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“What If” Part #4

I cannot express the fear I felt at this point. I knew he did not know I was right there. I knew if I did not take action that I would not be safe because he would see me eventually if not immediately. I took action and yelled, “PUT YOUR HANDS UP!!!” The Suspect then turned his body towards me instantly and fast. At this point he had the Handgun in his right hand. He was holding the gun just above the door where the window comes up. He pointed it at me.

    Now, I cannot explain to anyone the quantity and the speed with which my mind processed the information and happenings. I also knew the Captain was somewhere behind me and was in danger as well. I cannot express accurately in words the thoughts and feeling that went through my mind and body.  The best way I can describe it is that it reminds me of being tased. I have been tased twice in my Law Enforcement Training. I still have a vivid memory of the pain that it causes. I mean IT HURTS!! Well, when the gun was pointed at me it was if I could feel the bullets coming from the gun. I could feel it as if it ran from my neck down my back. I like to think I am a tough guy, but I must admit I was in fear for my life and the life of the Captain.

    I will reiterate that I cannot explain how fast my mind processed all this information because that is the short version of what went thought my mind. I made an instant decision that my life and the life of at least the Captain was in imminent danger of Death and Serious Bodily Injury if I did not act. My training took over. I know my Patrol Rifle was on Safety. I do not remember taking it off Safety. However, Muscle Memory from my training took over. The Safety came off. I do remember firing two rounds at the Suspect to stop the threat. The suspect fell back into the Truck. I did not know, but I thought the threat may have been stopped and I feared he had been killed. I say feared because yes, I wanted to stop the threat of my and the Captains death. Yet at the same time I have never wanted to take another’s life. Just at that point the suspect popped back up and the truck took off to the west.

    I do not remember putting my rifle back on safety, but it was on Safety when I handed it over for the investigation. The truck had sped off to the west and Deputy Greenwell, whom had containment on the south end, was (what seemed like immediately) behind me in his patrol vehicle. The Captain jumped in with him and they pursued the suspect. I immediately radioed “SHOTS FIRED all officers are OK” to Richfield Dispatch. I also relayed to them that Sanpete County was 10-80 (pursuing) with the suspect.

    I began walking west toward the pursuit and met up with the Sergeant and Ephraim Officer. The Sergeant asked who fired. I relayed to them both that it was me. By this point we were all headed west. Several vehicles passed me. About 300 yards to the west the suspect gave up and the Sanpete Sheriff Office Captain and Deputy had the suspect in custody and on the ground lying on his back behind the stolen truck. It seemed as though the Ephraim Officer rendered aid until they could get him on a back board and up to the ambulance that had started down the road. They took the suspect on a backboard in the back of a patrol vehicle SUV to the ambulance because the road was too rough for the ambulance.  I remember at one point the suspect was being assisted onto the backboard by an EMT.  She grabbed his right arm to help him and he screamed, that’s where they “F”ing Shot Me!!!!  She didn’t skip a beat, she just kept doing what she needed to do.

    I noticed the owner of the Stolen vehicle coming up the road from the west towards the scene. No other officer seemed to see him or be concerned with the fact he was coming into what was now a crime scene. I took it upon myself to tell him that I meant no offense, but he should and could not come any closer until the scene was no longer a crime scene.

    The suspect was transported to the hospital with many severe self-inflicted wounds and a gunshot wound to the right arm. He was later transported to a hospital on the Wasatch front for further care. I had my Patrol Rifle taken as evidence and had an Officer assigned to me to insure no one tried to talk to me about what happened or question me.

    Emotions? Yup they set in. I had plenty. I called my wife to let her know that I was OK and that no one was fatally wounded. I also called to let my parents know as I knew the news would be reporting something before long. I then contacted a lawyer to protect my rights. After all I had just used potentially deadly force and knew there would be an investigation. After a short while I was escorted to my home. I made my family Breakfast Burritos. We decided to go to Wal-Mart. We needed supplies because we had been asked to make dinner for a family that had just got home from having a baby.

    While at the store my sergeant called and stated they were on the way to my house to do a round count on my hand gun and ammo magazines. They also downloaded my dash cam video. Up until this time I did not know if the gunshot wound to the suspect was self-inflicted or from me. My LT stated that the gunshot wound was from me and that part of the shrapnel was going to be left in the suspects arm.

    These events then started a long 5 weeks of waiting and not knowing for sure what was going to happen. The following Thursday was a good day. I was feeling really good. Then I got a phone call from the investigator for Sanpete County handling the use of force incident. He asked if I could meet the following day for an interview. I contacted my Lawyer and we set up the interview for noon the following day.  This set into motion a whirl wheel of emotions and nerves. On the morning of the interview I can honestly say that even though my children where around and I was not physically alone, I felt utterly and completely alone. To this point in my life I cannot say I had ever felt that alone.


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