It Happens This Fast

It’ happened Monday, 19 December: such a routine stop that the younger, less experienced cop (Officer Jeffery Martin, 22, of the Lavonia, Georgia PD) turns his back on the guy, who’s just mildly noncompliant.

Coming on the scene, Captain Michael Schulman, 50 (whose body cam we’re watching), expresses concern that the guy keeps putting his hands in his pockets. His concern was well placed. The cops knew that the car the man had been driving was reported stolen. At the start of the video, neither cop knows, yet, that the nervous young man who keeps putting his hands in his pockets, Khari Anthony Dashaun Gordon, has a .40 pistol in there… and he’s a career violent criminal, out on bail in an attempted murder case.

The situation goes from contained to desperate in seconds. We’ve replayed the video and still only hear one shot, but Schulman was shot in the chest (under the armpit) and Martin in the right hand. Neither cop got a shot off; they weren’t DRT only because Gordon didn’t finish them off before running.  The shots take place outside the camera’s field of view.

Police from across the region went into high gear to run Gordon down, which they did within a couple of miles from the scene of the crime. Meanwhile, Schulman and Martin were rushed to the hospital, where Schulman had immediate surgery and was, for a time, on the critical list. Martin was treated and released, but will need surgery to remove a bullet from his hand.

Schulman recovered well enough to be released on Tuesday afternoon (20 December), and his recovery is continuing at home. Both officers will spend Christmas & New Year’s with their wives, a pleasure Khari Gordon came this close to denying both families.

Some comments:

  • As noted, it happens very fast and without much warning.
  • Schulman is a tough guy. But his and Martin’s wounds took them out of the fight.
  • Schulman was right to worry about bleeding out. It’s several minutes before the EMTs arrive, and he neither practices self-aid, nor does Martin give him buddy aid.
  • Martin’s initial attempt to drive Schulman to the hospital fails when the wounded man can’t get all the way into the car.

It’s kind of amazing. Two cops, with at least one (Martin) being a recent vet, and neither seemed to have an IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit) or know what to do with one.  It’s true, cops have a lot of skills they have to master in limited training time. It’s also true that in some jurisdictions firefighters or EMTs have a turf-protective attitude, and fear cops knowing “too much” first aid threatens their job security (not likely, but we’ve heard that expressed). These obstacles must be overcome — a police officer is often the first authority figure on scene, and ordinary citizens look to them for help. They need to be able to help those citizens — and themselves.

  • After all this, Gordon and his attorney had enough chutzpah to ask a judge for bond… you know, like he was on when he shot the two cops. The judge… uh… declined that request. With any luck, Gordon will never again be able to threaten anyone but corrections officers.

And that brings us to the interesting fact that Khari Gordon, a man whose disappearance from the face of the earth would be celebrated by many and mourned, if at all, by his mother alone, didn’t disappear. Cops, knowing that he was wanted for shooting two of their own, tracked him down and, in complete contravention of the Black Criminals’ Lives Matter narrative, took him into custody without incident. It’s almost like the fuzz are not the monsters that a lot of people who known no cops, and whose experiential range stretches all the way from college to grad school, seem to think they are.

Like we said, interesting.

24 thoughts on “It Happens This Fast

  1. Keith

    Historically the two most dangerous things cops do are traffic stops and domestic disturbance calls. More get injured and killed on those two calls than any other.

  2. Heresolong

    So much wrong. Like you said, turned their back on the suspect, didn’t pat him down (although to be fair that was quick), no first aid, the younger guy obviously doesn’t seem to know what to do next. OTOH the statistics I’ve read suggest that even today most police will go through their careers without firing their gun and I’d assume that applies even more to actually being shot or shot at. Is it possible that he administered some first aid after the tape stopped running? His first instinct, with his partner apparently mobile, was to get him in the car to get him to hospital. I’d have thought that helping him rather than telling him to get in the car would have been more useful although he is presumably still looking around for the suspect just in case.

    I am now running through the “correct” responses in my head to a similar situation (I’m not in law enforcement) but learning from their reaction. I know I would be in shock so the best preparation is to have already planned this out ahead of time. First aid kit in my car, mental checklist on what to do: call 911, administer self aid if possible, get someone to help stop the bleeding if I can’t do it myself. What else?

    PS Don’t want anyone to take that I am being critical of either officer, this is a miserable situation and the fact that we have come to this in our society is pretty sad.

  3. John Distai

    I wasn’t in the situation, and I’ve never been shot by anything more than a BB gun so my comments don’t take the entire situation into account.

    I’m a bit surprised that the other cop wasn’t more active in assisting the more seriously injured partner. I’d like to believe that even if hurt, I’d be mindful and proactive enough to keep my eyes open for security, call for help, and actively help my injured partner. But I guess we aren’t all built the same way with the same reactions.

  4. Aesop

    WATCH. THEIR. HANDS.

