1. Wow- what a tragedy. With all due respect to the deceased, he clearly made several grave mistakes (literally). His BAC was very high, and although people differ in tolerance- that amount of alcohol ingestion seems more than enough to impair situational awareness, planning, judgment, motor coordination, expressive & receptive language, and short-term memory for most people. It will certainly result in some degree of impairment relative to one’s baseline across one or more critical cognitive and motor abilities. I’m sure that most would want their faculties to be fully intact in a high stress situation such as this.

    And why on earth would he show his firearm to strangers at a hotel? Can one be absolutely certain that strangers you meet in a hotel are 100% trustworthy and are not criminals waiting to strike- and disarm you? And to be close enough to a window, where the public can see you? That situational awareness and judgment thing…

    Even in my own home- living in a place in Western NY- one of the few places in the state where guns are actually welcome (it’s nearly Shall Issue in the sub-rural locale)- the curtains stay closed when the gun safe is open. There is a very small risk that someone could see in a side window (neighbor, meter reader) and set the occasion for trouble.

    Not to pile on the man who lost his life- in a sense nobody “deserves’ what was to be his fate. But, it seems that the events that led to his death were preventable. One wonders how much training in critical matters related to firearms use and ownership he had.

    This was a great case study for teaching and learning.

    • Yes, no blame whatsoever to the police gang, but the unarmed victim should have conducted himself such that the police gang did not have to murder him.

      • Well thought out, mature and adult analysis. I’m sure everyone has been impressed with you level of intelligence and intellect. I know I’ve been.Thank you for the enlightening words.

        It must be nice to live in a world were judgement is not tempered with concepts of “reasonable and prudent” and consideration of the actions of all parties involved, without preconceived biases, hate, or bigotry being key to your conclusions.

  2. My version of preparatory positive internal advertising is using black on white mailbox lettering decals obtainable at any hardware store to spell out five firearms safety reminders and rules on the outer side of my Fort Knox gun safe’s door.

    The inner side of the gun safe’s door features the very same five firearms safety reminders. Doubling down on the display of safety-focused information near my well secured firearms, ammunition and accessories is a prudent precaution. Of course, the gun safe is located out of sight insight a locked closet.

    In addition, I believe firmly that it is only fair and right for us as open minded gun owners to respect the misguided views of so called “progressive” politicians who do not understand why we value our Second Amendment rights.

    Therefore, the outer side of my Fort Knox gun safe’s door also sports four hi-vis bumper stickers of two U.S. Representatives and two U.S. Senators who vilify us at every opportunity. WWJD?

  3. Mas,
    Absolutely correct. I preach the same in all of my classes. Not only is it screaming motive and intent to the not so benevolent prosecutor/DA, it screams “there’s a gun in here to steal” to the robber.

  4. I remember John Farnam saying in a video that he tries to be “The Gray Man” when out and about. This certainly applies to your gear as well. I try to impart this mindset to my permit students. I have to add that I’m not upset at all the the Officer was fired. I think he needs to investigate a new line of work.

  5. I have a good friend who thinks that having NRA stickers on his doors and windows are a deterrent to burglars and thieves. I have tried to tell him that such stickers are more likely to advertise to that intended audience that there are goods in the house worth stealing. Just like some of the stickers shown on automobiles in the referenced article – they tend to be “break into me first!” notices.

  6. After taking my first MAG 40 class with Mas, upon returning home from the intensive four day training, I removed all my “association” decals–the usual, NRA instructor, NRA member, etc. Nothing suggesting “come take them…” was ever on my vehicle. That said, my favorite 1911 carry gun was engraved with Romans:1911 years ago as I found it fitting. Now, THAT gun is never carried and only used for IDPA matches or MAG classes.

    Stay safe!

    • correction, Revelation: 1911, Revelation 19:11 King James Version (KJV)

      “:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.”

      I wouldn’t want a jury to view and handle the gun that I may have used in a force on force situation that seems to embolden someone, IE., “White horse-faithful and true and righteous…” may make it seem I am thinking I am GOD. No way, my intention.

      BUT rather this should have been engraved instead, my “bad”, ”
      Romans 12:18 King James Version (KJV)

      :18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

      Thats me in a nutshell!

      Stay safe.

  7. Bumper stickers, signs, and window decals all give you a profile. Especially when certain types go looking for someplace to “acquire” firearms. When you’re not home. No profile is the best profile.

  8. Couldn’t agree more about displaying “cute signs” intended to convey veiled willingness to take violent action. My daughter gifted me with one of those metal signs depicting a scope cross hairs in the center with the words “If You Can Read This You Are In Range”. Most have seen these signs displayed by driveways, in front of homes, are in the windows of local gun dealers. I attached it to the 25 yd. 4″x4″ post in my range behind the house. Now it conveys a safety message. If you can read it, you are in fact, within my range and all safety rules are strictly enforced.

  9. Good grief. This is mind blowingly unacceptable. As citizens we can not continue to tolerate the way the police operate, and excuse it when they kill innocents.

    I sincerely hope there is a successful civil suit. The guy yelling commands is complicit as well.

  10. I agree with the advice about the humorous signs. It’s too bad though because I love them. The “Coexist” sign with the alternative font is brilliant. Just like today’s swimming pools don’t have diving boards anymore, life is not as fun as it used to be.

