REMEMBER, DON’T BREAK INTO JAIL! Part 2
By Burton J. “Jimi” Brown, JD, PhD
Last time I wrote about the potential problems arising during the aftermath of a citizen involved shooting incident. The type of shooting incident where you, the good guy, shoot and kill, or wound another person, the bad guy. Keep in mind that I’m working off the assumption that you, the citizen shooter, is the good guy and the other guy, the “shootee,” is the bad guy. I’m going to talk about this topic again but before diving in let me provide you with some simple words to remember:
First and foremost the idea is to stay alive! You must survive the violent encounter! You must live to fight another day if that unfortunate event were to happen again. That said, here’s the rub. In surviving you live to face the results of the police investigation and, if the bad guy is dead, a likely grand jury conducted by your local prosecutor. If you don’t survive, none of this matters. The stressful hassle of the post shooting inquiries won’t be important to you if you’re not around to participate. So, once again, Stay Alive! Failure to do so is both lethal and permanent.
You may be thinking, why should I be so careful about what I say to the investigators at the scene? Why can’t I tell them I’m a black belt in Kick Ass Fu? What exactly do you want me to say? Fair enough, lets get to it.
You: Officer, I’ve had tactical hand gun training and I’m a pretty good shot!
Investigator: Really? That’s great! Who’d you train with?
You: Charley Crux over at The Kill Fu Studio. I’ve taken all the pistol courses and I believe him to be one of the best tactical shooters in the country.
Investigator: Really! Cool! Clearly you’re a great shot. You put 2 in this guys bean under stress from about 7 yards! Most cops couldn’t do that. Hell, I don’t think I could do it. Hey, have you taken any of Crux’s other classes?
You: Oh yeah, I’ve been taking his Kick Ass Fu for five years including the edged weapon defense courses. I’ll soon be a Black Belt!
Investigator: Most impressive! (Pause for dramatic color.) I was wondering why you didn’t use your Kick Ass Take the Knife Away Fu instead of shooting? I’m also wondering why you put two impressive shots in the guys bean when you could have run away screaming like a little girl with her hair on fire?
You: Uhhhhhhhhh! I believe I have the right to stand my ground!
Investigator: OK, whatever you say.
Now think about this. You may have just set let loose the hounds of hell straight from the bowels of Pandora’s Mythical Box. Worse, your lawyer may find it extremely difficult to put the hounds back in the box. The thing about the Hounds of Hell is that they are bigger than the box they came out of. This is one of life’s great mysteries. You’ve provided the gasoline before the fire was even lit. Your first question may be that the investigators are going to find this out on their own. Yes, they probably are but during the timely process of investigation and AFTER you’ve been coordinating your defense with a lawyer. If you provide all this information before the fire there will almost certainly BE a fire. If it is learned during the natural course of investigation it may not.
As I mentioned in the first article, most law enforcement officers are not looking to jail a citizen shooter. This included myself. If it appears to have been a self defense incident then we were OK with the bad guy getting shot. No guarantees of course but you get the point. However, if you put damaged fruit in the basket while it is empty the investigator is now going to have to deal with it because it is, after all, the only thing in the basket other than the bullets fired. As long as the bullets are the only thing in the basket, leave it that way.
The Bottom Line: Do Not Break Into Jail.
You: But like I said, they’re going to find out I trained with Crux and have studied Kick Ass Fu! How’s it going to be different?
Because you’ve trained in pistol combat techniques and martial arts does not mean you were not scared into a maximum, bowel emptying, defecation episode. Even if only in the figurative sense. (By the way, don’t be surprised or ashamed if you actually do so. In point of fact, a good pants loading could work for you, provided it’s naturally occurring.) If you’re running on about it you risk the possibility that you won’t be able to use fear as a defense. Someone might infer that you were out looking for trouble and simply won a gun fight. Do not go there! Remember, you should be asking to be taken to the hospital and not on the scene engaging in idle chit chat with the investigators, the press, or standers by.
You: The press? What do you mean the press?
It’s a shooting of a person involving a gun toting citizen! Damn right the press. If they approach you say nothing. If you get pressed by the press, say nothing except to ask a nearby policeman to get you to the ambulance. You are, after all, not feeling well and need a full check over. Your attorney can coordinate press releases later.
You: A grand jury? Why? That seems unnecessary. I’m going to touch on grand juries in part 3 of this series. For now understand that in some states it might be required by law when a person has been shot and killed. Grand juries are conducted as a type of investigation by the prosecutor of the jurisdiction in question. So for now don’t worry about it. It is another post-shooting possibility and one best worried about by your lawyer.
One final note. In no way do I want to leave you the impression that I don’t recommend taking pistol combative training and other martial arts. Not at all! You SHOULD take these courses, practicing, and getting good. All I saying is shut the hell up about it. Becoming proficient is how you increase the odds of surviving an armed encounter. So, stay alive and stay out of jail. You can do both.