    Lesson One at every police academy worthy of the name, and repeated ad infinitum during and after, and still people don’t take it to heart, until someone takes one in the heart.

    “Watch their hands. Hands kill.
    In God We Trust; everyone else, keep your {bleep}ing hands where I can see them.”

    Plenty of academies also do practice scenarios. At least one of them should involve one officer of a pair or group taking a torso GSW, and requiring TCCC responses from the partner/others, and be recertified regularly.

    Ordinary citizens know that when you have seconds to live, the police are only minutes away.
    law enforcement officers need to remember that when they have seconds to live, the paramedics are only minutes away.

    1. Raoul Duke

      You can bleed out in 12-15 seconds from certain extremity wounds. Police agencies are starting to catch on to this, and get the training and equipment out there, but sadly, there are many places that know nothing about it.

      One state is issuing an effective individual “Downed Officer Kit”, along with training, to every new officer leaving the basic academy, and conducting no-cost in-service training to everyone else. This was the work of a couple of motivated individuals, and funded through a DHS grant, which was surprisingly affordable (about the cost of one new patrol car).

      It’s a version of this Downed Officer Kit from TacMed Solutions:

      1. Raoul Duke

        This kit already has documented “saves” in the hands of the cops it’s issued to by that program. I’d call that a “win”. :)

  5. Josey Wales

    The responding officers are possibly better men than I (or just more afraid of getting in trouble) because to me a “suspect” who has just shot two cops and has a weapon = bangitybangbangbang……bang.

    1. Hognose Post author

      As the police in Milan dealt with Anus. (Of course, he went bang first, with a .25, and they proceeded to bang him into the bolgia he had coming).

  6. Texas dude

    I meant to play that video for training purposes to the troops the other day, but events intervened.

    Body language can tell you a lot about what someone is REALLY going to do. The looking away, turning to conceal the side (right, where I assume he has the weapon concealed), the thousand yard stare, refusal to make eye contact and the refusal to remove hands from his pockets after the first command, never mind the subsequent commands, were all clear indicators that he was going to run, or that he was going to fight. He might as well have been holding up a sign announcing his attention, but they weren’t reading it.

    An experienced officer would interpret all of that and latch onto the guy. The FIRST remove your hands from your pocket command is kind of a freebie. If he does it again, particularly when coupled with the body language displayed, you actually shouldn’t say it again. Latch on, take control of the arms and work into a frisk position.

    Their “tactics” were wretched. There are some basic Contact/Cover things that cops are supposed to do, and these guys didn’t. As Cover, your job is to latch on or otherwise employ appropriate force options or techniques while Contact does his work, and Contact and Cover stay out of each others’ arcs of fire so that either can employ ranged force options, if needed. Cover never took his job seriously, and Contact got distracted and kind of wandered off. They weren’t in a position to mutually support each other (which is the whole point) and got defeated in detail.

    Their radios are too loud, and that may have tipped off the bad guy that something was going to happen (your local frequent flyers always no the brevity code for “wanted person”) and radio traffic wasn’t the priority of work, anyhow. Radio traffic is important, but comes way after stabilizing things at the scene. And its the 21st Century. Wear an earpiece. I hate them too, but still.

    One should operate off a principle that if you don’t give the bad guy an apparent opening to run or fight, they are far less likely to exercise that option. And you get into less fights and foot chases. You get hurt less, they get hurt less, and there is less paperwork.

    Post shooting isn’t very pretty, either. Panic, while somewhat understandable if you have suffered a serious wound, is still not a desirable course of action. And you will rightfully catch grief from everyone over sounded like a little girl on the radio. Priority of work should have trended towards drawing a weapon (never saw that happen, though it might have) and returning fire and then either moving to cover or chasing down the dude who just shot you. Then immediate life-saving aid, with radio traffic in there somewhere where there is a natural pause for it.

    They absolutely should have some TCCC gear on their persons and more in their cars, and simple and repeated training on how to use it. You can put together a good TCCC kit for under $100, and a passable one for half that, and there is no excuse to not issue every officer such a kit, and for the officer to carry most or all of it on their person at all times. Tourniquet (one of the more expensive items), occlusive dressing, dressing and a blood clotting agent (other expensive item).

    Traditional ‘Class B’ uniforms, or ‘Class Stupid,’ as I tend to think of them, are an enemy of this, but cargo pockets give you a natural place to carry such stuff. The added benefit of a robust TCCC program is that your cops will wind up saving far more citizens (and suspects) with their TCCC gear than cops. TQ and tension pneumothorax saves will be frequent occurrences at busy places, and not so frequent, but they will still happen, at less busy places. Again, its the 21st Century.

