Friday, April 18, 2008

Fresno Student Shot, Killed by Police Officer After Bat Attack

Full story here.

Here's what apparently happened:

A police officer shot and killed a 17-year-old high school student Wednesday after authorities said the teenager clubbed the officer with a baseball bat on the packed, urban campus.

The officer fired at the student shortly before noon, after the Roosevelt High School sophomore allegedly came from behind and struck the officer in the head with a crude wooden baseball bat, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said.

The officer fell down dazed, and reached for the gun in his hip holster, but the clip fell out.

As the student came at him a second time, the officer grabbed a secondary weapon — a semiautomatic handgun he carried as backup — from his ankle holster and fired one or two rounds, Dyer said. The student reportedly died within a few minutes.

As soon as I read the details, I knew there would be something like this:

Silvia Carrillo, whose daughter is a sophomore at Roosevelt High, said the shooting did not seem justified.

"My son and my brother went to school here too, and nothing like this ever happened. I think this wasn't enough for him to kill the kid," she said.

Let's get this straight: A baseball bat IS a deadly weapon. It can be used to kill you. He attacked a police officer with a deadly weapon. The officer was justified in responding with deadly force when his assailant moved to continue the attack.

The officer was injured, on the ground, with an assailant moving towards him with a deadly weapon. Any chance the officer might have had to hold the assailant off at gunpoint was lost when his primary weapon failed. By the time he was able to draw his backup weapon, the attacker was probably right on top of him, too close for a warning. Based on the facts available from the story, this sounds like a fully justified shooting.

Frankly, I'm surprised he had time to get the backup gun out without getting hit again. By necessity, an attacker with a baseball bat is only about 4 feet away when he hits his victim, maybe closer. Just at a guess, the attacker may have hesitated when the officer drew his primary weapon, and hesitated again from sheer surprise when the magazine fell out. This officer is very lucky he's still alive.


Anonymous said...

It amazes me when I see people say things like, "Well geez, couldn't the officer have just shot him in the leg?" or "Why didn't he just use mace on the kid?". These are ignorant responses from people that have never been forced into a life or death situation. I can bet the oh sh*t factor hit the roof immediately after his magazine fell from his weapon. Having a round in the chamber would have given him some refuge but I bet he was sure glad he strapped on a BUG before he came into work.

Riposte3 said...


"These are ignorant responses from people that have never been forced into a life or death situation."

You're partly right. These are people who have never even thought about a life or death situation. They've never considered essential questions like "How fast can a guy with a baseball bat get close enough to hit me from ten feet away," or "How much damage can a baseball bat do," so they think deadly force is only justified against someone with a gun, or maybe someone with a knife if he's right on top of you. All it takes is a little thought to realize how wrong that is.

"Having a round in the chamber would have given him some refuge[...]"

I bet his weapon had a magazine disconnect. They're required in California (though maybe not for law enforcement). When the magazine fell out, it would have rendered the weapon completely useless.