Carry a Back-Up: Officer’s Gun Disabled by Suspect’s Bullet

Back Up GunA great case for carrying a back-up firearm was made on 9/3/2011, when an Auburndale, FL police officer was hit by gunfire while approaching a possible domestic disturbance call.

Ofc. Stacy Booth was walking up to the front of the target residence when a suspect fired approximately 20 rounds from an SKS rifle through the front door. Ofc. Booth was hit by 7.62 X 39 mm bullets in the lower abdomen and right forearm. Another bullet struck her holstered firearm.

Wounded, and now with an inoperable handgun, Ofc. Booth managed to crawl to a neighboring garage. She radioed for assistance and was sheltered by the homeowners, who closed the garage door and gave her aid.

The suspect, Michael Wayne Lester, fired more rounds at arriving officers. He was eventually arrested in his house by a SWAT team. Inside, they found over a thousand rounds of ammunition, the SKS, a Ruger Mini-30, and a shotgun.

Ofc. Booth remains in critical, but stable condition. She was wearing a ballistic vest, though it would not have stopped the rifle round. She was nevertheless struck below the vest’s front panel.

Lester is charged with 4 counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, possessing a firearm while engaged in a felony, shooting in an occupied dwelling, aggravated battery, and resisting arrest with violence.

I have noticed a dismally low number of officers carrying a secondary handgun in my area. I have implored our employees to take advantage of the ability to carry a back-up, since our department policy did not allow it until several years ago.

The secondary firearm may be needed when you are not able to access your primary handgun or in the event your primary fails. I do not know if Ofc. Booth had a secondary firearm, but I hope she did.

Please stay prepared and alert when you go into the field. Prayers to Ofc. Booth for a complete recovery.

Randall is a twenty-three year sworn police officer in a mid-sized Florida police department. He has been an FTO, K9 Handler, Detective, and SWAT Team Leader. He is currently the Midnight Shift K9 Sergeant and department SWAT Coordinator.

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Randall is a 27 year veteran police sergeant in Florida with experience in SWAT, K9, FTO, and Detective Assignments.