Ground Zero

Firepower - - CONTENTS -

“Three-ge­orge-72, 3-Ge­orge-2, 3-Ge­orge-33… caller reports an un­known male run­ning up and down her apart­ment build­ing hall­way scream­ing about the Devil. Sub­ject is bloody and at­tempt­ing to force his way into her apart­ment. Caller has bar­ri­caded her­self in her bed­room with three small chil­dren and two adult fam­ily mem­bers.”

Deep breath, OK, here we go. That could be a psy­chotic episode? Ex­cited delir­ium? OK, 3-Ge­orge-2 and 3-Ge­orge-33 are meat-eaters, we’ve got a solid team go­ing in. What if he gets in be­fore we get there? Do they have any weapons in the apart­ment? Why’s dude bloody?

Lights and sirens on, my part­ner Corey and I were 2 min­utes out.

We all ar­rived al­most si­mul­ta­ne­ously, and an­other unit who was free self-ini­ti­ated to re­spond as well. We formed a hasty plan and es­tab­lished roles. Who’s first in? How many Taser of­fi­cers do we have? Who’s got the best mule kick to boot the door if nec­es­sary?

Once in­side the apart­ment build­ing, we quickly re­al­ized that it was new, solidly built con­struc­tion, and our porta­bles wouldn’t broad­cast well through all the con­crete. Once on the 18th floor, we peeled out and made our way to the apart­ment in ques­tion, of­ten check­ing our backs to make sure bloody Devil-scream­ing dude didn’t pop out on us from be­hind.

A gar­bled ra­dio trans­mis­sion from

Ra­dio squawked through our ear­pieces: “Ge­orge Uni… caller says… insi… locked in bed­room… won’t let them lea…”

Dammit, some­how he got in. Let’s go guys, let’s go, let’s go…

We knew we had got­ten to the cor­rect apart­ment when we heard a low, gut­tural growl­ing and the scared, muf­fled voices of a woman and sev­eral chil­dren com­ing from within. OK, an­i­mal noises, grunt­ing, keen­ing ut­ter­ances… yeah, most likely ex­cited delir­ium, prob­a­bly some­one’s dusted on “wet” or PCP. Let’s go.

“Po­lice! Po­lice! Open the door! Open the door!” The ex­i­gency of the sit­u­a­tion and threat of harm to in­no­cents dic­tated our next move. Just as An­thony got ready to boot the door, it opened up about 6 inches. Here he was, sweat and blood stream­ing in rivulets down his face and chest. Scratches all over his face, chest, and ab­domen. He was breath­ing heav­ily, eyes wide, look­ing right through us.

“I’m on fire! I’m on fire! He’s try­ing to burn me! I’m burn­ing!”

“Back up! Back up! Open the door,” Fitz yelled, and the man tried to slam the door on us. We all surged for­ward as one, not want­ing to give him the op­por­tu­nity to bar­ri­cade him­self in­side, my thoughts im­me­di­ately to the young chil­dren I could hear scream­ing from fur­ther in­side the apart­ment.

It took all five of us to force the door open, and we all tum­bled for­ward, grasp­ing and striv­ing to gain hold of the wet, bloody, and slip­pery sus­pect be­fore he could have a chance to gain dis­tance and re-ori­ent him­self on any one of us.

We brought the man down to the ground by force of num­bers, and I ended up at his head. Where the head goes, the body fol­lows, so I pinned the sus­pect’s head to the ground by post­ing up on him. I pressed

down on his head with both hands di­rectly un­der my shoul­ders, bring­ing what lit­tle weight I pos­sessed fully to bear. My part­ners each went for a limb and we had five points of con­tact on him. The man forced his arms in­ward, and pushed him­self into an up­right pushup po­si­tion. No way. No freak­ing way.

The thing about sus­pects who are high on PCP, or “sherm”, is that they can ex­hibit su­per­hu­man strength and an in­cred­i­ble tol­er­ance for, and in­dif­fer­ence to, pain. This was a prime ex­am­ple of such. We all in­stinc­tively knew this could end up be­ing a deadly force sit­u­a­tion with six in­no­cents in im­me­di­ate prox­im­ity to the fight, and at least five of us (the of­fi­cers) all had firearms in play.

I heard Fitz yell, “Taser, Taser, Taser,” and he fired a con­tact shot mid-back to the sus­pect, then dragged the Taser down and made sec­ondary con­tact to the sus­pect’s right leg in an at­tempt to achieve Neu­ro­mus­cu­lar In­ca­pac­i­ta­tion (NMI). The trained tac­tic worked, and the sus­pect locked up in full NMI long enough for us to bring him back down flat to the ground with limbs ex­tended.

As soon as the 5-sec­ond cy­cle was up, the sus­pect im­me­di­ately re­gained con­trol of his body and be­gan to wres­tle his way back up again. Fitz ini­ti­ated a sec­ond Taser ap­pli­ca­tion and we were able to get the guy into cuffs. I rolled the sus­pect to his side into a re­cov­ery po­si­tion and kept him fixed; he had ceased to fight at this point in time.

Based on our train­ing and ex­pe­ri­ence, our fo­cus im­me­di­ately shifted to care­giv­ing; I mon­i­tored the sus­pect, gave him some wa­ter, and mon­i­tored his vi­tals. From ex­pe­ri­ence we’ve learned it’s at this time, after ex­treme ex­er­tion and with un­known drugs on­board, that it’s a crit­i­cal in­ter­val for the sur­viv­abil­ity of sus­pects pos­si­bly in the throes of ex­cited delir­ium. We now treated him as a per­son un­der­go­ing a med­i­cal emer­gency. A team of medics, who had pre-staged out­side, im­me­di­ately re­sponded with a gur­ney and took over med­i­cal mon­i­tor­ing.

The other of­fi­cers checked on the well­be­ing and safety of the res­i­dents of the apart­ment. To our re­lief, all were un­hurt and gave us fan­tas­tic state­ments.

The sus­pect was taken to the hos­pi­tal un­der guard, and we all made our way back to the lobby. I was able to make con­tact with the sus­pect’s fa­ther, a clin­i­cal coun­selor with a Mas­ters in so­cial work, who re­sponded to the scene. “He doesn’t do drugs... maybe he smoked marijuana when he was a teenager, but he’s a good boy. I don’t un­der­stand why you guys had to wres­tle with him and send him to the hos­pi­tal. You should just let me take him home.”

I re­frained from re­mind­ing the fa­ther of the in­no­cent lives his son put in dan­ger, or the po­ten­tial for in­jury he ex­posed him­self, me, and my fel­low of­fi­cers to. Some bat­tles sim­ply aren’t worth fight­ing. I gave him my busi­ness card, di­rec­tions to the hos­pi­tal, and wished him well.

We de­briefed, a su­per­vi­sor ar­rived on scene to screen the in­ci­dent, and we be­gan to make our way back to the precinct for pa­per­work, state­ments, and sub­se­quent use-of-force reports. For­tu­nately for us, we’d had a plan, es­tab­lished roles, and were able to flow with the scene as it pre­sented it­self. Trained re­sponses won the day, and we all came away un­hurt from the en­counter.

While head­ing back to the precinct, Ra­dio broad­casted again with tones, those three beeps that im­me­di­ately spark an adrenaline spike, for a pri­or­ity call…

“Shots fired, shots fired, caller reports man down be­hind a bar, pos­si­ble gun­shot wound to the head, sin­gle shot heard, noth­ing fur­ther.”

Deep breath... OK, here we go.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.