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OIS Rifle Fight in Buckeye, AZ – What Can We Learn?

OIS Rifle Fight in Buckeye, AZ – What Can We Learn?

Footage of a police involved gunfight in Buckeye, AZ was released earlier this month. This OIS occurred last year. Perspective is limited, as such video typically is, but there’s plenty here to learn from — good and bad. This footage was not released to the public until after the resolution of the investigation, by request of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

Here’s the short version of the initial exchange of gunfire, after officers responding to reports that a man had shot his wife. Two officers, A. Price and L. Biffin (whose body camera you are watching) were behind a squad looking up the road when the suspect, William Ferguson, opened fire upon them.

A third officer arrives shortly after this footage, also engaging Ferguson with his AR. Ferguson was hit in the shoulder during the fight and subsequently took his own life. His wife was later found shot to death in their home, along with two children who were unharmed.

Here’s a longer version of the video.

..and here is the full 30 minute video released by Buckeye, AZ, PD.

Let’s see what we can sort out from the video and use this as an instructional opportunity.

Buckeye, AZ has a patrol rifle program. According to official statements made last year (when this OIS originally occurred) every patrol officer is issued an AR15. Our Google Fu is sadly weak, however; we were unable to find any information regarding what Ferguson might have been armed with. News stories simply said he was, “…heavily armed.”

Note — we’re looking for intelligent discourse here, not trolling or banal, condescending second-guess fuckery. Thanks in advance for an academic discussion!

MD

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18 Comments

  1. The rifle is a Wyndam, at some point near the 20min mark Wyndam, ME is visible to the body cam. A 1-6 power optic would have been helpful, I think adding a DM would have been more effective than lugging the shield around. Honestly if they have time to wait for backup, then I feel like patrol rifle programs should have at least one officer out of every four carry and be trained on a long gun with a 1-6x or 1-9x optic on it. It wouldn’t have to be fancy just something that combined with a trained shooter can consistently print 1MOA out to 150yards or so. Most departments don’t let their snipers shoot beyond 100yards anyway. Other than that, movement to contact could have been smoother, bounding in from cover to cover could have happened sooner. The mag dump was a classic military move to establish fire superiority, it doesn’t really fly in law enforcement where every round must be accounted for. Other than that, great job from what I could see.

  2. Not a cop; a way we used to carry extra mags back in the dawn-of-time was in USGI ammo bandoliers. This is how 5.56 ammo frequently comes in the military; the 10-rd stripper clips are 3 per pocket with four pockets in the new ones thus these will hold 4 30-rd mags. The pocket fit can be a little tight and you’d need to work with them a bit. The early “Nam-era” ones had seven pockets of 20 rounds and fit the original 20-rd mags perfectly. Dunno how the “public” would react to the green cloth but they’re easy to grab and throw on

  3. I kept a thigh pouch with 2 extra mags next to me in the front seat. I could use the quick attach under my duty belt to have it on when I got out of my car. By the time you get your rifle from the trunk, you already have the extra mags. Few people notice extra mags when you are carrying a rifle. The downside is it is an extra step when something happens, but it became second nature pretty quickly.

  4. I am not a professional, but maybe a 20 round P-mag in a cargo pocket might be worth the weight if you can’t have rifle mags on your belt.
    Thanks for carrying the heavy load for all of us.

  5. The shield is clearly marked “Handgun Only”. The officer is using a rifle, and the opposition is also using a rifle. Why is he handicapping himself with it? There is no benefit, and some real drawbacks.

  6. It wasn’t Instagram perfect but that’s life. (1) got lead on meat first, (2) contained the threat, (3) kept the pressure up until it was resolved, makes a decent day.

    Have the ability to carry an extra magazine, if you can’t on your belt then dump one in your back pocket every time you deploy your rifle (there was enough time) then use it and top off with another mag before leaving your car. I am not a fan of leg rigs because running and clearing obstacles with them is all but impossible (the weight slows you down over distance and it hangs on everything). Coupled mags can work but also inhibit normal manual of Arms.