    The man who was shot should have been told to lie spread-eagle and not move. If the officer was afraid to have his officers advance in case there were unseen assailants, then he is not brave enough to be a police officer. Imagine issuing those complicated commands to a person for whom English is not his first language.

    Police used to yell “Freeze” at suspects. Some foreigners didn’t understand the word, so the police stopped using that word. How’s a foreigner going to understand Simon Says gobblely-gook? Not only was that man drunk, I’m sure he was nervous as well, looking at gun muzzles.

  11. The Mesa incident bothered me when I first heard about it. Mas’s article in AH mag matches what I had read elsewhere.

    To my mind, the sergeant’s instructions were unnecessarily complex and awkward for either suspect to carry out especially if alcohol made him/her clumsy. The second suspect only needed to cross the hall and lean against the opposite wall in the classic search position. Instructions for movement should have been, “Move very slowly. Keep your hands open, fingers spread wide, and in plain sight well away from your body. If you can’t comply with an instruction, stop moving entirely. We will find out why and devise a workaround.”

  12. As a week-away-from-70 year old woman I don’t have any decals on car or house, don’t wear gun related hats or shirts. One exception is the hunter orange NRA hat I wear hiking during hunting seasons. I truly want my element of surprise! But I had never considered the 5″ X 5″ “if you can read this you are in range” sign. Ah, well.

  13. I decided to comment on this case and inadvertently left my comments on the American Handgunner sight. It is interesting that the tone of the comments on that sight and this site are very different. Mas, I feel your readers on Backwoods Home are perhaps older, more thoughtful, and have more life experience to draw from. Below I have cut and pasted my comments again on this site.


    Before I read this story, I was well aware that I am particularly vulnerable to law enforcement if they treated me as a dangerous suspect. I am 68 and have arthritis in my knees and simply cannot get down on my knees. The arthritis limits my mobility and my knees’ range of motion. To be on my knees results in excruciating pain. I cannot lay down on the ground from a standing position unless I literally fall. If I fall down, then I have an almost impossible time getting up. However, no signs of my disability are apparent as long as I am on my feet. On my feet I am mobile and would appear to be able to comply. In a situation where law enforcement confronted me as a dangerous suspect, I believe I would be f***ed also. I couldn’t move fast enough in trying to comply so I would just be judged as non-compliant and shot accordingly. At least, I would know it was coming.

    I see a large problem in law enforcement these days is the attitude that the officer should always go home safely at the end of his/her shift regardless of the circumstances. Being a police officer is dangerous. When you sign up for the job, you know this and are getting paid for going in harm’s way. If you feel that you are not being compensated for this danger, then get out of law enforcement. We need a corresponding attitude in law enforcement that the innocent civilian has the same right to go home safely after a confrontation. That attitude sadly does not exist in many departments. If I (as a civilian) was holding an unarmed suspect at gun point after he broke into my house, and I shot him for non compliance I would be facing a much harder time with the justice system than this officer.

    As Mas said, this is a tragedy. I don’t see this as a criminal act by the officer, but one of negligence (perhaps). Everyone in the confrontation was way too amped up and I feel the words of the sergeant was communicating approval to any officer that opened fire. I would guess that the proper way for justice to be served here is that the police department and municipality should have to deal with the damages of a significant law suit judgment. I can understand those who say “But, the officer didn’t do anything wrong!”. Yeah, but the civilian was innocent as well. LEO’s receive training for confrontations. Civilians don’t. Who are you going to give the benefit of the doubt to? I don’t know.

    BTW, I do not place any stickers on my vehicle identifying me as a gun owner (not even an NRA sticker). If the cops come to my house late at night and see an NRA sticker on my truck’s bumper in the driveway, they will automatically know I have guns and go up a notch in tension preparing to knock on my front door (or kick it in). As, Mas also said, don’t be guilty of advertising your lethality. I didn’t get to be this old by being cute or stupid.

    Thanks for presenting this case, Mas, – it gives folks something to think about and is a form of civilian “training” for their next LEO confrontation.

  14. With regards to the un-armed police shooting, I ran across this video some time ago and I have to disagree. I ran across the video totally cold and did not know what the outcome was when I 1st started watching the video. Within the 1st 10 seconds of watching the video I had to stop it as I realized that the officer was making so many mistakes that his shooting was almost inevitable. Every few seconds of the video I could stop it and count more mistakes. If this was an example of him following his training, his training was extremely poor. The number of mistakes made was just astounding. The most amazing thing about the video to me was that they didn’t end up shooting both of them.

  15. If that cop was in the military he would be in Leavenworth for the rest of his life. Never confuse Moral, Right, and Just, with LEGAL. Where they intersect is mostly an accident. There is reason the Bard wrote “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”. Hopefully this scumbag gets his comeuppance in civil court and his life is ruined.

  16. In my state it is a felony to be IN a bar/tavern whether drinking or watching, when armed. SO… all they who normally carry everywhere must leave their hardware secured within their vehicles. I’ve seen the cars/trucks in the car park at the local watering holes.. a rather huge percentage of them bear such things as the S%W logo, the GLock amesyle, the Browning buck, perhaps a Crimson Trace helping bad guys make informed decisions quickly tag line…. NRA and GOA logos, etc.