    I don’t think these guys have had enough stress inoculation training, because it shows in their panicked actions, or inactions, post shooting. They are in unfamiliar territory and never really make any decisions or execute the ones that they voiced. They just kind of mill around and wait for someone else to show up and fix stuff. One of my biggest complaints about modern LE is that many, many agencies fails to train their people adequately for such events. Better enforcement (organizational culture) of really basic and standard tactical principles could have prevented this from happening. Better post-event actions could have led to more rapid apprehension of the bad guy or kept officers from dying. Luckily these guys both lived, and hopefully without serious long-termed complications. Kudos for being there and doing the work, but a fail on execution. One of my FTOs would have given them a “1,” the lowest mark, for “Officer Safety and Tactics” that day. I would have told the FTO to log it as a “Zero” instead.

    1. John Distai

      They just kind of mill around and wait for someone else to show up and fix stuff.

      Good to know that the behavior of my wife and her parents isn’t unique.

  7. Jim

    I carry the kit Raoul Duke mentioned everyday. What scares me is that I’m the only guy in the department who carries an IFAK, some of the new cops coming in carry at most one tourniquet, and I don’t know if they even prep them. I keep telling every new officer I run into, medical training/gear is every bit as important as being able to shoot. Unfortunately the department has no interest in anything beyond basic CPR, and it wasn’t until SWAT school that I ever went through any practical downed officer/GSW training.

  8. Texas dude

    TQs are mandatory for folks in uniform. Everything else. It’s a leadership challenge. We provide it. It’s their choice and leadership to get them to carry it.

  9. Quill_&_Blade

    You guys got me to thinking (yes it happens on occasion) I’ve never taught the kids anything about first aid. So I looked here and there, and alas, I found the book I was looking for. Man, 1957, that’s older than I thought. Improved techniques have probably come along, but OTOH, modern, schmodern. MY BOOK has the coolest pictures. Here’s the cover:

    1. John Distai

      No tattoos, no piercings, [ and their hair isn’t green, pink, or purple ]….

      A man after my own heart! Thanks for the laugh!

    2. Hognose Post author

      And that would have been the ’67, ’77, and ’87 (except for the punk subculture) kids. By ’07 it’s the ones without disfiguring amateur skin surgery that are outliers.

      Still and all, That 1957 book, even though it’s about to turn 60, is more first aid than most people ever have. One of the things we’re already seeing benefit from is the higher level of med training in the military (especially Army and Marines, most of whom go to Bulletsville) as the veterans with this training apply trauma care along highways and after accidents at home.

      1. Aesop

        We had a bike guy in the ER last week who dumped his Harley when he hit a sandy curve.
        After the obligatory face-first slide on his helmet for 50 yards or so, the first guy who happened upon him at the scene was a former USAF PJ.

        From that moment on, the situation was well in hand.

        The ARC First Aid Manual from 1957 is little changed from the 1940s.
        The plusses are it contains excellent splinting and bandaging information, which the ARC has totally forsaken since the 1990s. (They now focus on “Call 9-1-1, and wait for actual help”, even for their “advanced” classes.)
        The minuses are everything else is medicine when needles were sharpened between injections.
        The resuscitation stuff is crapworthy garbage; if they mention strokes they probably call it “apoplexy”; and in 1957, despite two world wars and the Korean clown show, trauma medicine as such was still completely non-existent.

        If you’re looking for a text or two, the only two worth acquiring first (and for most folks, last) are
        Emergency Care & Transportation Of the Sick & Injured, 11th ed.
        https://www.amazon.com/Emergency-Transportation-Injured-Navigate-Essentials/dp/128408017X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1482684805&sr=1-1&keywords=emergency+care+and+transportation+of+the+sick+and+injured+11th+ed
        and
        Special Operations Forces Medical Handbook, 2nd ed., ring-bound
        https://www.amazon.com/Special-Operations-Medical-Handbook-2008-11-03/dp/B019NEARCY/ref=sr_1_22?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1482685122&sr=1-22&keywords=Special+Operations+Forces+Medical+Handbook

        Most everything else is either outright crap, far too little, or less than what you’d have with those two, excepting medical texts that would give you and your bank account a hernia.

        Then get an IFAK/blow-out kit, and learn to use the gear, hands-on, from people who KNOW.

        Thus endeth the lesson.
        Merry Christmas

    1. Heresolong

      Replying to myself here. I read the reviews of the cheaper version and apparently it is pretty hard to read. They just took the big pages and shrank them down so the print is tiny.

      1. Aesop

        You get what you pay for. Get the original, not the ersatz.
        It’s only your life (or someone’s worthwhile to you) we’re talking about.
        Also, Amazon being Amazon, they don’t note the versions or prices from the actual US Govt. Printing Office, which are likely lower.

  10. DaveP

    My lady has been a first aid and lifeguard instructor since dirt was new. Don’t get her started on the ARC. Every new revision their programs become a little more dumbed down, a little more limited, and a little more expensive to take.

    1. Aesop

      Got to keep those paid staff off the streets.
      Especially since they’re not as bright as the volunteers.
      ARC has been making a living off of Clara Barton’s rep for 150 years.
      If they had any decent NGO competition, they’d have died off decades ago.

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