LVMPD Suspicious Vehicle OIS: What Can We Learn?
LVMPD recently had two officers shot by an uncooperative suspect while conducting a vehicle check. The agency subsequently released body cam video from both officers of the same event. The video opens well into the contact so, we don’t have all the particulars to assess the entirety of events, but we do have enough to get some learnin’ from the moments immediately before shots are fired.
As you’ll see, the suspect is seated in the vehicle and the officers are asking, then ordering, him to exit the vehicle. After a short period of non-compliance, he comes up with a weapon and the gunfight begins. Both officers are hit; one in the gunbelt, the other outside the vest, with a single round entering his chest and exiting his lower back. The latter officer is the one you will initially hear talking on the radio in the video below. The suspect was reportedly hit at least once by officers and then once with a self-inflicted wound. He does not survive the encounter.
Hindsight being 20/20, we now have a good idea why our bad guy didn’t wanna come out. The threat presents itself from first and second officers’ perspectives at about 2:50 and 6:15 respectively.
As with all critical incidence, little things make a difference both in your favor and against. These two officers will likely chew on their individual actions and those of the suspect for years to come — as will training officers and LEOs (and, unfortunately, some bad guys) from all over.
There are some learning points to be had here. Both officers perceived and identified the threat instantly when it presented, they stayed in the fight after being shot, created distance and sought cover. Their communication was effective with each other and with follow on officers after the contact, but probably could have been better between each other as things unfolded up to the event.
Once the primary/contact officer had physical contact with the suspect’s arm out the window of the vehicle, he probably should have maintained it and used it as leverage to put the suspect at a disadvantage. While I can appreciate the cover officer coming over from the passenger side, he might have been better better served utilizing the visual perspective of that contact position. This could potentially have allowed him identify the threat sooner, and it would have given him a different angle to engage the suspect.
Those things didn’t happen, and there is no certain way of telling if those adjustments would have made a damn bit of difference. In the end, two good guys are banged up, but alive and will live to serve another day.
This is a much longer version of the video, with the official agency debrief.
Mad Duo, Breach-Bang& CLEAR!
Emergency: Activate firefly, deploy green (or brown) star cluster, get your wank sock out of your ruck and stand by ’til we come get you.
About the Author: PDF is a former infantryman and STA Marine turned policeman whose current agency administration requires him to write under a pseudonym. Retired from the military now, PDF has been On The Job as a LEO for going on two decades, most of which he spent on either evenings or night shift (and of that, mostly the latter). He has been a patrolman, K9 handler, K9 section supervisor, patrol supervisor, SOT member, SOT sniper team leader, and, detective captain and, (begrudgingly) watch commander. He remains a patrolman at heart, thankfully, which is why we all still get along. PDF is a recognized SME in several areas who has been decorated multiple times for valor. We are not entirely sure how his mustache — a symbiote that feeds primarily on Yuengling and Skoal fine cut —feels about his current billet; its aloof and truculent nature make it difficult to interview.