    Guess what? IN this state there is a statistically high rate of firearms being stolen out of cars parked at drinking establishments. The saddest aspect of this phenomenon is the increase of the number of weapons this made available to those of evil intent.
    The neighbouring state allows for carry inliquor establishments, but one may not drink whilst armed. To my understanding, they do not experience the high transfer rate of handguns into the criminal population

  17. It is a sad commentary that, in many cases, previous criminal acts (committed by career criminals) are not allowed to be presented to juries because they would be “too prejudicial and are immaterial” to any current charges for which he or she is under indictment.

    However, a citizen who is making an affirmative claim of self-defense is not afforded the same protections. Instead, his email is scoured and any amusing signs that he has posted are freely seized upon and twisted in the most “prejudicial” way possible so as to cast him as a depraved murderer. His emails, letters or signs are never declared to be “immaterial” irrespective of how unrelated they are to the case actually under consideration.

    No doubt, this is because they have not risen to the level of being actual crimes yet. Only then would they be protected.

    Such are the twisted values of our justice system which is designed to afford maximum protection to the guilty while encouraging the innocent to be slaughtered.

    As for the Mesa incident, I have already posted my comments in a previous blog. See Mas’ blog concerning his 70th birthday.

    In summary, I feel that the officer who actually pulled the trigger was “scapegoated” in this incident. The immaterial writing on his firearm was simply one more element used to, wrongly, incriminate him. Fortunately, he was found “not guilty” by the jury despite the efforts to “stack the deck” against him.

    Meanwhile, the person actually responsible for the “wrongful death” in this case, the Sargent who was acting as the officer-in-charge at the scene, completely escaped criticism and did not even have his wrist slapped.

    Yet another example of the type of “injustice” handed out by our “Justice System”.

  18. Yosemite Sam “Back Off” mud flaps and spare tire covers should be grandfathered. Any DA who finds criminality in a cartoon like Yosemite Sam needs to go to a reeducation camp in North Korea for ten years, IMHO.

  19. and here we go again. More people buying into the Ferguson effect, the main stream media narrative that the cops are always wrong, that if we did not have cops we would not have racists, there would be no murders and everything would be sweat and peaceful. Even law enforcement has bought into this and is perpetuating the false narrative about “going home safely at the end of the shift”.

    I’ve got some news for you folks. Yes, that is a statement of attitude and mindset.

    From my agencies SOP manual.


    There has been a lot of discussion and misunderstanding of this and similar statements from all over, from inside law enforcement and outside, including social media and national press. Either people never learned what this means, or deliberately misconstrue it. So, I will explain.

    This is a statement of attitude and mindset.

    I Will Do My Job. Whatever it takes.
    I Will Get My Job Done and Do It Right.
    No Thing and No One is going to prevent me from doing my job and going home at the end of my shift. I will overcome every obstacle, roadblock, fight or obstruction, whatever they may be.
    I Will do my job and I Will go home at the end of my shift.

    • I have heard the “whatever it takes to get home”, and have wondered about that.

      The reason police should be respected is when they accept some risk by balancing their safety with the rights and safety of the public. To refuse any risk at all will inevitably mean trampling the public. If law enforcement adopts a “kick-ass” mentality of blowing away anyone who could be a threat, or becoming a feudal king lording it over the serfs, well, the public will see the police as a bigger problem than the criminals.

      Personally, I am more concerned about a trigger happy SWAT team raiding my house, after reading the address wrong, and killing half my family, than I am concerned about a criminal home invasion.

      In this case, the officer pulling the trigger right then is perhaps defensible. But the conduct of the police up to that point is not. Why not just call up the room and talk to them? If they have a cell phone, ask to face time and be given a tour of the room? Why not ask them to strip down to their underwear before exiting? Why not put the officers behind bullet proof shields so they would not have to shoot at the slightest movement? How about giving instructions that even an inebriated / low blood sugar diabetic / autistic / disabled civilian could understand and perform?

      If a policeman thinks the only way to have a good chance of getting home is to trample the rights and lives of others at any hint of risk, maybe they should just stay home in the first place.

  20. I don’t have any of those stickers, etc., and I won’t likely ever. They’re cute for about thirty seconds, but I don’t see the point in advertising.

    Now as to the way they’ll affect a case or a shoot investigation, I’ve been hearing warnings about that for 30+ years, but I don’t know that I’ve ever heard of a specific case that they’ve affected. I was a fairly regular reader of your CH columns, and don’t specifically recall anything there, but it’s entirely possible that I missed something. Does anyone have specific case citations where this kind of stuff affected the outcome, either criminal or civil?

  21. A few observations.

    Why is alcohol/drug intoxication considered damning evidence in accidents, altercations, and many other examples of bad behavior by an individual, but a mitigating factor for the suspect when he is confronted by police? A person being investigated who had been seen aiming, not examining, a scoped rifle out the window of a hotel room by people in a public place outside that room. A person who, for whatever reason, was slow or reluctant to obey orders his companions were following. A person who, indisputably, rapidly reached back, so rapidly if your not paying close attention, you would miss it in the video, after being told not to move his hands.

    Why is a police officer supposed to not be subject to the reality of reaction time by some folks? If so, realities proven by the Tueller rule would only apply to untrained civilians. Even a major league batter, who has faster reflexes than most, must begin his swing BEFORE the baseball leaves the pitcher’s hand.

    Why is an officer’s determination not to be killed or injured by subjects he encounters somehow wrong?

