Talk about having a bad day. An Alabama woman survived both a home invasion by her armed estranged
significant other husband, only to be shot by a police officer responding to her mother’s 911 call.
A man and a woman were shot Sunday evening when multiple rounds of gunfire – including from police – rang out in a south Huntsville neighborhood.
The shooting occurred around 6 p.m. at a home in the 2500 block of Bonnie Oaks Drive. Lt. Darryl Lawson, a spokesman for the Huntsville Police Department, said that the couple was estranged and that the woman had been living at the home with her mother.
The man, whose name is being withheld by police, broke into the rear of the house armed with a gun, Lawson said. At that time, the woman told her mother to run away and call police.
While the homeowner ran to a neighbor’s house, calling 911 and tripping the house’s burglar alarm, her daughter armed herself with a shotgun.
When the man did not stop coming toward her or drop his own weapon, she shot him, Lawson said.
Police officers arriving at that moment heard gunshots and saw the woman in the garage, holding the shotgun. They demanded she drop the weapon, and when she turned toward them with the gun in her hand, at least one officer opened fire.
The woman was struck by the police gunfire. Both she and the man were taken to Huntsville Hospital.
Fortunately, the woman is expected to survive. The home invader’s outcome is more in doubt.
There are going to be those who instinctively follow their own personal biases and will attack or defend the responding officer who shot the woman. I’m going to disagree with both of those knee-jerk reactions, and insist that we simply don’t have enough information from the media accounts of this incident to know if the officer made a good or bad judgement call here.
The average person who has just been in a life-or-death situation is going to be experiencing tunnel vision and auditory exclusion, and may not perceive anything out of their direct field of vision for a number of minutes after the incident, and in this incident, the officers arrived as shots were being fired.
If the woman turned towards the officers with the shotgun up in a threatening position, it is going to be very tough to fault the officers for firing their weapons in response to their training.
If the woman turned with the gun hanging a the end of her arms by not actively aimed, it’s very much a gray area, and I feel that the officer is entitled to make that judgement call.
If the woman had the muzzle pointed up or down at the low ready when she turned, and the officer fired at her simply because he heard gunshots and saw someone holding a weapon on a home invasion call, then we have an officer who made need to be riding a desk for the rest of his or her career, or who may need to find another line of work. At this time, we simply don’t know what the officer saw when he arrived. Further, I feel that this is something that I feel an outside law enforcement agency should investigate, instead of the Huntsville Police Department.
For those of you who train to defend themselves, this is a great example of why we do a “scan and assess” after a defensive gun use. You can be 100% in the right as this woman was, and still end up being shot by police if you don’t train to break that tunnel vision and get your other senses operating again.
Scanning and assessing isn’t only about attempting to find other threats. It’s also imperative to make sure you don’t end up getting shot by law enforcement officers responding to the scene.
Update: The woman has been confirmed as Lisa Skinner, 52, and her attacker has been identified as Bradley Skinner, 59.
Mrs. Skinner had filed numerous protective orders against Mr. Skinner, but none of those orders stopped him from invading her home armed with a large knife and a handgun. Mrs. Skinner struck Mr. Skinner in the chest with a shotgun blast, which seemed to have a more lasting effect.