Stan Campbell, Co-Founder and COO of CCW Safe, talks about 10 things to remember if you are involved in a self defense shooting. Stan is a retired police lieutenant, and has trained over 4000 police officers and citizens as an instructor in self-defense, use of force and de-escalation techniques.
1. MAKE SURE YOU ARE SAFE: Make sure you are safe from any threat before doing anything. Verify that the suspect no longer poses a threat. Visually scan for other suspects and visually verify that the suspect no longer has access to a weapon. Do not approach the suspect or move evidence.
2. BE THE FIRST TO CALL 911: Be the first one to call 911. Even if you do not pull the trigger. If the incident was serious enough for you to deploy your firearm, make a report. Always remember police officers commonly identify the first person who calls as the victim.
3. INITIATE EMERGENCY RESPONSE: From a position of safety call 911. Request emergency medical services if needed for you the suspect or others. Describe what you are wearing and let the dispatcher know you will not have your weapon in your hand when the officers arrive. Tell the 911 Operator something similar to, “I HAD TO USE THE WEAPON IN SELF DEFENSE“ “ I was forced to defend myself”, “I was in fear for my life”, or “I was attacked”. Do not elaborate or give a detailed account of the incident. This is not the time.
4. PREPARE FOR RESPONDING OFFICERS: As you hear or see police cars or officers getting close, holster your weapon. Officers responding to a shooting incident often have a heightened level of concern for their safety so be prepared to follow their directions. Raise your empty hands above your head with palms facing officers and listen to their commands. They will disarm you and may handcuff you. Do not hand them your CCW Safe card nor mention you have a service for self-defense shootings.
5. YOUR INITIAL RESPONSE MATTERS: Remember your defense begins with you... What you say and do can make or break your case. Provide initial information to the responding officers. This is still not the time to give a detailed statement. You could say, “I WAS FORCED TO DEFEND MY LIFE”, “THAT IS THE SUSPECT, HE ATTACKED ME”. If asked to give a detailed statement acknowledge your intent to Cooperate “I WANT TO GIVE A FULL STATEMENT BUT IN THE PRESENCE OF MY ATTORNEY.”
6. IDENTIFY CASE ELEMENTS TO OFFICERS: What you don't say could also hurt your case. Officers need a few case elements to present to the investigators. A basic case element statement might include the following: “THAT IS THE SUSPECT AND THE WEAPON HE PULLED ON ME IS THERE.” Basic case elements might include the following: “THAT PERSON IS A WITNESS.” Just remember this is still not the time for a detailed statement.
7. INFORM OFFICERS OF INJURIES: Let officers know of any injuries you may have sustained and make sure that they are documented before you are cleaned up. If you are injured in any way, request to be taken to the hospital for evaluation. This is not the time to be macho because your injuries can be presented to support your decision to use deadly force. Remember just because you are not bleeding doesn’t mean you should not be checked for internal injuries that you may not realize you have due to the adrenaline overload associated with facing a traumatic occurrence.
8. CONTROL THE INFORMATION ABOUT THE INCIDENT: Do not post anything on social media, or share through any device information to family or friends. Do not exchange stories with witnesses or news personnel on the scene. Do not make off color comments or laugh at the jokes of others.
9. PROVIDE IDENTIFYING INFORMATION ONLY: Explain to Law Enforcement that you would like to give a full statement and interview in the presence of your attorney. Give the responding officers your basic identifying information only. Request to notify your representation. Contact your emergency contacts and request that they notify CCW Safe of the emergency.
10. If you are a member of a legal service keep that information close: It is very important to have legal service
Please be alert, safe out there and remember assess every situation asking yourself, “If I didn’t have a weapon on me at this time what would I do?” That one question could keep you from being launched into a traumatic incident that will change your life.