    At what point would any of the critics hesitate in their defense of themselves or their family because they haven’t eliminated all the possible excuses for the threat’s actions?

  22. I have several green, oval shaped “Greenpeace” decals sent to me and have considered putting one on my car, since that terrorist organization is well known as being anti-gun. This would mislead viewers into believing I hate firearms and do not have any in my car. The bad thing is that criminals will see this sticker and target me as an unarmed victim. They will of course be rudely surprised, but I don’t want this attention so my vehicle remains devoid of any decals or stickers, except for a small magnetic American flag, which may aggravate radical Moslems and some liberals. Just can’t please everyone.

  23. On the signs/stickers thing…..even if you view it as humor or satire, an ambitious/up for re-election prosecutor and/or jury might not. Be careful what you might have around on your desk/den.

    Long time ago I saw a coffee mug. It featured a uniformed tres cool (for the day) uniformed officer. Moussed hair, Oakley shades, sleeves rolled up just so and black, tactical gloves. One glove was holding the leash of an obviously eagerly aggressive Doberman. The caption was: Billy Bulletproof and his dog Headshot.

    Did I buy one? Hell no! The reasons not to are obvious.

  24. Dan Shaver should be alive. The officer who pulled the trigger should have more common sense training as well as tactical training. The supervisor should either be demoted and or booted or retrained. It’s a mess!

    The facts presented by Ayoob are concrete (facts be damned!), yet what was REALLY happening on the ground, offers another glimpse into the “FACTS”.

    To be brief, I shoot IDPA, and have shot hundreds of matches with “scenario stages”. If I were met with a stage like this: ankles crossed, looking only at the carpet, both hands on the floor, advancing to the best of my ability as per the commands being SHOUTED at me, then was required to pull my pistol out of my running shorts waste band and be on target in the flash of a millisecond? NEVER!

    It is well established that it takes the AVERAGE citizen to recognized the threat and then pull from the strong side hip holster in about 1.5 to 2.0 seconds. This is different, the officer is in clear shooting distance and has an obvious sight picture on the target. In essence, there should be NO delay in defensive tactics, if necessary. All this meaning, had the officer delayed deadly force just one second longer, we wouldn’t be having this most controversial conversation. Nonetheless, Daniel Shaver should be alive.

    Stay safe.

  25. Once observed an quick draw exhibition put on by a Lieutenant with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. Lt. McCombs was his name as I recall. He said that FBI Agent Jelly Bryce was his inspiration.

    One of his favorite “tricks” was to have volunteers from the crowd, in this case all police officers, to stand facing him about 18 inches away with both hands about stomach high, palms facing, about 6 inches apart. He was carrying a S&w mod.10 with .38 spec cases with primer only (no powder, no projectile).
    He instructed the volunteer to watch his strong hand, which he also held about mid-stomach high, and to slap their hands together when he went for his gun. Time after time, without fail, before the volunteer could bring their palms together, the Lt. had drawn his revolver between their palms and put a primer stain on the volunteers shirt. Their hands came together on an already fired gun. He repeated this with a total of 4 police officers.

    He then told the story of when Jelly Bryce told a bad guy that had got the drop on him “If you blink your eyes, you will die in total darkness.” The bad guy blinked and Jelly in fact used that instant in time to draw his weapon and take him out. He then faced the final volunteer again, with the same instructions. This time, to everyone’s surprise, the volunteer’s palms came together on a S&W Chief’s Special that had already put another primer burn on his tee-shirt. The little revolver had been resting in the small of his back, tucked into his belt.

    Lt. Mc Comb made the point that whoever makes the first move in a gun fight is going to get off the first shot. The bad guy blinking with Jelly Bryce allowed Jelly to make his move first (the bad guy already had his gun trained on Jelly). The volunteer waiting his hand movement going for his gun, before their own reaction, caused them to lose the game.

    But then, I don’t believe Lt. McCombs or Jelly Bryce ever shot a IDPA match to learn the realities of a gun fighting. I believe both would have said that if Dan Shavers in fact, had a gun in that waistband, he very well could have got off a shot. I’ve never shot an IDPA match either, but I shoot thousands upon thousands of pistol and revolver rounds every year on my own range. I’ve never worried about my targets shooting back. Dan Shavers made a stupid move that alarmed someone to call the police, he made a stupid move while being confronted. His death was tragic for sure, but if he had done nothing more than laid perfectly still with arms outstretched, if in fact he didn’t understand instructions, he would not have been shot.

    • That sounds like one of the shooting Trick’s that the USBP’s PI Trick Shooter, Bill Jordan, used to do as well.

      One caution Though, There was Once a Kit You could Buy, that allowed you to Load .38 Plastic Shell Casings, with a Pistol a Primer (UP to a Magnum One), than load a Plastic, Double Flat headed “Bullet,” into the Plastic Shell Case, and be able to “Shoot” the Plastic “Bullet” out of a .38 Spl./.357 Revolver!

      While it might not Kill a Person, unless it hit him squarely in the Eye, I can Tell You it was Accurate, at Room Distance, and was Definitely Fatal to any Mouse, or Rat, type Animal, if hit squarely in the head, or Body!


