Those who’ve heard me present on our church murders know I present things we did not do well. We had a team that responded to and stopped the killing, but it would be misleading to present our story with no flaws.
We learn from mistakes.
When an incident like Winona happens, there are lessons learned. It’s not demeaning to those who failed at some stages to recognize those failures.
There were few if any defensive actions where the civilian, contracted, law-enforcement or military protectors did everything perfect. It is wrong however, to say, “We would have never …” We weren’t there.
That said, there are lessons learned. For those unfamiliar with the incident, one of the best news stories can be found here.
While the final story will have more details and corrections, that article sums it up well, including a video link to the Sheriff’s press conference. One thing the article does not say (reported in other sites) is that the pastor was killed escorting the subject out of the church.
Think About it
Always do a perimeter search (whether there is a known issue in the area or not) first thing. A broken window at a facility in the vicinity of a known escapee is cause to back away and call 911. Let officers come and do what they are trained to do.
If you missed the perimeter compromise and find yourself with a bad guy inside, producing your firearm could be an escalation of the issue. I say “could be” because I wasn’t there and don’t know what triggered the weapons draw. The subject was holding a bag and the pastor would have had no way of knowing what was in the bag.
But when a defender draws a weapon, it is now a deadly force situation. If you have a bad guy that requires you to hold them at gunpoint, maintain full command of the scene and prepare to turn them over.
Don’t move them, don’t take your eyes off them.
Be willing to use your drawn firearm and exhibit that confidence to the bad guy. Call 911 (or have someone else do so) and communicate very well (“good guy with a gun holding a bad guy at bay”).
There are many more things to pull from this incident, these are only a few. What more would your team do or not do?