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Keep Your Distance!

Everyone who carries can learn from deadly force incidents, even those involving police officers. For that reason, a recent fatal shooting involving a police officer and a suspect caught my attention:

At 1:18 p.m. on Sunday, September 16, 2018, Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Kunze responded to a report of a suspicious person. County Sheriff Jeff Easter reported, “When Deputy Kunze arrived on the scene, he patted [the suspect] down and found a .40-caliber handgun.”

Easter said Kunze put the handgun aside and began to handcuff the suspect when a fight began. Easter added that while deputies know that Kunze’s service weapon was fired, they are awaiting ballistics information to determine if the suspect’s handgun was also fired.

According to KSAL, “When backup arrived around 1:50 p.m., both Kunze and the suspect had been shot. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene. Kunze was taken to a hospital where he later died.”

OK, so what can we learn from this case?

First of all, civilians who carry know (or should know) that law enforcement has different “rules of engagement.” Police officers are expected to chase after suspects; we are not. In fact, were we to do so, it could have serious repercussions for us if we ended up in a lethal-force encounter.

Naturally, we hope to never get into a wrestling match while carrying a gun. Even trained officers have been shot when suspects were able to get their hands on the cops’ guns. This may very well have been what happened to Deputy Kunze.

This incident points out another danger: letting a suspect get too close. In my concealed carry classes, I routinely stress the importance of keeping a potential attacker at a safe distance. I have witnessed professionals who can take a gun away from you in the blink of an eye.

Few people know that prison inmates spend a substantial amount of time showing each other how to disarm their victims. However, they can only be successful if they get close enough.

Thankfully, such situations are rare. In the vast majority of cases, when a bad actor sees a gun, he immediately takes off. However, once in a while an attacker freezes at the sight of a gun and just stands there. This happened to one of my students, who was approached by a mugger in Minneapolis.

Upon seeing my student’s firearm, the suspect, shaking as he raised his hands, pleaded, “Don’t kill me! Don’t kill me!” However, he was slowly creeping closer and closer. Thankfully, my student remembered his training and, while backing away from the assailant, shouted, “Stop!” several times. When the suspect realized that his “victim” had no desire to hold him for the cops, he fled. Good.

I know, I know … we all hate the thought of a mugger going free, but my student made the right choice. He disengaged. As a result, instead of potentially sitting in the police station, waiting for his lawyer, he simply called 911, reported the incident and then went home.

It was a much better (and certainly cheaper) outcome.

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