      • Paul,

        Lt. McCombs, when doing trick shots, like shooting styrofoam cups placed on the back of his shooting hand and shooting it three times before it hit the ground after his draw, used paraffin (wax) bullets driven by magnum primers only. He made them by melting the wax in a pan to about 3/8″ deep, allowing it to harden, then taking a primed.38 spec case and pressing it into the wax like a cookie cutter.

    • @ Dennis – In your last paragraph (above) you do a good job of listing the “stupid moves” that Dan Shavers made that contributed to his getting shot. I don’t dispute them at all. You are absolutely correct in what you say.

      However, to be objective, one needs to also consider the other side of the Ledger. The police leaped to the conclusion that they were dealing with an active shooter based upon a single, unverified complaint. Based upon this erroneous assessment, they skipped the investigative phase of a normal police response and went right to a “SWAT assault” phase. They totally neglected the possibility that Mr. Shavers might be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. As a result, they did not issue clear, simple instructions to follow. Rather, they shouted a confusing set of complex instructions that would be difficult for a sober person to follow (in a high stress situation) much less an inebriated individual.

      Finally, their “SWAT assault” mindset had the officers, at the scene, keyed up with their fingers on the trigger and ready to shoot at the first sign of non-compliance.

      I submit that the above factors also contributed to Mr. Shavers’ “Wrongful Death”. There is plenty of blame to go around in this case and the police ought to receive their fair share of it.

      • TN_MAN,

        I enjoy your posts. They are always well thought out and you apply logic. I have never said I agree wholeheartedly with everything the Mesa police did. I had more of a problem with the Sergeant than anyone else. I agree his verbal commands should have been more concise.

        Having said that, you seem bothered that they “skipped the investigative phase of a NORMAL (my emphasis) police response and went right to a ‘SWAT assault’ phase”. Let’s discuss that aspect.

        What was the phone in complaint from a citizen? A man with a scoped rifle aiming out the window of a hotel room. At least that witness believed him a threat and didn’t know he was a drunk with a air rifle. Granted, there was no shots fired before police arrive, but with the national conversation on “active shooters”, if you were in the police’s shoes, would you not be thinking “active shooters” begin their rampages aiming their rifle in public (note to all, if passer-by’s can see inside your room/home unobstructed, you’re privacy just became public).

        Now, do you handle that knowledge by treating it as a “normal investigation”? Would you canvass the neighborhood or other hotel guests before contact? Wait for the potential active shooter to actually begin his slaughter? Knowing that you, the first ones on the scene will be held accountable for every second wasted without taking action? Seems like there has been more than one incident this year where officers have been excoriated for taking their time and being cautious.

        Dan Shaver COULD have been anyone of several things. He could be a stupid person with a gun, he could have been a lunatic with a gun, he could be a drunk with a gun, or he could be one of those pure evil people going for the record of innocents killed who nearly always kill themselves or force the police to do it for them. Which option do you think an officer should stake his life on? I don’t think you are one of those who believe an officer’s life is less precious than your own.

        I repeat, I in no way think this was a flawless encounter on the police’s part, but Mr. Shaver’s rapid reach to his waist band, whether he understood any of the commands or not, was the stimulus leading to his death. I believe, like Mas, it was within the parameters of a a justifiable homicide, that we would not even be discussing but for a zealous prosecutor giving credence to a possible mindset of the officer because of the engraving on the dust cover of his rifle.

        I suspect Mr. Shaver’s family will receive a settlement from the city of Mesa, but not from the officers. It will be an out of court settlement negotiated by the city’s insurance carrier.

      • The problem goes beyond stupid moves or overly complex instructions. The statements made by the officers in and of themselves were worsening the situation for both those under the gun and those behind the gun. Every time the officer yells I’m going to kill you, it not only exponentially increases the stress for those trying to surrender it increases the stress of the officer forcing him to shorten his OODA loop. Everything passed lay still with your hands out in front of you made it more complicated for the officer to judge what the movements were. The longer this goes on and the more of these movements that the officer is making them take, the more stressed the officer becomes and the shorter his OODA loop becomes. These supposed movements that resulted in the shooting are typical slip and capture errors for this type of high-stress situation. The reason he kept putting his hands behind his back is he knew that the end of this was, he would have his hands behind his back, and the police would have him in handcuffs. He knew this was the safest position for him to be. He kept thinking ahead to his surrender and his safety. You can see that they both made this error only he made it repeatedly because he had more opportunities to make errors. The complexity of having them crawl is just ludicrous. You now have multiple hands that you must keep track of and make judgments on continuously. The situation became so bad that the officers OODA loop was so short that even a twitch on either part resulted in 3 gunshots. The whole situation ignores physiology, psychology and to some extent physics.

  26. My thoughts?

    I think I understand the issues & generally agree with Mas.

    The one area I feel has not been considered is related to the commands issued (I am not a police officer … and hind sight so …):

    – Why was he not instructed to walk or move backwards keeping his eyes way from the officers? Vision is normally an issue to be controled.

    – As mentioned elsewhere, is there really training to have the perp crawl with legs crossed, etc? This seems off to me. Is there no better plan in that situation? Is that how the experienced officers here would have proceeded?

    I understand command voice. I also personally think the officer giving commands did a less than stellar job in this situation. jmho. I think he had more culpability that the shooting officer if there is any such … and I think there is in the way the perp was managed.

    Just the idea that an officer would think someone would or could or should fall on their face ignores just one aspect of the very reflexive nature of humans … that very concept is brought up all the time in our training. I am increasingly impressed with how things seem to apply to one side of the equaison but not the other.