    Not a fan of the mag dump but also don’t know the target or what he saw- if the bad guy is shooting from his vehicle then you better believe that vehicle will get enough rounds to ensure it is disabled after shooting at the bad guy, that murderer cannot break containment….

    The shield was a waste and arguably inhibited their mobility. Shields are good when you are working a stronghold problem. be fast on your feet and prevent the bad guy from invading a home should be priority in this case.

  7. Dumping the mag when excited isn’t a smart move when a target isn’t fully acquired. I would also add that later in the video the use of cover and not raising the shield to protect your neck and head is pointless. Why sit there with your melon exposed like that. I didn’t see much more to critique other than that from a training perspective. However when SHTF some training gets tossed ass the adrenaline pumps. Can happen to the most trained folks.

  8. My “bailout bag” is compact and has a ZAK Tool clip on it. If I am rolling into a hot call where I will be deploying the rifle, I can simply clip the bailout bag onto my gunbelt since I keep the blank Zak tool belt clip ( also known as a key ring holder ) on my off side as part of my gunbelt setup. As I arrive in the area and then I just exit with the rifle knowing I am ready for whatever (mostly) may unfold.

    Agreed that a magnified optic of some kind could have been a big help in this situation. Unfortunately we are limited to a max of 4x as a patrol rifle operator, but 4x sure beats NO x when engaging someone far off and having old eyes like mine.

  9. Great work. Appears they were able to cordone off the street instead of rushing in before initial contact. Fire superiority right from the get go then loaded up before flanking. Good work fellas.

    .

  10. Carrying multiple mags on person is not very feasible in most patrol situations. The times that I’ve had to grab my patrol rifle, I’ve not been afforded the opportunity to sling my magazine bag and most communities would not be happy about officers carrying rifle mags on though rigs or duty belts.

    One option is to use coupled mags, which is what I keep in my rifle while it’s racked in my car. It’s the only coupled mag I carry, but if I have to grab and run I at least have a second mag immediately available. I also keep a quick don/doff plate carrier in my car that has a couple spare mags. I work in a mostly rural county and am highly likely to encounter rifle threats, so in my opinion a plate carrier is a necessity and it gives me an option to keep extra mags available quickly.

    1. Totally agree about the need for plate carriers. I’ve found that a rifle mag pouch on the duty belt tends to just blend in. I’ve never heard one single comment reference having an AR mag on me. I agree that a mag coupler can be a good alternative, though.

  11. If you don’t bring it to the gunfight (ammo, medical) you won’t have it when you need it. Also, maybe running the rifle one handed with a shield isn’t the BEST idea.

  12. Solid work.

    Sustain: Initial radio traffic at the time of contact were about what could be expected, other radio traffic that we could hear seemed controlled and concise throughout the incident. The shooter’s description and last/suspected location was quickly put out. Perimeter was established in good time. A sensible, simple plan (use the shield and parked cars as cover to maneuver to the suspect house IOT check on the suspect’s children, thought to be in the house and therefore at risk) was quickly made, transmitted to all concerned, and executed.

    Improve: Additional long gun ammo needs to be carried on body. Even at neighborhood distances, magnifying optics are useful and would have been helpful here.

  13. One tactical nylon company is using this video to market their thigh rigs for spare magazines for patrol rifles. I don’t disagree, but at one point one officer tells another that his spare magazines are in a bag back in the patrol car. My take-away is to have some means to carry the essential gear for most gunfights. It’s easy to load down bag, plate carriers, or other carry systems with too much “stuff”. You need something you can access quickly, I’ve gone back to smaller bags because I’m more likely to take them with me rather than leave them in the cruiser.

    1. Also the importance of the combat mindset is perfectly shown in this video it shows the oh shit factor, the adrenaline dump, and finally the brain coming back online and finally tactics once they recover. Experience and training are the only way.

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