Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ballseye's Gun Shots 77 - Police Officer Shoots Hostage Taker - Video and My Comments

Watch the video if you will but please bear in mind it contains graphic real life violence resulting in an apparent death. It is several minutes long but well worth it to watch the whole thing if you are interested in firearms tactics; then you can read my comments which may or may not be as worth while as was the video. After watching and reading, feel free to leave comments.

It is pretty obvious they meant to shoot this guy, maybe to kill him. This was in China not the USA and that is reason enough to believe that they intended to kill him just as the bad guy said he believed they were going to do but maybe not to execute him as some may believe. I think shooting to kill is acceptable there as opposed to shooting to stop, but the officer almost certainly is not trying to make sure she kills him from what I can tell. The woman officer, takes 1 shot that drops him. She then fires a few more times and some have questioned why.

Before I address that let me point out she starts to do something before that. She starts to take cover as she apparently continues to assess the situation with her pistol slightly raised not pointing at the bad guy (as if she had not predetermined to kill him by taking several shots). She moves to her left toward the frame of the storefront opening. Then she seems to alert and she fires again and again and again. My guess is not that she thought the guy was no longer a threat and fired anyway. My guess is that, at the point she alerts and again moves forward firing, she has just seen him as still being a threat. Of course, that is my guess but based on what is seen in careful review of her actions in the video. As for all of the follow-up shots, some or all may have been necessary, at least in the mind of the officer, and after all whose mindset matters at the time! If the guy moved, if she thought he moved, if the body moved because the hostage was now breaking free and trying to run thus causing it to move, if the body twitched in its death thrall, if it was a hallucination on the part of the officer, if it was a perceived threat (and mind you all threats at this point potentially would be life threatening because the guy had already stabbed his victim several times and committed whatever crime it was for which they were hunting him down [yes I am assuming he committed another crime and it was not big brother looking to exterminate him]), then she was justified to shoot. If, on the other hand, there was no perceived threat, then she should not have shot (under our way of doing it) and that was just as it was even if only momentarily after the first shot, she held off for a moment, seemed to assess and alert and shoot again a few times. So it seems she was not intent on making sure he was dead when she first shot but more so that he was not a threat When she perceived further threat, or so it seems, then as I said, she alerted and fired again. Note, by the 4th shot, it seems apparent the guy is not moving, you can see that on the video but that does not mean that she did not perceive a threat nor that she was not justified in shooting. A good shooting is based not only on the reality of the situation but on the mind set of the officer and all things considered from that mindset and what we believe to be the mind set of a reasonable person (who would have the same or similar training as did the officer) in the same situation (then again that is here and not in China or wherever this took place).

I have to point out a few other things about the woman officer. She has her hair in a ponytail. She approaches holding a purse or grip (loses it somewhere along the way by the time she gives him the coke). The purse is in her right hand (most people are right handed, as is she, and this has an effect of lessening her as a perceived threat). More on the purse in a little bit as I believe it has a lot more significance. She never identifies herself as police. She wears nothing to make her look like an officer, nothing to make her look alarming, only things to make her look as if she had been out for a stroll and is now wanting to help. Well, that is except for the fact that it appears she is printing (you can see the outline of her pistol a bit or so it looks to me). She even has a scarf around her neck and otherwise is dressed in all white (a very neutral color that does not usually provoke anyone and is probably still worn by doctors in China - helpful life saving doctors).

Most of this, in my estimation, is all a deliberate effort to make it look as if she is a bystander and to get her in there to be able to neutralize the threat at close range. There was ample time to get her there from when this all started (and it started before the filming you can bet on that) so she could prepare. I do not think she was there to tackle the subject if that had been possible, nor to grab the girl and run had that been possible. Nor was she there to negotiate which is obvious because she did not even try to negotiate. I think that is one of the telling keys as to what was her predetermined purpose in this. I think she was there for one purpose only - a close in shot (my bet is that she is ranked as an expert marksman). Of course, there were also other officers ready to rumble as can be seen in the video, who had taken up positions along the barricade but they were there, in my view, not only for back-up but as a distraction away from the woman more than anything else. The guy keeps looking at them - even tells them twice to get back as he points to them to his right, then turns to his left and does likewise (I guess they were also on that side and he knew it). (see the shorter version of the video with English subtitles I link to below.)

As for the other police on the scene, the male negotiator in all black (he is in all black and she in all white - do you think that a coincidence - maybe - maybe not), and the female officer, they did a good job of keeping him interested in other things so he would not notice what else was going on, such as the other officers taking up positions. They even went from water to coke (or other soda) as an offering - probably much more appealing by that time than mere water. They kept him so preoccupied so as to not even see it when the female officer uncovered her firearm, and had it uncovered for several seconds (about 8 to 9 seconds) prior to her actually drawing it.

