Officer Lives After Criminal Can't Figure Out Gun's Safety

An Evansville, Ohio, police officer is lucky to be alive after the suspect he was chasing turned to fire a gun at the officer—whose own weapon was still holstered during the chase—but couldn’t figure out the safety on the pistol.


The criminal, Cornelius Ratliff, was the front-seat passenger during a routine traffic stop by Evansville police. Officers asked Ratliff to step out of the car for a pat-down, and Ratliff took off running through a residential neighborhood. The pursuing officer does a phenomenal job of keeping up with him as they run around homes and outbuildings and through bushes… I couldn’t imagine being able to do that toting 20 lbs. of duty gear, including the body camera that captures the chase.

The body camera is extremely jerky (as you would expect on a running officer), but you hear the officer shout “Gun!” at about the 00:37 second mark.

We find out from the AAR (after action report) that Ratliff pulled a weapon, turned to fire it at the officer while running, but wasn’t familiar with the gun, and didn’t disengage the manual safety.

Ratliff turns and attempts to fire the weapon, but didn’t disengage the safety.

Ratliff turns—gun in hand, though we can’t see it—and then either falls or dives into an open trailer.


As Ratliff is doing this, the officer shouts “Gun! Gun! Gun!” again, and you see him draw his duty Glock and points it at Ratliff. It’s frankly a little surprising that he hasn’t opened fire, knowing that the armed suspect had just attempted to take a shot at him and had a gun in his hands.

Instead, the officer commands Ratliff to drop the gun, and Ratliff tosses it through the air; it’s caught briefly on frame as it sails through the air to bounce off the garage behind him.

A freeze-frame captures Ratliff’s pistol in profile as he tosses it in a high arc towards the garage behind him.

This recently-released video from the March 17, 2014 incident was used as evidence to put Ratliff away for 30 years, and is also being incorporated into police training films.

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