Authorities in Colorado have released the body camera footage from a Parker Police Department officer who brought a suspect’s bloody rampage near a middle school to an end with a single well-placed shot.
The video begins with Officer Ronnie Dorrell running down a Parker street after learning that Det. Dan Brite had been shot by a suspect since identified as Randall Rodick. The 40-year-old had been spotted near Sierra Middle School with a gun.
His wife had called 911 to say that he was “really, really drunk” and armed with a 9mm pistol and AK-47. She claimed he said he would kill anyone who tried to stop him, and believed he was suicidal. Police came to his home and later saw him loading guns and ammunition into his RV. He fired at responding officers from the driver’s seat, hitting Brite.
The man later took off in the RV, crashing through a white fence, barbed wire and a large field. Witnesses say Rodick drove erratically, making multiple loops and going over curves as he powered through a small gully.
He later crashed into a small retaining wall just east of a retirement home. A man in the area who tried to help Rodick says the suspect pointed an AK-47 at him and told him to “get the [expletive] away” before firing multiple shots in his direction.
In the body camera video, Dorrell passes parents waiting to pick up their children from school as he and another officer hop into a patrol car and go after the RV. A civilian is seen near where the RV crashed. Dorrell is heard telling him to leave the area.
Officer Dorrell used an AR-15 rifle with a red-dot sight to stop Rodick’s rampage with a single-well-placed shot.
While some well-meaning folks complained that law enforcement officers were becoming “over-militarized” when departments began issuing AR-15s and other patrol rifles to officers, they’re making that argument from a position of ignorance.
It is much easier to shoot accurately under stress with a rifle (especially one equipped with optics) at typical law enforcement engagement ranges with a rifle than it is a handgun.
Officer Dorrell’s approximately 30-yard shot with the AR-15 is actually on the shorter end of the carbine’s engagement range (the carbine-length AR-15s with 16″ barrels typically favored by law enforcement are typically set up with red dots or iron sights and perform best out to 200 yards), but a 30-yard head shot on a armed suspect actively engaging officers after running and with his pulse elevated is still a very respectable shot. It is also a shot that would have been very difficult to make if Officer Dorrell was only armed with his handgun.
Most law enforcement officer do the vast majority of their handgun training at distances of 3, 5, and 7 yards, which makes perfect sense when you grasp the fact that many if not most law enforcement shootings take place at conversational distances. Shooting handguns at 10 and 15 yards is only occasionally practiced in many agencies, and shooting at 25 yards—commonly accepted as the maximum practical engagement range with a handgun by many departments—is almost never practiced, and typically only comes up during department qualifications, where they are generally the most missed shots by a substantial degree.
If officers are forced to only use handguns at these longer distances—which is the choice critics force on departments when they attempt to restrict long-gun use—they’re creating a situation where officers are likely to miss much more frequently, and as a result, are going to have to fire many more shots to have an effect on a committed subject.
Keep in mind, folks, that 100% of bullets fired hit something. They don’t just fall to the ground if an officer misses. They will keep going until them impact something, and can travel hundreds of yards to more than a mile at deadly velocities.
It’s much better to have a situation like what we saw with this incident, where an officer with a patrol rifle stops a rampaging shooter with a single well-placed rifle shot, rather than engaging in a protracted shootout and putting rounds downrange past his target with a handgun that are both going to threaten people downrange past his target, and give the suspect more time to use his own weapon and fire shots, potentially wounding other officers and innocent bystanders.
This particular incident took place in close proximity to a middle school and a retirement home.
Be very thankful that this officer was equipped with the right tool for the job, and that his department listens to actual experts, and not ignorant political activists with an entirely different agenda.