• Today's Daily Devotion
Shoot OR Don’t Shoot?
THE CALL had all the earmarks of trouble: It was night, at an apartment complex in a bad part of town, and a man was shooting a gun “at anything that moves!” ...

SHOOT OR DON’T SHOOT?

Sergeant Cameron J. Grysen

Houston, TX, Police Department

THE CALL had all the earmarks of trouble: It was night, at an apartment complex in a bad part of town, and a man was shooting a gun “at anything that moves!” Suddenly our “routine patrol” wasn’t routine anymore! One more thing: No one was available to back us up!

My partner and I raced to the complex, then drove slowly around the parking lot. We didn’t see or hear anything, so we exited the car and started walking around the buildings. We’d just gone past a corner when we heard two loud bangs from a gun. Out of the corner of our eyes we located the source: a second-story balcony about fifty yards away. We dove for cover behind a wall and began moving cautiously toward the suspect, covering each other as we moved. As we got close, we could see it was a man who appeared highly intoxicated. He was holding a pistol, pointing it straight in front of him and staring off into space.

We gave him voice commands to put down the gun in both English and Spanish, which he didn’t acknowledge. Finally, after a long while he did lay the pistol on the railing in front of him. I moved out of my covered position, getting as close to the suspect as possible, while my partner ran up the stairs to get him. I needed to be in position to shoot in case he tried to shoot my partner. As it was, we were able to take the suspect down and arrest him with no shots fired.

Unknown to us, a lot of people who were holed up in their apartments for protection were watching through their windows. Relieved that the crisis had ended, they all came out after the arrest. One wit ness was a young man attending the High School for Law Enforcement. This is a magnet school in Houston for students interested in careers in law enforcement. He thanked us for ending the terror safely, and said he’d just seen a film in class that day about “when and when not to shoot.”

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From the scenario depicted in the film, he said we should have shot the man. My thoughts on that were, I’m glad I didn’t see the film. I know God was watching over us, and it’s far better to save a life than to have blood shed!


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