You should be familiar with suicide by cop. If you are not, it is a term applied to individuals who wish to kill themselves, but for some reason are unable to actually accomplish it. They attack an LEO forcing the officer to shoot in self-defense. This should not be taken to mean these potential suicides can be ignored as dangerous only to themselves. Suicide is rage turned inward. It can snap outward at any second.
A variation of this applies to CCW. While I don’t think anyone can find an example yet, it is not unreasonable that a person might force a confrontation with an armed citizen to commit suicide.
Police body cameras give us some insight to the process. Check the video.
Two Minneapolis police officers shot and killed an armed suspect in Minnesota
Here the suicide is armed with a knife, but guns are common. He taunts the officer to “Do it” while making short steps and false charges. These are the equivalent to hesitation cuts. He is hoping to get an immediate and fatal response from the officer. Part of this ritual is to work up the courage to take the final steps of attacking the officer and forcing his own death.
Questions about why a Taser or a bean bag round wasn’t used is usually brought up by the family. It’s part of their grieving process leading to accepting the family member’s suicide. These questions need to be answered prior to pulling your weapon as part of your training and department policy.
For the civilian the questions raised might be, “Why didn’t you run away?” or “Couldn’t you kick the knife out of his hand like Jack Reacher does?” Again you should have answers to these question before you go out the door.
Review the tape again. Did the officer try to have the optimal backstop? One report suggested 11 rounds were fired, but only three struck the suicide. Where did those other rounds go? This should be a concern to you.
Turn this around and place yourself in the neighboring houses. On hearing people yelling to drop the knife, or put your hands up you need to move to the back of your house and not head to the window to catch the action on video. Nor do you, unless extremely dire circumstances demand it, head out the door in an attempt to assist the officers or armed citizen. That’s just so much bad ju-ju.
After they stopped the man, the officers handcuffed and then rendered medical assistance but as armed citizen, we do not have that obligation. Remain at a distance, using both cover and concealment appropriate to the situation. Our human nature demands we call for medical and police assistance.
Calling out and asking if anyone else needs medical attention is an excellent idea on several levels. I’ve discussed this in other blogs. Let me just ask, who typically calls for the police and medical aid following a shooting? The good or bad guy?
Lastly let me remind you that neither police officer wanted to shoot this person. They both knew they were being played, but they had no option but to do the best they could. They will both suffer emotionally from this and it may affect their careers and home life. It’s not like TV when a death a week doesn’t faze anyone. The armed citizen will find himself in a similar spiderhole with no apparent way out. The good news is there is professional help for our side of the victim equation.
Spend some time studying this tape. You see it from both officers’ video cameras and well as hear the dialog. Watch the gun handling and the officer’s movements relative to the suicide.
Watch and learn.