The family of a violent teen who attacked students at his Reno (NV) high school with knives just can’t understood why the school resource officer (SRO) felt compelled to shoot the teen when turned towards the officer and refused to surrender.
“When you hear people say that bringing a knife to school isn’t the answer to bullying, how do you respond to that?” Villarreal asked.
“It’s not the answer. But to a 14-year-old kid, I guess it is the … you know, not to hurt anybody with the knives, but just to get them off of you,” said his grandmother, Nancy Pitchford.
“I’m not defending my son bringing knives to school whatsoever,” Clark’s mother, Cheryl Pitchford said. “But what I ask myself is, what makes the school officer think that it’s okay to shoot my son?”
The Reno police department said Clark had been involved in a fight with another student that day and that the school district officer opened fire after the teen acknowledged him and ignored commands to drop the knives.
“I do not believe that environment would allow Logan to have heard the police officer,” family attorney David Houston said.
A day after the shooting, Washoe County Schools superintendent Traci Davis praised responding officers for keeping the other students safe.
“Had it not been for their quick actions and professionalism, I truly believe that the outcome could have been much worse,” Davis said last December.
“Why not use a Taser? … Why not shoot him in the foot?” Nancy Pitchford asked. “And having other kids standing around behind Logan and could’ve struck another kid.”
Regular readers of Bearing Arms are well aware of the fact that tasers are not used by individual officers encountering the threat of deadly force. Individual officers like this SRO must respond to deadly force threats with equal or greater deadly force. That means a firearm.
Did Logan Clark pose a deadly force threat as he lunged and slashed at his fellow students who milled around, filming and and staring at him with bovine stupidity? Absolutely.
Nancy Pitchford doesn’t think her grandson deserved to be shot, or that he should have been shot in the foot instead of the chest.
Like most clueless people, Pitchford doesn’t seem to grasp that shooting a suspect center mass is the safest option in most circumstances, and especially in this event.
The photo above shows the immediate aftermath the shooting. Clark is on the ground, and the SRO is in front of him, his gun drawn. You’ll note knots of students around the scene, and concrete everywhere on the ground.
If the officer had shot at Clark’s feet as he was moving, odds are very high that the bullet would have missed, hit the ground, and ricocheted into the students behind him, either as a misshapen single mass or in fragments. If the officer had shot at Clark’s foot and struck the target, the bullet—designed to penetrate roughly the thickness of a human torso—would have gone all teh way through, hit the ground, and ricocheted into the students behind him, either as a misshapen single mass or in fragments.
The only “safe” shot for the school resource officer to take in this instance was to fire a round center mass into the violent teen approaching him with a pair of knives.
Logan Clark made a series of poor decisions that force the shoot resource officer to open fire.
Clark alone is responsible for his injuries, which is a reality that his family needs to accept.