Albuquerque (NM) police officers responded to a domestic violence call at an apartment complex. Shortly after arriving, they are confronted by the suspect who is wielding a large knife or bayonet.
One officer attempts to deploy a Taser, which fails to stop the subject. The suspect advances on the officers and the second officer shoots the suspect. Portions of the confrontation were captured on a video camera worn by one of the officers:
Prior to the officers’ arrival, the complainant, a 13-year-old girl and her mother, reported the suspect was violent, and he had attacked them. Both the young girl and her mother advised dispatch they needed medical assistance. So, the officers had reason to believe the suspect would be violent.
The entire incident happened extremely quickly. The video starts with the officers walking toward the complainant’s apartment. About 14 seconds later, the officers make contact with a clearly distraught complainant, who points out the suspect to the officers. One officer remains with the complainant, while the second approaches the suspect.
About 15 seconds later, the suspect threatens the second officer with the knife, and the first officer goes to assist his partner. Within the next 16 seconds, officers attempt to deploy a Taser and give the suspect multiple warnings to drop the knife. When the suspect ignores their lawful commands and advances on officers, the suspect is shot.
Total time from approaching the apartment to shots fired: 45 seconds.
The officers did a good job, and the incident is fairly straightforward for any officer responding to a similar incident.
Key Training Points:
- Be prepared to use force quickly. This incident happened in less than one minute.
- Watch your approach – suspects will not always be at the address to which you are responding. They may be across the street, in another apartment, in the wood line and/or waiting to ambush you.
- Tasers are a great tool, but not always effective. When dealing with an armed subject only attempt to use a Taser if you have deadly force cover. That way if the Taser fails, your backup can still apply lethal force.
- Continue shooting until the threat is stopped. The suspect in this case did not stop until after multiple shots were fired. Don’t get into the “double tap and re-assess” mindset. Be ready to shoot as many times as it takes.