By Dan Meadows, The Shooting Channel
911 Operator – “911… What’s your emergency?”
Unknown caller – (Pause) – Silence on the phone…
911 Operator – “Hello, can you hear me?”… “This is 911, what’s your emergency?”
Unknown caller – Deep and labored breathing heard on the phone…
911 Operator – “Hello, do you need police, fire or ambulance?” “Hello!”
Unknown caller – “911… I… I just shot someone.”
Calls like this happen far too often. However it is an unfortunate but true fact that many of our police departments and our 911 dispatchers will receive calls like this on a regular basis. Actually, almost on a daily basis for some departments. Geographically speaking, large cities, especially cities that tend to restrict certain gun ownership rights seem to be the worst. Like Chicago.
As a former police officer, homicide detective and periodic dispatcher for the law enforcement departments that I served over the years, I have personally taken my fair share of these types of calls. None of them are the same, and yet all of them are seemingly alike.
For many of us, we will sign up for a concealed carry firearms course, take a home defense class or even attend a local martial arts school in order to learn how to protect ourselves from the wolves of our society. Either that or we can listen to our “sheep handler politicians” by hiding or cowering in our homes, underneath our desks in our offices, or in a closet within our schools, hoping that the police will arrive in time.
This article, as written, hopefully will help bring us a sense of order and understanding on how to better prepare ourselves for handling, or even responding to a shooting event and its aftermath.
Here are the 15 steps that are designed to get you on the other side of a defensive shooting event:
(1) How Did We Get Here – Preparing To Survive A Defensive Shooting Event
“The only way to survive a potential threat is to prepare ourselves to survive that threat.”
Mind, Body, Training, Tactics, Preparation
Mind: Begin by preparing your defensive and survival mindset. Prepare mentally.
Body: Get and keep yourself into physical shape. You must be physically fit to survive a fight or an altercation with your attacker.
Training: Train with firearms, edged weapons and in self-defense. You can never train enough. Practice often with your firearms, knives and hands/feet for close range encounters.
Tactics: There is no such thing as a fair fight. Use every method and every tactic available to you to survive the threat.
Preparation: Combine the four previous methods, mix generously, and overcome your attackers with determined effort.
(2) Defensive Gun Usage – How To Survive The Threat
“Stand your ground, shooting only when there is an imminent threat against you, or that of others.”
While At Home: Engaging the Threat – Surviving The Encounter
- Harden your home defense with alarm systems, locks and lights. Use them if you have them and get them if you don’t.
- Create a home defense plan. Know the plan. Drill the plan.
- Have a go-to zone / safe room in your residence. Engage your “stand your ground” tactics accordingly.
- Have a safe and loaded firearm ready. Take it with you to the go-to zone / safe room.
- Keep a charged cell phone nearby. Take it with you into the go-to zone / safe room.
- If someone enters your residence, take charge. Think, react and control the situation.
- Work the home defense plan. Rush or retreat to the go-to zone/safe room. Dial 911.
- If threatened or attacked, you must engage your threat. Shoot center mass and continue to shoot until the threat has been stopped. Reload and re-engage your threat again if necessary.
- Stay in your go-to zone / safe room as long as it is safe to remain there.
While In Public: Engaging The Threat – Winning The Encounter
- Know and plan your course of travel.
- Harden your soft target defenses.
- Travel with a friend.
- Everyone should be alert and responsive to threats.
- Wear clothing that creates easy access to your firearm or other carried weapons.
- If possible, disengage from the threat, seek cover and monitor the threat.
- If your attacker is an imminent threat to you or others, if you are armed – engage your attacker by shooting center mass.
- Continue to shoot your attacker until the threat has been stopped.
- Reload and re-engage your threat again if necessary.
- Remain in a safe (cover) area if it is feasible to do so.
(3) Beyond The Shooting – The Immediate Aftermath
“Just beyond the threshold of danger lies the realization of what has just taken place”
- Stay put, unless it is more dangerous to remain in-place. Do not approach the threat.
- Keep a visual of your suspect, in case they are only wounded.
- If your suspect is wounded, keep your firearm aimed at the intruder. Only engage them again if they threaten to harm you or others, or continue their attack.
- Ensure that you have an adequate amount of ammunition loaded into your firearm; reload as necessary, however do not traverse to another area to gather more ammo if doing so will place you into further danger.
(4) Calling 911 – Reporting the Incident
“Calling for help has purpose and meaning. But how you report it may determine your fate”
- Call 911 (if not already on the telephone with them). Do not wait. Call them immediately. Tell them that you just shot an intruder or attacker and that you were in fear of your life.
- Tell 911 who you are and how you are dressed.
- Tell 911 where you are located, and who is with you.
- Give the 911 Operator a description, if available, of your attacker, and their location.
- If your attacker was armed, describe what type of weapon they had, or you observed.
- Tell 911 that you are still armed and that you will set your firearm or weapon down once the police have arrived and when you are safe from the suspect’s threat.
- If requested by 911, stay on the line with them.
- Give no additional statements, admissions, comments or apologies at this time. You are being recorded
(5) Waiting for the Police to Arrive – Securing the Scene
“The wailing of sirens sounds so close, yet seem to take forever to arrive”
- Remain on the 911 call if instructed to do so by the 911 operator.
- Just like law enforcement officers do, and if it is safe to do so, you need to secure the scene to the best of your ability and for your safety.
- Don’t move any evidence and don’t move the suspect’s body. Keep the integrity of the shooting scene intact.
- Remain vigilant for others who may be associates or additional attackers.
- Watch out for crowds forming. They may be friends or acquaintances of the subject you just shot.
- Watch out for onlookers or associates who might attempt to remove evidence, (i.e. gun, knife, weapon) from the scene of the shooting event. Identify them if required.
- If evidence is taken, describe it and its location to the best of your ability to law enforcement officers.
- Upon police arrival, place your firearm or weapon in a recoverable place (such as safely on the ground in front of you), and inform the responding officers of your firearms or weapons location. Identify it to officers without pointing it at them.
- Comply with officers instructions. You may even be handcuffed. They are trying to protect themselves and they do not need to also get into an encounter with you. Remain calm.
- Direct the officers to the offenders/ attackers weapons (if there was one).
- Identify the suspect or suspects as the person or persons who attacked you or threatened you with bodily harm or death.
Next, Talking to the Police