LEO arrival while engaged with shooter

Question for LEOs. There have been several stories since November concerning armed citizens shot by LEOs while defending themselves. I think most of us that carry concealed are (or should be) aware of how to act when PD arrives at the aftermath of a defensive use of a firearm. My question centers on the rare situation where you are still actively engaging a shooter. I recently spoke with my Dad (retired KCSO, WA Deputy) about this and his advice was to immediately disengage, place your sidearm away from you and lie face down behind cover. Of course it’s essential to present yourself in a non-threatening posture, but it may be difficult to place yourself in that vulnerable position even behind cover unless you are very sure that the arriving officers can provide you with adaquate protection. Obviously this is a worst case scenario both for an armed citizen and Law Enforcement as nobody in that situation wants to harm an innocent person. Any LEOs that would like to give their opinions on this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


I’m not LE, but I will tell you from working with them, and having many LE friends that it is a crapshoot.

Your life is going to depend on the training, levelheadedness, professionalism and prior experiences of the officer or officers that arrive on the scene.

This obviously can vary greatly depending on the situation and what info they have been given coupled with split second judgement calls and decision making.

No way to make anything clear cut in that circumstance.

It even happens occasionally within LE itself, blue on blue shootings occur with plainclothes and undercovers as well.


I tend to agree. Grew up around cops, worked with them as a FF and SAR operator. Those situations tend to be very chaotic and an arriving officer’s first thoughts are to make sure he and his brothers all go home safe. Pray I never find myself in that particular scenario. When my Dad moved from uniformed patrol to detective, his big fear was being shot by a brother officer. Not because it was any more likely, but because he said he would hate for a fellow officer to have to deal with that.


@Robocop1051 any input?


Great topic. This is a very important consideration for anyone who carries concealed. I know what to do in my home, but a chaotic public scene is entirely different. This situation is probably not discussed in great detail in self-defense classes. It was certainly not discussed in my state-required training class for carry permit applicants. I am curious to hear opinions from our LEO members.


I’ll put my $0.02 in on this…

Let’s assume for a moment that the officer has very little to no information about what he is responding to. This gives us kind of a “worst case scenario” setting. The officer likely is only aware of an extremely hostile situation and has poor suspect information.

Having been this officer I will tell you, You show up not with the intention to shoot anyone, but the expectation to shoot someone. Let me clarify… There’s no intention, because I don’t want to shoot anyone. Whatever the exact opposite is of wanting to shoot someone, that’s me. I want to finish off my career without EVER having to shoot my gun at someone. That being said, I have mentally prepared myself to accept the fact that when I respond to these calls someone is going to force me to shoot them.

So back to out “worst case scenario” and the officer arrives to a shots fired call. He runs around the corner and this is the first thing he sees…
If you shoot too fast, you’re the racist cop who just killed the man that disarmed a disgruntled worker, and was waiting for police. If you don’t shoot fast enough, you’re the coward who let an innocent man die.

Don’t carry a gun you aren’t willing to drop on concrete. As soon as you know the cops are near, and their presence imminent, strip your magazine, unload your gun, drop the gun on the ground, and put space between you and the gun. Open, empty hands, in plain view, rarely ever get shot.

Identify yourself. Speak clearly and intelligibly. Don’t rush the situation. If you have ID or credentials in your wallet or pocket, they will still be there 5 or 10 minutes from now. No need to reach for them now. State that you have them and where they are. Trust me, the cop will ask for them at some point. Communication is a key element.

Swallow your pride for a brief second here. You are the law abiding citizen… they are the sworn law enforcement officers who insert themselves regularly into high risk situations. The last thing you want to do is puff up and argue with a cop, who is probably foaming with adrenaline, and has the backing of all 50 States to be one of the select few exempt from the standard rules of homicide. The cop knows this. He knows he’s protected and that if he’s threatened, he can react accordingly. You refusing to drop your $4000 Dan Wesson 1911 may be just enough to get your ticket punched.


What I’m saying is, try to help the cop out as much as possible. Compliance is the best strategy. Being the Good Samaritan will be rewarded. The cop will try to slink away after the call is finished, and won’t want anything to do with the cameras. You’ll get all the fame and attention afterwards.


Thanks! One significant distinction I wanted to make in my question though was the fact that you are actively engaging an armed subject. I do think it’s pretty cut and dried if you have essentially ended a threat and are simply covering a suspect at gun point. Disarm, Raise your hands, Comply. I don’t think the scenario of shooting it out with a bad guy in the open is really that relevant since those situations are bound to be ‘resolved’ for better or worse long before any LEOs will arrive. I guess I’m trying to get the point across that what you should do will not be what you train to do or will instinctively want to to. Disarm yourself in the middle of an active engagement, lie down behind whatever cover you have and hope to God the arriving LEOs can cover you. You really hit it on wanting Vs preparing to shoot someone. When my Dad retired, he said he was most grateful that he made it through 28 years of service without ever having to take a life.


I agree. Whether it’s an active engagement or not, it doesn’t change much…

When the cavalry shows up ready for a gunfight… I don’t want to be one of the non-uniform people holding a gun.

Find the hardest cover you can find and wait for instructions.

99% of the CCW holders are not equipped for a “firefight”. Hopefully the cops that arrive on scene are. My duty pistol loadout is SEVERAL 21rd mags, for a reason. Add a few rifle mags in the mix, and I can last for a LONG time. My off duty rig is 8+1 with two spare mags… I figured that’s just enough for me to guarantee I can get away from whatever it is that wants to hurt me and my family. A CCW rig is not a sustainable combat rig and you should be looking for the fastest “out” that you can.


Yup, most CCW holders are only equipped for a short engagement which, statistically covers most citizen involved shootings. Having been trained by a cop, I carry my G22 with 2 spare mags. G27 for summer carry, still with 2 spare mags…Even as much as I train, when I hear those sirens approaching, I’m disengaging ASAP and letting the pros take over. Anything else is, as Dad loves to say, ‘tactically inefficient’, A citizen’s goal should never be apprehension, only survival. Thanks for you input, much appreciated.