A lot of the people criticizing Charlotte, North Carolina, police officers for the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott claim that officers should not have fired because Scott had the gun pointing at the ground when he was shot.

gun-in-hand

Here I am, roughly replicating the same position as Scott with a comparatively-sized .380 pistol (below). Yes, my finger is on the trigger. From this position, I can get off a shot in less than a quarter of a second, faster than an officer can process what I’m doing and decide to return fire, even if he has his gun trained on me. Action always beats reaction. It’s science.

bob-trigger

People (including gun owners) who have not studied real-life gun fighting roll their eyes at such statements, but it’s entirely true.

The fatal shooting of Jeffrey Clair Cave in Kingman, Arizona, this past Thursday vividly illustrates that point. Officers arrived at Cave’s home Thursday to serve a warrant for a stolen firearm.

Officers were fully kitted up in OTV-style wrap-around body armor with front and rear plates capable of stopping rifle bullets and ballistic helmets.

Instead of mechanically breaching the door of the home, the officers knocked loudly several times, and loudly announced themselves as officers serving a search warrant.

17 seconds after the initial knock, Cave opened the door, with a snub-nosed revolver  in his right hand, pointing at the ground.

cave

Officers could have easily and lawfully shot Mr. Cave at this point, but they did not.

Instead, multiple officers begin shouting the same simple command repeatedly.

“Drop the gun!”

I think I counted them saying “drop the gun” 19 times before Cave flatly responds, “Shoot me.”

Officers continue to shout the command to drop the revolver, and what appears to be the voice of the supervisory officer calls for a taser to be deployed.

An officer steps forward with a taser, and as other officers continue to tell Cave to drop the weapon for perhaps the 40th time, the supervisory officer cautions his team to “hold on,” which appears to be a warning not to shoot.

cave-taser

An officer steps forward with a taser, and as other officers continue to tell Cave to drop the weapon for perhaps the 40th time, the supervisory officer cautions his team to “hold on,” which appears to be a warning not to shoot.

An officer then raises the taser and aims it at Cave.

cave-shot

Immediately after the officer raises the taser, Cave raises his revolver and fires before  officers who have at least two guns pointed at Cave, fingers on the trigger, can respond.

Detective Dennis Gilbert (the officer behind the AR-15 on our left, I think) is struck by Cave’s bullet before he can respond.

A half-second later, Gilbert and Detective Nicholas Schmitz (holding the Glock with the WML on the right, I beleive) return fire, fatally striking Cave.

Detective Gilbert, shot around his armor, remains hospitalized in serious but stable condition.

A second shot fired by Cave passed through the uniform of Lt. James Brice, but did not strike him.

Please tell me again how a suspect with a gun pointed at the ground, covered by officers wearing some of the most advanced body armor possessed by police, is no threat, when a suspect starting in that position is able to fire a double-action revolver twice before being taken down by officers already covering him.

Mr. Cave earned his bullets in Kingman.

So did Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte.