Lessons for the Civilian Concealed Carrier from This Officer Involved Shooting

Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) and civilian concealed carriers have different missions which drive their tactics and actions for using deadly force. Even though this video is from an officer involved shooting (OIS) I think concealed carriers can benefit from watching how it all unfolds.

Miami Township Police Department Officer Involved Shooting—

Take a look at the incident:

To Intervene or Not—

First, it is important to remember that a big difference between the LEO and armed citizen is that LEOs must contact people actively threatening others. Armed citizens may choose to intervene to protect the life of another, or retreat to a safe place and call the police. The decision to intervene or not is one the individual must make on their own.

Positioning and Distance—

If you're an armed civilian and see this woman as you pull into the driveway, you may be able to avoid her and drive away. But perhaps you can't or choose to involve yourself. Consider the vehicle you're driving is an asset and a liability. If the woman shoots at you, and you can't reverse or evade, you may choose to use it as a weapon.

Here, the first officer exited the vehicle after he positioned it to provide him cover as he tried to de-escalate the situation. He likely made this decision based on the distance to the woman, that she didn't immediately shoot at him, and the desire to attempt to resolve the situation without resorting to deadly force.

Distance provides time and options, as we saw in the Tamir Rice shooting. Officer's arrived to contact a male threatening people with a gun at a local park. The officer pulled up within feet of Rice, which limited their options once Rice brandished the firearm.

Use of Cover and Concealment—

Once the woman begins shooting, the officers used the vehicle as cover. Understanding the difference between cover and concealment could be critical in a case like this. Cover buys you time to assess the situation and opens up more options for your response, in contrast to reacting in a split-second.

Here is a post with compelling information about how beneficial cover and concealment are in survival rate during a gunfight. We also have a course that teaches how to use cover and concealment for your benefit.

Suicide by Cop—

As the police chief stated, he suspects the woman was suffering from mental illness, but they do not know why she started shooting and why she shot at the officers. A sane person does not stand around waiting for the police to arrive so they can get into a shootout. This is what is referred to as suicide by cop. But someone in this condition may not wait for an officer to arrive. If you intervene and threaten deadly force, they may force you to shoot them.

As an armed civilian, you might consider your response to a carjacking or robbery, but have you thought about your response to someone in a mental crisis who has a weapon threatening to use against you or your family? You might resolve the incident without force with words, or it could escalate to using deadly force.

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De-escalation and Less Lethal Force Options—

Just as the police tried to de-escalate the situation, do you think of how you could “talk someone down”, or is your gun the only tool you go to? Do you have a less lethal force option like OC spray? Keep in mind for the armed civilian, you're probably more likely to encounter a family and friend in mental crisis, so de-escalation skills are critical.

Remember that you are not required to put your life at risk to de-escalate. Talking someone down when possible might not work, but you may sleep better knowing you tried.

Know Your Skills—

If you must shoot, do you know the distance you can make accurate shots on different size targets? If you don't, you may hesitate and miss the best opportunity to end the threat. Or you may take a shot you can't make, potentially harming others with errant rounds. It is imperative you know your current abilities. Your performance last year may not reflect your performance today.

Here is a post that describes a good way to gauge the skills we think are important for an armed citizen.

Assessing Your Shots—

Consider the officer shot 6 times before the woman went down. Remember that there is one way to ensure a person stops immediately, and that is to hit the central nervous system. A tiny target to hit during the stress of the moment.

You may get immediate visual confirmation that your shots on the threat are working, but sometimes people continue to fight on after several shots. Remember, we must constantly assess if our shots are having the effect we want.

Continual assessment is important for several reasons. First, we don't want to use too much force and shoot when the person is no longer a threat. This is one reason I advise against training a specific number of shots for all deadly force encounters. For example, practicing the “two the chest, one to the head” (Mozambique/Failure) drill is helpful in assessing fundamental shooting skills. However, you shouldn't use this drill or pattern of shots as your “programed response” to all encounters.

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Continual assessment also helps us from dumping all our rounds at once, leaving nothing for any change. For example, a secondary threat, or the ability to transition to a more sensitive area of the threat's body that will probably stop them. Consider you have 6 rounds in your gun and get 5 high, center-chest hits. You assess and the threat is still coming. Another high, center-chest hit may not be the solution, given it's your last round. Assessment may show targeting the central nervous system and taking a head shot is the better response.

In Summary—

When I read these real-life stories, I mentally try to figure out how I would react to those situations. I try to remain aware, avoid conflict and pray I never end up deciding on if I should shoot a human or not. However, if I do, I’ve run through scenarios in my head, and thought of ways I can respond given my actual abilities. I want to avoid using force if I can, but if I must, I feel I can live with the decisions I make.

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About Rob Beckman

Rob lives in Cincinnati, Ohio and was introduced to firearms and the outdoors a long time ago in the Boy Scouts. He writes blog articles for https://concealedcarry.com and his own site http;//AmericanDefenseTraining.us on self defense issues. He is a USCCA Senior Training Counselor, a NRA Training Counselor, and and has received his Firearm Instructor Certification from International Association of Law Enforcement Instructors (IALEFI). Graduate of the MAG40 and Modern Samurai Project Red Dot Instructor Course. When not working he enjoys learning about nature and camping and educating others on hunting and trapping. His focus is on teaching responsibility in everything we do and always learning news skills throughout our lives.


  1. Dave on July 13, 2022 at 8:43 am

    The other bigger issue to me is the lack of forcing individuals that are having mental illness issues to be placed into a secure environment until they are treated. It seems that it’s ignored completely and we’ve all seen the results of inaction on that.

    Civil liberties and rights are important yes but so is public safety and treatment for people that obviously need it.

    • Rob Beckman on July 19, 2022 at 3:19 pm

      Dave you are correct that treating mental illness is needed in a really bad way. Unfortunately as armed citizens we have to deal with what we have and in those bad situations making the best decisions can really help.

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