    As pointed out in other comments, not everyone can comply with every command given.

    Tunnel perspective vs tunnel vision comes to mind. Is it impossible to address the issues of officer safety And citizen safety at the same time?

    Reflexes got a black guy shot at a gas station. He reflexively patted his back pocket for his wallet when surprised as he hopped out of his car to go in for coffee, then leaned in to get the wallet he realized was in the car. The officer shot him multiple times then realized his mistake. He obviously either missed the pat on his back pocket or thought it was a check or grab for a gun then a dive for a gun. I felt bad for both. Same here regarding deceased & shooter. Not so much for the officer issuing commands. I think he could and should have done better. Easy to say for the arm chair with hindsight.

    I was involved in a 3am altercation with a cop who really seemed to want to bust heads. I heard an altercation & came into a heated situation and defused it, calming the officer & the members of a wedding party. Sometimes it takes a cool head. I don’t recall that in the video in this case (but I did watch a while back). Maybe I she review it again before posting but it is late & the Mrs is sleeping.

  27. The Shaver homicide is just one more example of the “Priority One” principle: “go home at the end of the shift.” The priority should be “EVERYONE goes home.”

    As police officers, our role used to be, protect the public. Now the mindset seems to be, protect ourselves first.

    If you’re not willing to take a bullet to prevent a member of the public from getting shot (can you say Broward Cowards?) you have no business being a cop. If you’re not willing to take the risk of being shot, by not firing until you’re absolutely certain it is necessary, you have no business being a cop.

    Find another line of work so you, and everybody else, can feel safer.

  28. This particular incident isn’t unique is featuring badly conceived/phrased instructions to a suspect. Over decades I’ve heard instructions that were contradictory, impossible and/or dangerous. This is a serious training issue.

    If you find yourself the subject of impossible/dangerous instructions, a calm response explaining why and a suggestion of an alternative can do wonders.

    There appear to be a couple of folks here need to do some role playing with Simunitions to get a better handle on the realities of confrontation. An alternative is to visit the Force Science Institute website and do some reading. Putting yourself in the place of the other person does generally tend to alter perception. I’ll note that being the bad guy in force on force exercises teaches you much more about vulnerability.

    I also note a disturbing tone of elitism in a couple of responses. I’ve never noted “human sacrifice” as part of the duties of any job I’ve had. Simple industrial safety standards would make this unacceptable.

  29. I was with you (only magnetic stickers on my car have arrows pointing to the exhaust pipes and read “IT’S PLANT FOOD”) until you said Marc Singer as being the plaintiff lawyer.

    In this postmodernist age, a schizo DA or plaintiff attorney (See; Travon Martin”s family lawyer Crump) doesn’t need anything plausible in their fantasy world.

    I recall 40 some years ago when using hollow-points, were proof positive of evil intent Or using .357 Mag vs. .38Special . See, too, the AZ Coconino County prosecutor who virtually killed a defendant over using a 10mm. He had to be put in place by special legislation by the AZ Senate.

  30. Mas,
    Apart from inscriptions on firearms like the one on Brailsford’s dust cover, are you aware of any cases or incidents wherein signs or bumper stickers like those referenced in the Steve Davis article were actually a contributing factor in bringing charges or hampering the defense in an otherwise good self-defense shoot?

  31. @ Dennis – In response to your most recent post, let me explain my concerns over the “skipped investigative phase” more fully.

    The police received a report of a man with a rifle which is being pointed out of a hotel window. As you noted, this could have indicated any one of several circumstances not all of which are crimes. It could have been anything from (1) a mistaken report in which someone only thought that it was a rifle when it was actually something else, (2) someone carelessly handling a firearm due to the effects of intoxication or simply stupidity, or (3) worst case – the start of an active shooter/sniping criminal act. In my opinion, it was a serious mistake for the police to LEAP to the assumption that it was a worst case scenario. If they had anything else to support it such as having additional reports of shots fired, or hearing shots themselves or even observing or hearing threats from the suspect, then OK. However, to organize a SWAT assault based upon nothing more than a single citizen complaint is “jumping the gun” (please, forgive the pun).

    You ask what else could the police do? Easy answer. Don’t skip the investigative phase. Try to find out what is actually going on before leaping to full out RED ALERT.

    As I noted in my previous comment in Mas’ blog concerning his 70th Birthday, the police could have simply held the SWAT team in reserve (as backup) while two uniformed officers walked up to the hotel room, containing the suspects, and knocked on the door. If that approach is considered to be unsafe, how about covering the door while an officer uses the telephone to call the hotel room to talk to the suspects. The police knew the room so they could have easily obtained the telephone number from the hotel front desk.

    By simply establishing communication with the suspects, a good deal of information could have been obtained. I have no doubt that, upon being informed about the complaint lodged against him, Mr. Shavers would have quickly explained that it was only an air-rifle and that he did not mean any harm.

    By investigating and using communication, I think it likely that the whole situation could have been defused without anyone getting hurt. Instead, the investigative phase was skipped and the police went right to a full-out SWAT response. In my opinion, that was overkill and was not justified based upon a single complaint.

