LEOs On The Scene: No Running Allowed
In an instant, three families suffered live changing losses. On May 18, 2013, a Nassau County LEO responded to a report of a home invasion. He encountered a man holding a pistol and a hostage, 21 year old Andrea Rebello. Threatening to kill her, the hostage taker pointed his firearm at the LEO who fired. Unfortunately, in a tragedy beyond measure, one of the LEOs bullets struck the hostage, killing her. The event is making the news and you can count on more coverage in the days and weeks to come. Get ready for the second guessing. The pundits who will count the number of rounds fired by the LEO, the “experts” who will challenge the tactics used, and the people who have never answered a call of help from strangers who will criticize the actions of the LEO.
I mentioned that three families have been devastated by these events. The first is the family of the perpetrator. They received a call that their loved one was dead and was killed in the commission of a violent crime. The second is the family of Ms. Rebello. My heart goes out to them. They sent their daughter out into the world hoping she would pursue her dreams, but those dreams were cut short without reason. Finally, the family of the LEO will never be the same. For the LEO, his life changed in that instant. His reaction to the violent threat presented put him in an impossible position. He could not run or he would have been shot in the back, he could not hold his fire, or he would have been shot in the chest or face, and he could not wait outside in his car because he took an oath to intervene. But it is not just him who will be affected. His family has seen first hand the reality of his daily job. As the family helps this LEO move forward, they will all suffer tremendous heartache.
This event is the nightmare of any LEO: a deadly force encounter with no options. Those who take the oath to serve and protect accept these risks, but that does not make this any easier. Only one person was in control of the heartache currently being suffered by these families: the suspect. He chose the crime, and by all accounts he chose a life of crime. Once again we see the failure of the criminal justice system to keep violent criminals behind bars. Guns are not the problem. Violent people are and have always been the biggest threat to the public and LEOs.
I wrote “When Cops Kill: the aftermath of a critical incident” as a testament to the courage of LEOs like this one and am donating the profits to law enforcement charities to support LEOs. I pray that this LEO finds peace. Stay safe.