You are walking to your car in a parking garage and out of nowhere you hear movement from behind. Suddenly you are struck over the head with a blunt object. As you drop to a knee in pain, disbelief and confusion, you feel your own warm blood running down your face. There is no discretionary time allowing you to escape or attempt to de-escalate the situation. The subject now stands in front of you about to aggressively deliver another potentially deadly strike. You hoped this day would never come, but it has, and it is up to you to save your own life.
You assess the threat has reached the threshold of legal justification for the use of deadly force, and you are in fear for your life. You efficiently clear your weapon from your waistband as you have done hundreds of times in training and make the conscious decision to pull the trigger to stop the threat. Several successive rounds hit the violent threat center mass and your assailant falls to the ground.
Your immediate priorities:
1) Move to a position of safety!
Move to a safer place, ideally creating distance and behind cover, strategically ensuring objects such as vehicles (in this scenario) are between you and the threat.
2) Conduct a self-medical assessment!
Once the threat has ceased and it is safe to do so, quickly assess yourself for catastrophic bleeding, primarily arterial bleeding, that requires immediate attention. If bleeding, do your best to stop the bleed with what you have on hand! This could mean anything from applying a conventional or unconventional tourniquet, packing the wound, applying pressure, and/or elevating the injured body part. Survival is key, and if you have catastrophic bleeding and do not address it immediately because you feel calling police first is more important, you may bleed out and become a deceased victim rather than a living witness!
3) Communication - Call 911
Advise: “I was violently attacked, feared for my life and was forced to defend myself. Send police and a medic.”
Provide: Your location and physical description and let them know you are armed.
Action: If safe to do so, consider rendering medical aid to any other injured persons, including your assailant.
When officers arrive:
- If safe to do so, holster and cover your weapon before responders arrive. A weapon in your hand is your greatest liability when they arrive! Do not point a weapon in their direction.
- If you feel the threat still exists and you must keep your weapon out, your visual and verbal communication are critical when police arrive. Loudly announce you are the victim, doing your best to keep your weapon pointed in a safe direction and keeping your eyes on the subject if he or she remains a threat. If you have a form of identification or safety banner you can deploy, do so!
- Comply with officers’ instructions! Their initial objective is to make the scene safe, and controlling everyone at the scene ensures their safety. Be prepared to be treated as a suspect and have weapons pointed at you by officers until the situation is controlled.
- Communicate that you feared for your life and were forced to defend yourself.
- Point out evidence, witnesses, and the suspect(s); however, beyond that remain silent: “I will cooperate 100%, but first I need my attorney.”
- Request medical attention
- Call your attorney or indemnity hot line (USCCA)