Remember what I said she did (though we did not see it and how I wish we had seen it) apparently shortly before the scene with the coke and thus shortly before she draws and shoots. She at some point got rid of the purse from her right hand. Of course it would stand to reason she wanted her hands free, or at least her right hand free, but had the bad guy been paying attention maybe he should have been alerted. I am willing to bet that others were alerted when she got rid of the purse and this leads up to why I would like to have seen her do it. I would have wanted to see her do it, to see if I could see the reaction of those officers waiting in the background along the barrier fence or of the hostage negotiator. When she dropped the purse or put it down or whatever, did those officers tense? Was her giving up the purse, as I believe it must have been, her signal to other officers that she was about to take action? My bet is that her getting rid of the purse meant she was about to take action. Luckily the bad guy did not realize it and luckily he did not see her uncover her pistol which by the way seemed pretty tricky for her to get a grip on.

If you want to see the video (shortened version) in a version subtitled in English, go to the below link but please read the rest of what I have written first.

Pay attention to what the reporter asks her and says to her to her at the end, and maybe you will understand her laughter after having shot and killed someone. (And note that a reporter should never have been allowed that close to her, she should have been getting support from fellow officers and medical personnel but she was ignored because, sadly, that probably had not been planned for though it should have been planned). Nervous, you can bet if not nervous when taking the shot (and she probably was not nervous as she was determined at that point), her nerves were taking a beating from all of it by the point that she was asked that question. Adrenalin high point over, starting to come down a little, nerves begin to take on the negative effects of the adrenalin because we are not using it efficiently any longer, we get nervous, we laugh to ward it off, we feel good we did good (as the other guys tells her - she was awesome), then we often either become elated or slump into depression or both because they are natural reactions to killing one of our own because we survived and he did not - we won. Still he was one of our own so to speak and it effects how we process and handle that info psychologically. Hopefully, if this was indeed simply the shooting of a very bad man, then she will be well in the long run. Hopefully it was not a scene that unfolded because a political dissident was being hunted down because he disagreed with the government, believed they were going to kill him, and then took desperate action to try to survive.

Just all stuff to think about. I have one other thing to think about, who gave her back the purse, she has it at the end again. That person should have at the least kept paying attention to her and not have left her alone. He should have guided her to medical personnel because no matter how it may seem she needed medical and psychological attention immediately. Only a reporter paid her any mind - a cop standing right there looked at her and turned away. The reporter asked questions just like they would here in the USA, a question that seemed harmless but which upon answering the officer could have hung herself. Here, they would try to crucify you if you were the officer and laughed like that even though the laugh was almost assuredly a psychological protective reaction to the stress of it all and a reaction to the reporters question. Note her answer, ‘I don‘t know‘, was a good one. Then she did another good thing, she turned away and shut up.

One final note: I reviewed the videos several times. At the time she shot, her pistol was aimed at the subject and not at a 30-40 degree angle above him as someone, on a firearms' forum I visit, said it was when you saw the smoke coming out of the barrel. Try to remember that the smoke, the great majority of it, exits the barrel after the bullet and while recoil is already occurring. Sound that we hear is only after the bullet exits. If you stop the video over and over again at the time you hear the shot, you can take a straight edge and run it from the pistol to the bad guy. You will see, it is aimed (even if only by point shooting) on level with her target. Yes he fell, after she shot him.

All the best,
Glenn B


Kansas Scout said...

I thought she was one badass! I more or less had the same thoughts you did. It was pretty chancey, what she did but in that society that was probably OK. Clearly, she knew what she was doing. People often underestimate females and are often fooled by them as to their real threat capabilities. As a Psych. Tech in Grad School, it was two young women who came much closer to stabbing me than by any others. One made contact with the concealed sizzors but could not get it in me. I underestimated the danger due to their gender.

John Veit said...

Saw your post on TFL from which I have been banned for years as a PS advocate.

You may find my take on this incedent of interest:

Glenn B said...


The site is interesting but the claim that point shooting is not commonly used in the USA is not correct. I have been a federal agent for about 31 years now. I have been trained to point shoot, among other types, since day one. Why anyone would think that law enforcement in the USA is not taught how to point shot is beyond me because it is common practice. It is commonplace, kin the USA, to be taught to shoot using sights, using the top of the gun to sight down, without using anything to sight in except the act of pointing both one handed and two handed, from the hip, by vertical tracking and so on.

All the best,