memorial

Friends and relatives of a 19-year-old man shot by Fresno police Saturday gathered for a vigil last night, trying to understand why he was shot.

Family and friends of the man who was shot by Fresno police on Saturday gathered Sunday night for a vigil at the same east-central Fresno location to remember the 19-year-old.

Hundreds gathered at the Chevron gas station on Shields and Armstrong avenues around 8 p.m. to honor the life of the shooting victim, identified by family as Dylan Noble. Noble died in surgery after he was transported to Community Regional Medical Center.

Motorcycles, trucks and dirt bikes filled the gas station parking lot and an empty dirt lot next to it to perform a revving up of engines in a loud remembrance of the victim. Dirt bikes also raced on Shields Avenue, to cheers and claps from those who watched from the sidewalk.

Gail Rowell, grandmother of Noble’s girlfriend, says Noble was at her house trimming trees and helping with a garage sale just hours before she found out he had been gunned down.

“He was headed home, when [police] turned the light on him,” Rowell said. “He pulled over and they shot him.”

Rowell described the officer-involved shooting as “incomprehensible”, as she pointed over to an area of candles and flowers where Noble was given CPR treatment following the shooting; blood stains were still visible.

dylan noble

Sadly, Dylan Noble’s death isn’t “incomprehensible.” If officer statements, body camera video,  and a considerable number of eyewitness accounts match up, it appears that Noble’s death was entirely predictable.

The officers are only guilty of responding precisely as officers are trained to respond.

When officers attempted to pull over the truck near Shields and Fowler avenues, the driver continued on for more than a half-mile, eventually pulling over at a Chevron station at the corner of Shields and Armstrong avenues.

The subject, identified as a 19-year-old man whose vehicle was registered to a Clovis address, got out of the pickup, began to walk away and was hiding his hands in his waistband area, Farmer said. He turned around suddenly and put one of his hands behind his back.

“Officers continued to plead with the subject to show his hands,” Farmer said. “At that point the subject made a statement that he hated his life and made a movement to the small of his back, at which point he was shot several times by officers on the scene.”

Officers performed CPR before the man was taken to Community Regional Medical Center,where he died in surgery. The identification of the man is being withheld, pending notification of his family and confirmation by the Fresno County Coroner’s Office.

Both officers were equipped with body cameras and will be placed on administrative leave pending an official investigation, Farmer said. They were both veterans on the force, with 17 and 20 years of experience respectively, he said.

Many people simply don’t grasp the simple fact that no competently trained shooter—military, law enforcement, or civilian—is going to wait to see a weapon before opening fire. You simply don’t have the time to wait to seeing a weapon to respond, as action is always faster than reaction.

white lives

If you doubt this even a little, grab a pair of airsoft guns, and tell your buddy to shoot you whenever he wants, with the promise you will only engage once he moves. Guess who is going to get shot first every time?

You.

The only way to beat the ensured defeat of waiting to react is to preemptively act based on threat indicators, in essence, jumping ahead of the threat’s telegraphed movements. Over decades of observation, we’ve come to realize “tells” that we look for that presage violence. Because of this well-trained shooters look primarily look at two things in a high stress encounter with an unknown contact. They’re looking at hands and your overall demeanor. If you’re hiding your hands or have something in them, that raises the threat level significantly, especially if your overall demeanor is threatening.

If the combination of your overall demeanor is hostile as Noble’s was, and you hide his hands and then makes a motion consistent with reaching for a weapon, you’re going to get shot every time.

I feel very sorry for Mr. Noble’s family and don’t know why he acted the way that he chose to act, but his death was anything but “incomprehensible.”

Whether you are white or black or brown or green with purple polka dots it utterly irrelevant to competently trained shooters. If you act aggressively towards someone with a drawn weapon and make a motion consistent with an attempt to grab a weapon, you’re going to get shot at, and if the shooter is a good shot, you aren’t likely to fair well in the encounter.