Yes, that is a headline that is going to cause some to freak out. No, he isn’t wrong.
As we have detailed in the vast majority of the officer-involved shootings documented here at Bearing Arms, suspects have taken action to instigate fire, including those where the suspect was later determined to be “unarmed.”
So, what happened in the incident in question? It went down like this:
Polk County Sheriff’s department sent out a patrol after they received reports of drug dealing outside a house in Auburndale on the outskirts of Lakeland, Florida.
Sheriff Grady Judd said Dominic Fuller, who was suspected in a shooting earlier this month, fled on foot as deputies approached.
He told a news conference that Fuller was seen trying to open doors of cars and homes and was heard by one witness yelling, ‘I have a gun.’
Deputies eventually found Fuller outside a home, and ran inside, according to the sheriff.
After repeated commands to surrender, Judd said, Fuller showed only his left hand while keeping the right hand hidden behind his back.
Judd said Fuller went back inside, then emerged and pointed a black and chrome object at the deputy. Police say the deputy feared for his life and fired five times.
The object turned out to be a stapler.
Sheriff Judd added: ‘We don’t choose to shoot people. People choose for us to shoot them.’
Fuller’s criminal history includes 17 prior arrests in four different states, with 32 total previous charges.
When a suspect screams “I have a gun!” and then quickly points a black and chrome object at anyone—law enforcement officer or average citizen—he’s going to draw fire. Quite frankly,that seems to be Fuller’s explicit intent. this appears to be a case of “suicide by cop,” similar to the shooting of Dillon Taylor by Salt Lake City police last year.
In that incident, Taylor shoved his hand under his shirt into his pants as if reaching for a weapon, and then screamed “No, fool!” when the officers told him repeatedly show them his hands. He then quickly pulled his hand out of his pants as if drawing a weapon, and was shot.
Sheriff Judd is—whether people like it or not—correct. Fools get shot for acting like fools that need to be shot.
Law enforcement officers are trained in a manner than only varies slightly across the nation, and everyone has a pretty good idea of what the general rules are regarding the use of deadly force. As a result, career criminals are generally less concerned with being shot by police than by citizens they might encounter while committing a crime, because the criminals know how law enforcement officers are trained, and know that if they follow commands, they aren’t likely to be injured.
Unfortunately, there are people who use their knowledge of these rules of engagement to force officers to kill them.
Dominic Fuller apparently decided he didn’t want to go back to jail for an 18th time, and took the easy way out.
Our condolences go out to the deputy who was forced to shoot him.