    By going directly to RED ALERT and skipping YELLOW, the police made a shooting that much more likely to happen. Add in Mr. Shavers intoxication, unclear and difficult-to-follow instructions by the police, and Mr. Shavers failure to understand or follow those instructions, and you have a wonderful formula for a “Wrongful Death”. That, of course, was the tragic outcome actually achieved in this case.

  32. Mas,

    I appreciate your article and your defense of the police viewpoint.

    I used to rise to the defense of the police in such circumstances. (I naturally fit the profile of one who would: politically conservative, gun carrier, law and order personality, etc.)

    But the Shaver case is one in a long string of cases that have diabused me of my “pro-police” views.

    Just imagine the power imbalance here. The police officers—a whole passel of them who were armed with long rifles and protected by body armor—shot and killed an innocent citizen who had committed no crime.

    And they got away with it.

    This case—and many others—cemented a deep-seated hatred of the unreasonable power that police officers have and hold today.

    I appreciate that you may be right on the technical law.

    But “the police” have absolutely lost my support.

    They seem much more like a gang of jack-booted thugs who kill with impunity than the idea of the lawful, officer of the peace that I used to support.

    I don’t know how those of you who “support the police” can solve this problem, but you might consider it.

    You might be winning in court but you’re losing the battle for public support.

    If I can flip from a strong “support the police” to as strongly “anti-police” as I’ve become, it’s not hard to see why others from the ideological and political spectrum are also flipping.

    Thanks again for your excellent writing.


    • While I Generally Support Any Fellow LEO, If the Evidence Support His Debriefing Story, and the Facts, and Circumstances, of the Incident, I also have a Built-In Reservation About Sniper’s, and “Swat-Team Members”, as are they Sent out the there to Quell a Situation, Where the “Perp” Will be be Killed, for the slightest Failure/Inability to Comply/Submit to the Team Members Orders, Even not understood, or unable to do so?

      Or in the case of a Sniper, who may be ordered, in advance, to Terminate the “Perp”, “NO-Matter-What”, which in both cases, Deprives the Un-convicted Person of their “Right to a Jury Trial, by Their Peers”, and/or an “Immediate Execution”, for a crime that’s Doesn’t Even Carry a Death Sentence, If Convicted!

      It also Boils Down to “Just How Trigger-Happy,” the Involved Officer(s) May be to: 1)Perform Up to Expectations, 2)Come Out of the Situation Alive, and/or 3)The Sniper is to “Follow Orders”, and “Legally Murder” The Civilian in Question, as Ordered?


  33. Folks, a few points.
    — Some are speaking of “come home at the end of your shift” as a bad thing. I think all of YOU want to come home in one piece at the end of YOUR shift. It simply means don’t take chances against people who appear to be extremely dangerous. That’s all.

    — In this day and age, it is naive to ask police to respond like “Officer Friendly” to people pointing guns out windows at other people.

    — The cop knew what some commenters here SHOULD know for their own safety and apparently don’t: that once the opponent’s hand is on the gun, he can bring it up and fire in an instant. As I said in one trial more than 30 years ago, “If you wait to see the gun, you’re going to see what comes out of it.” The jury agreed, and acquitted the defendant. Remember, the standard is “You don’t have to be RIGHT, you have to be REASONABLE” — true for the law-abiding armed citizen and the cop alike.

    — For the reader who asked about other cases where the gun’s decor was an issue: those cases are thin on the ground because most people aren’t stupid enough to put Rambo crap on their defensive firearms. I HAVE seen it in the past with controversial gun names, such as the Colt Cobra.

    • Mas,

      In conversations like this, where questionable actions by someone who may have been a decent human being, dies as result of a series of unexplainable stupid acts on his part, with no intent on his part to do bad things (a variable unknowable by anyone except themselves), it’s natural that some feel someone has to pay for “this senseless death”. Emotions often overrule logic, especially those sentiments that a police officer should be willing to take a bullet by waiting till he sees a gun drawn and pointing at him. The naivete of such talk astounds me.

      We are a people brought up on TV westerns and dramatic cop shows. The only “realistic” gun fight I recall from a “western” was the opening intro into every “Gunsmoke” episode. It was unrealistic because gunfights like that probably never happened, but realistic because when Marshall Dillon waits for his opponent to go for his gun (the code of the west, don’t you know), the only reason he survived was because the bad guy’s shot missed him and Dillon’s shot hit it’s target. The bad guy won the draw, got off the first shot, but missed his target.

      But, that’s TV reality. How does that relate to real life? Ever played the hand-slap game? I have, and I’ve never won by waiting for the opponent to make his move and reacting. No, You win that game by beginning your move by anticipating his move.

      But, I don’t expect this to move those who have made up their minds. I pray they never have to make those decisions themselves.

    • While no one expects police officers to be “Officer Friendly” to the point of committing suicide, neither should we expect them to turn into order-barking drill sergeants or AR-wielding SWAT storm-troopers at the drop of a hat either.

      Surely it is not naive to hope for a reasonable level of police response somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. Especially in cases where the police are responding to a single, unverified report and there is no independent verification that a “worst case scenario” is truly playing out.

      • TN_MAN, with all respect, a man with a gun call followed by failure to obey direct orders and warnings and reaching as if for a gun on the hip is not the “drop of a hat.”

