiming at dimes embedded in fruit, for example.
He first realized his marksman skills as a boy while shooting a .22-caliber rifle with his father. He never used those skills as a Marine serving in Vietnam.
When he returned to the States, Plumb thought he would bust his hump on the railroads as had his father, who had moved the family from Illinois to Columbus for a job. But Plumb bumped into a friend who was headed to Columbus police headquarters to fill out an application to be a police officer.
Years later, Plumb had his sights on Conley.
Irritated and out of options, SWAT commanders decided it was time for this to end. Plumb was given the order: Go.
Conley took a swig of a soda negotiators had given him, and he sat up straight in his chair. He put his left hand on his knee. With his right hand, he lowered the revolver between his legs — into Plumb's crosshairs.
Plumb racked another round into the chamber before Conley realized what had happened. But Plumb didn't need another bullet.
Conley looked down to see his revolver in three pieces on the ground, shattered by Plumb's shot. SWAT officers gang tackled him.
"That was a great shot," Conley said as officers handcuffed him.
It has been almost 22 years since Plumb, now 64, fired that shot.
After more than two decades as a police officer and nearly a decade more protecting neighborhoods and Columbus employees, Plumb is set to retire in March.
He will walk away as the only Columbus police sniper to fire a shot on active duty. But those who work with Plumb and know him best said he's so much more than one brilliant sniper shot.
"They don't make them like Mike anymore," Mayor Michael B. Coleman said. "I respect the guy for his entire career. He's one of the best of the best, and I really do not want him to retire. It will be a loss."
At Columbus' SWAT headquarters, Plumb is a hero.
The rifle he used to bring a peaceful end to a tense standoff — and save Conley's life — hangs in the hallway at SWAT headquarters. Below it is what's left of Conley's revolver, attached to a plaque that reads "The shot seen 'round the world" because TV cameras were rolling when he fired.
Although the event happened before the Internet took off, the video has been viewed more than 8 million times on YouTube. One guns-and-ammo website labeled it one of the top five sniper shots ever captured on video. Some cop television shows on cable still replay the moment.
"I had no idea," Plumb said last week. "I am not up on that sort of stuff."
Plumb retired as a police officer in 2000 and was hired as the city's facility security manager in 2007.
He applied for and helped secure a federal grant to install surveillance cameras in several neighborhoods. The city now has about 300 neighborhood cameras that help police track illegal activity.
In addition to ensuring that the city's downtown buildings are safe, Plumb also programs the decorative lights atop City Hall.
"Right now, they are red, white and blue for the NHL All-Star game," Plumb said recently. "But I can make them change any color."
He also makes security nametags for new employees; finds items such as spare security cameras and computer parts for other departments; and makes sure guests of elected officials are accommodated.
"It took about eight months when they hired me for this job for someone to say, 'Hey, you're the sharpshooter,'" Plumb said. "And that's OK with me."
Peter Tobin, who was Plumb's SWAT commander in 1993, said Plumb remained humble after his shot made him a celebrity.
"Mike would keep a diary of weather conditions when he was shooting," said Tobin, who is now a U.S. marshal. "He's as reliable as they come. He's so methodical."
As for Conley, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of inducing panic and was put on probation for two years.
He has since lived in Tennessee and Florida as well as Ohio and did not respond to messages left with multiple family members in Chillicothe, where his father, David, said Doug Conley has been living.
"That was a long time ago, but we're glad he's alive," David Conley said.
A few weeks ago, Plumb went to see American Sniper, the film about Chris Kyle, one of the world's most prolific snipers.
"It was good; I liked it," Plumb said. "The point of that film is not about the number of people he killed, but it's about the lives he saved. That's why we do what we do."