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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Northern NV/North Central Montana...& on the trail

    Default Shooting Someone in the Back??? Justifiable?? When?

    To piggyback onto Gabe's Killing of Sacred Cow's

    The old code of the West of never shooting someone in the back...
    When is it okay.... when is it not?

    While the LE community hates to Monday morning quarterback dead officers....Let's learn from others mistakes

    The rules will differ a bit for LE and armed citizen, but it's something we should explore.

    Personal experience here in Northern NV, a sister agency Sparks PD has a report of an armed robbery with shots fired during the evening of a winter day. It is quickly turning dusk.

    As officers arrive in the area, an officer in his cruiser observes a possible suspect walking approx. one block from the crime scene. As he puts the spotlight on the suspect, suspect turns and fires a shot at the police cruiser, hitting the windshield and striking the headrest just missing the officer. Officer throws the vehicle in parks and quickly engages suspect with return fire WITHOUT effect.

    Suspect begins to walk away, at a quick paced walk and then a small jog, officer attempts to leapfrog from vehicle to vehicle, continuing to yell commands, but is now losing sight of the suspect due to fading light.... many other officers are responding to the area to assist..

    Suspect has posed a deadly threat and then turns and walks/jogs away...
    Can you continue to engage him with deadly force?

    Can you articulate the threat continues?

    I will finish the story after some feedback..
    "If serious trouble starts and you can shoot at all, you can get whatever kind of little machinegun you'd want to carry. You can even get a little jeep to drive and maybe even a nice looking uniform to wear.... If you can shoot." Bill Jordan (in reference to carrying a S&W Model 19 .357mag)

  2. #2
    Grey Man Guest
    The old code of the West of never shooting someone in the back..
    Most of the shootings involved shooting one another in the back, deception and aggression - just like modern day criminals, Hollywood created the showdown myth

    To respond to the cop situation - if I somebody shot at me then ran with gun in hand - I continue to shoot, I can articulate that he was "running to cover so that he could re engage me"

    EDITED TO ADD: If I'm a civilian I'm waving goodbye . . . my right to defense ends when I no longer have imminent fear of life/serious injury . .. I missed part of the OP saying it also was a civilian thing
    Last edited by Grey Man; 01-04-2011 at 04:09 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    As a police officer during my time, I would have no problem shooting this guy in the back as he jogs away. As a civilian I would wave good bye.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    In my state:

    If you are a peace officer, you're covered under RCW 9A.16.040:

    (1) Homicide or the use of deadly force is justifiable in the following cases:

    (c) When necessarily used by a peace officer or person acting under the officer's command and in the officer's aid:

    (i) To arrest or apprehend a person who the officer reasonably believes has committed, has attempted to commit, is committing, or is attempting to commit a felony;


    (2) In considering whether to use deadly force under subsection (1)(c) of this section, to arrest or apprehend any person for the commission of any crime, the peace officer must have probable cause to believe that the suspect, if not apprehended, poses a threat of serious physical harm to the officer or a threat of serious physical harm to others. Among the circumstances which may be considered by peace officers as a "threat of serious physical harm" are the following:

    (a) The suspect threatens a peace officer with a weapon or displays a weapon in a manner that could reasonably be construed as threatening; or

    (b) There is probable cause to believe that the suspect has committed any crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm.

    Under these circumstances deadly force may also be used if necessary to prevent escape from the officer, where, if feasible, some warning is given.

    "The legislature recognizes that RCW 9A.16.040 establishes a dual standard with respect to the use of deadly force by peace officers and private citizens, and further recognizes that private citizens' permissible use of deadly force under the authority of RCW 9.01.200, 9A.16.020, or 9A.16.050 is not restricted and remains broader than the limitations imposed on peace officers."
    Ceterum autem censeo, Carthaginem esse delendam

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    202 Metro
    This actually sounds like a fleeing felon scenario to me.

    Deadly force may be used to prevent the escape of a fleeing subject if there is probable cause to believe: (1) the subject has committed a felony involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical injury or death, and (2) the escape of the subject would pose an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or to another person.
    The above policy is Tennessee v. Garner compliant. It does not matter what any state law/department policy says regarding use of force on a fleeing felon by a LEO. To be protected the use of deadly force on a fleeing felon by a LEO must be Garner v. Tennesse compliant.

    If I remember correctly failure to comply with Tennessee v. Garner could subject an officer to 18 USC 242 prosecution.

    18 USC 242 only applies to those acting under color of law, which would not be applicable to a citizen.

    The question in regards to those required to adhere to the above policy becomes can one articulate both 1) and 2)?

    1) is easy.
    Last edited by Cold War Scout; 01-04-2011 at 04:30 PM.
    “This is a war and we are soldiers. Death can come for us at anytime, and in anyplace.” - Morpheus

    "There are no silver medals on the world's mean streets." - CWS

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    The cop certainly seems justified to me. This guy needs to be drilled in the back. If he has been shooting at the cop and is still armed he's sure going to shoot some citizen he rolls up on.

    As a CCW, obviously, I couldn't justify shooting this guy. But one situation that I would absolutely take a shot at someone's back would be if he was in my house at 0300 going through my stuff. I would assume that he means me and my family ill intent so he would get ventilated back, front, or sideways.
    Last edited by mountaineer; 01-04-2011 at 04:23 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Does the person remain a threat to you or someone else? Do you fear for your life and safety? If so, you are justified. If not, you are not.
    I rather you hated me for who I am than love me for who I ain't!
    This Ain't the Movies, and You Ain't John Wayne!

    Sometimes it is entirely appropriate to kill a fly with a 12 pound sledgehammer!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    How do you know the suspect is leaving? Maybe he is just flanking you by going around the building. He has demonstrated his intent. Kill him if you can.
    Adaptare, Vincendum aut Mori!

    Light a candle, don't curse the darkness. Redneckranger

    "brush the sand out of your vagina and move on, personally i wouldn't post such drama here considering the clientèle WT serves but thats just me. You may find yourself at class one day being forced to get off the X in a pink floral sun dress surrounded by smirking monsters. I say its better to have no friends then bad friends."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Shooting somebody in the back?

    Justifiable? - Preferable IMHO. - Means my flanking action was a success, or I had the BG by surprise!

    When? - Whenever possible of course.

    Local laws and 'Nike Withdrawel' possibilities to be considered of course.

    If you have to fight, do not fear death.
    We will all die one day, so fight skillfully and bravely!
    And if it is to be that you die, then at least go to God proudly.
    Meet him as the proud warrior that you once were, and not as a sniveling coward.
    Nobody lives forever.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Beyond The Wall
    I have shot two bad guys in the back.

    One was after my partner yelledfor him to put his hands up and the bad guy's Beretta went into battery and he began turning. At the shift of the shoulders, I blasted him.

    Another was a bad guy running away shooting a Glock 21. I maneuvered away from his turn (pre-CRG material but nonetheless a get off the x type of move) and blasted him. This last one was at a dead run, at night at LAPD's Parker Center's civilian parking lot.

    Anyone with issues about back shooting, shooting women...even shooting so called "kids" when necessary has been watching too much John Wayne.
    Gabriel Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

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