Stay in the Fight Until It’s Over…

January 12th, 2009  

If you have not seen the video tape of a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Cop who, while a man was lying face down being handcuffed, shot him in the back, then here it is:

Click here if the video does not load for you. This will open the video on your own computer.

Clearly, the incident was a tragic mistake by an officer with just two years on the job. This officer, like anyone else under stress, is only half as good in the field as he is on his best training day. This is all the more reason why private citizens and officers alike can never get enough training.

There is quite a bit of speculation as to what happened.  I do not believe the officer intentionally shot a prone man in the back. The look of surprise on the officer’s face when the weapon discharged is evidence that the shot was unintentional.

However, there did not appear to be a reason to present a handgun (or shoot) at that time. If there was a reason to present the gun, the officer  should not have had his finger on the trigger unless he intended to shoot.

Again, this a classic example of the adverse effects of stress in any physical confrontation.  The more lethal the confrontation, the more stressful, and the more likely you will be half as good (and half as smart) as you are on your best training day.

Tragically for the suspect, a non-lethal encounter became lethal. Unfortunately for the officer, a career in law enforcement is over and he will forever carry this incident with him.

MORE TRAINING would have prevented this incident from happening.

So why did I title this week’s blog, “Stay in the Fight Until It’s Over…”?

Because there were several other videos circulating the internet, suggesting reasons why it may initially appear wrong to bystanders when a suspect is shot in the back when in fact, it is a justifiable shoot.  Here is one of them.  After you watch it a couple of times see if you can pick out the glaring tactical error on the part of the officers involved in this shooting…

Click here if the video does not load for you. This will open the video on your own computer.

Yes, this is a justifiable shooting.  See the handgun in the suspect’s hand?

Did you identify the glaring tactical error on the part of the officers involved in the shooting?

They failed to stay in the fight, mentally and physically.

Notice how after the suspect goes down, they get tunnel vision on the suspect, let their weapons hang one handed and casually walk up to him WHILE HE STILL HAS A GUN IN HIS HAND!

One of the officers even holsters his weapon as he walks up and stands over the suspect, while the suspect is still holding a gun.

Just because your opponent goes down, don’t make the potentially fatal mistake that he is out of the fight… especially if a weapon is still in his hand.  He can initially be stunned yet still have enough fight left in him to press the trigger again as you approach. If wearing a ballistic vest or high on drugs, your opponent may be fully capable of taking you out after he goes down.

He may even be playing ‘possum’ to lure you in and get you to relax your guard, only to have him shoot you at close range in a fraction of a second!

You must approach your opponent with your weapon at the ready and the mindset that you will shoot again if he makes any move to use the weapon in his hand or within his reach.  You do not let your guard down until your opponent is separated from his ability (the weapon) to hurt you.


At Front Sight we teach “After Action Drills” which train you to stay in the fight until you are sure the fight is over and then we break your natural tendency to fix on your downed opponent by training you to move and scan your immediate environment for any additional threats.

The officers in this video have never been to Front Sight or you would have seen one officer remain with his gun at the ready, while the other officer approached (also with his gun at the ready) to remove the guns from within the suspect’s grasp.

Then each of the officers would have alternated in conducting a quick check and 360 degree scan of their immediate environments to make sure there were no other threats before holstering their guns.

Front Sight training is the highest standard in the industry.

Whether you are in the military, law enforcement, or make up the backbone of America’s strength and defense – an armed citizen – you will do well to attend a course with us.

So if you don’t have a 30 State Concealed Weapon Permit, the world class training Front Sight provides or a Springfield Armory XD Pistol, then take advantage of Front Sight’s Greatest Course, Gun and CCW Permit Offer Ever.

Go to

I will be posting a different article on this blog each Monday so I look forward to your visit every week.

If you have an interesting photo, story or tip about a relevant topic of interest to gun ownership, firearms training or Second Amendment issues, please feel free to send it to me at:

Again, if you want to take advantage of the Greatest Course, Gun, and CCW Permit Offer in the firearms training industry see this link:

See you next week.

Dr. Ignatius Piazza
Founder and Director
Front Sight Firearms Training Institute

Entry Filed under: Dr. Ignatius Piazza,Monday Blog Posts.

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