      • Mas – I am afraid that the point that I am trying to make continues to be missed or else, just ignored. Most of the items that you mention such as the disregard and failure to follow direct orders and the reaching “as if” for a gun occurred AFTER the incident had already deteriorate into a high-stress confrontation. I don’t dispute that, by that point, it was too late to turn back. As you know from my earlier postings, I do not dispute the shooting itself. As I have always said, the actual shooting was justified under the circumstances. I feel that the officer who actually pulled the trigger was “scapegoated” for this incident. He did not deserve to be fired and to be put on trial for murder irrespective of whatever he had written on the dust-cover of his AR.

        No, the point I am making is that the sergeant-in-charge at the scene should have NEVER let the situation escalate to the point where a shooting became highly likely. In my opinion, this sergeant made two (2) critical errors. First, he over-reacted to the “Man with a Gun” call. Tell me, Mas, are you saying that the standard operating procedure for every “Man with a Gun” call is to send in a SWAT Team? Is it SOP even when no shots have been fired and the call is only based upon a single, unverified report?

        I certainly hope that a SWAT response has not become SOP. If it has, every legal gun-owner in the USA is living in perpetual danger of being mistakenly shot by the police simply on the basis of owning a firearm. Is this a new gun-control scheme? To discourage firearm ownership by encouraging the police to shoot legal gun owners? No doubt, the leftists and their media sycophants would heartily approve of such a SOP.

        The second error was to issue unnecessarily complex and difficult instructions to the suspect. I know that it is only after-the-fact that it was determined, for sure, that Mr. Shavers was intoxicated but still, police deal with drunks all the time and I would be surprised if they could not read, from Mr. Shavers words and body language, that he was under the influence of something. This makes using simple instructions even more necessary.

        Instead, the Sergeant’s harsh “Command Voice” and complex instructions only acted to escalate the situation rather than defuse it.

        As far as I know, the sergeant did not even get his wrists slapped over his handling of this call-out. Nor did you really discuss his actions in your write-up of the case. Yet, in my view, his actions were the main events that allowed the situation to deteriorate to the point where a citizen got shot and the officer who pulled the trigger ended up in court.

        As you note, you don’t have to be right you only have to be reasonable. This case does meet the “reasonableness” standard but it was not handled right by the police and, especially, by the sergeant on the scene.

      • TN, if you re-read the article, you’ll see I didn’t praise the sergeant’s command sequence, merely explained why he was correct in using command voice when he did. Also, it wasn’t a SWAT team, just five responding officers, some of whom brought patrol rifles since the complaint was of a man pointing a rifle out a window.

      • Mas – I think we have reached the point where we agree more than we disagree. As I have repeatedly noted, this shooting does pass the legal “Reasonableness” standard in my opinion.

        However, the outcome was flawed. A successful outcome would be for the incident to be resolved without anyone getting killed. The death of Mr. Shavers and the subsequent trial of the officer who pulled the trigger clearly indicates a flawed incident.

        I think the only remaining area of disagreement is over who is to blame for this flawed outcome. You appear to hold to the position that it is all the fault of the intoxicated Mr. Shavers. You give him 100% of the blame for his failure to follow instructions and for making that unfortunate “reaching” move.

        I, on the other hand, can only assign about 50% of the blame to the unfortunate Mr. Shavers. I reserve the other 50% to the police and, specifically, to the actions of the Sergeant who acted as Officer-in-Charge.

        As the assignment of blame is, always, a judgment call, we will have to “agree to disagree” about this particular point.

      • Fair enough, TN, I agree to “agree to disagree.” As you know, alternatie opinions are always welcome here. It’s what makes discussion.

    • There is no point discussing this any further if you are going to be making s%*t up as you go. The person making the initial call never said the gun was pointed at other people, as you imply.

      • The person making the initial call never said the gun was an air rifle.
        The person never said there was no other people that could have been a target. If I recall correctly, other articles about this incident said that the man later identified as Mr. Shaver, appeared to be aiming through the scope of a rifle out the window. Might be normal action with no call for alarm if you’re at home, standing at a back bedroom window in your privacy fenced back yard, and was reported by a trespasser. In a hotel window with pedestrians and vehicle traffic……. oh well, everybody has got their mind made up. No use discussing it anymore.

  34. OK, because this is such an excellent teaching/learning forum I’ve decided to open up another can of worms. The good news is I will not be pointing my finger at the command-yelling police officer. I’m wondering why the main stream media has not shown this video over and over again as an example of police brutality.

    Remember how in 1992 they showed the few seconds of the police beating Rodney King, but failed to show the earlier parts of that video? Rodney’s partner was taken into custody peacefully. Rodney resisted arrest, and he was a big, powerful guy. Why haven’t I seen this Shavers video on TV? I’ve only seen it on YouTube. Could it be because Shavers was a white male? If he had been a white female, a black male or female, or an immigrant with a strong accent would the MSM be playing this video over and over and over again? This video sure makes the cops look bad.

    When will the MSM like the cops? The police will be heroes when they carry out laws in accord with the Left’s agenda.

    • Maybe the media don’t want to air this video, because they don’t want to seen supporting a gun owner, Shavers.

  35. I’ll pass along an experimental finding that supports one of Mas’s last comments.

    Someone affiliated with the Force Science Institute decided to find out how fast a prone subject with concealed hands could present and fire a handgun. The average time was about 0.3 seconds. That’s about the same time as you need to perceive they’ve moved.

    The lesson there should be obvious.