crime scene tapeWouldn’t it be refreshing if the news media actually reported so many of these officer-involved shootings as they really happened?

A man was shot and killed by a Lynnwood police officer Saturday after he threatened to kill his girlfriend while at her house, authorities said.

The man was shot after he attempted to grab an officer’s weapon during his arrest.

Neighbor Mike Cashen said was sitting on his couch when he saw the shooting unfold.

“You just see a body out there and you go holy cow,” Cashen said.

The girlfriend’s house is in the 17500 block of 54th Place West. Officers first responded at around 6 p.m. after a witness reported the threats to police, Shari Ireton, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman, said.

The girlfriend said that the suspect had threatened to kill her then ran away.

Lynnwood officers later found the man at a home in the 3900 block of Friday Avenue in Everett. The man fled, but was found again by Lynnwood officers in the 3900 block of Grand Avenue.

Around 11:30 p.m. a struggle ensued as officers tried to arrest the man, Ireton said. Witnesses say the man then reached for one of the officer’s gun during the arrest and was shot.

The man was pronounced dead on-scene, Ireton said.

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I’m amazed that the media didn’t portray this as an incident of “trigger-happy police shooting an unarmed man,” as they have in other incidents where officers have shot suspects during fights that broke out during attempted weapon take-aways.

It wasn’t clear from the account whether the suspect attempted to grab a gun that the officer had trained on him, or if the suspect attacked the officer while the handgun was still in the holster and the officer then defended it, drew it, and fired into the suspect. Considering the context of the attempted arrest and the apparent temperament of the suspect—who had a Department of Corrections warrant as a prison escapee—it seems likely that he went for a drawn weapon.

The shooting serves as a reminder that merely displaying a firearm does not necessarily assure that the bad guy is going to go away. They may attempt to fight you for control of your weapon, and if you don’t have the mindset to use your firearm, along with the skill to defend your weapon and deploy it effectively, you could end up in a free-for-all where “ya’ll” have a gun, and the odds of you being seriously injured or killed rises substantially.

So how do you train for this?

I’d strongly recommend finding a reputable shooting school that makes shooting from retention and shooting at close range part of their curriculum. There are also a number of instructors who offer classes that are built around the reality that bad guys may not manifest themselves as a threat until they’re at contact distance, and that the fight is likely to be be “hands on.” I typically see these classes listed as “extreme close quarters” classes. I know that the Tactical Defense Institute and Shivworks offer highly-regarded courses, and I hope to work one or both of them into my training. I’m sure there are other reputable instructors out there that offer similar classes that may either travel to your area, or may be part of your home range’s offerings.

There are tons of different kinds of firearms training courses out there, but if you carry a handgun for self-defense, I would think that taking a class that focuses on scenarios that train you for the kind of encounter that you’re most likely to run into is among your best bets once you have mastered gun handling and basic marksmanship.