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Shots Fired: Laurel, Maryland 05.14.2003

NCJ Number
Police: The Law Enforcement Magazine Volume: 30 Issue: 4 Dated: April 2006 Pages: 50,52,54
Dean Scoville
Date Published
April 2006
4 pages
This article presents a detailed account of an officer's exchange of gunfire with a suspect after the officer was dispatched on a domestic-violence call.
SWAT officer John Sims, Jr., of the Laurel Police Department (Maryland) was in the first hours of his overtime shift as a backup officer on call when he received the domestic-violence dispatch call. Just prior to receiving the call, Sims was sitting in his parked car reflecting on the 8-hour SWAT training he had just completed. He reviewed in his mind his performance on the firing range, where he practiced using limited cover while engaging a suspect with a series of two quick headshots. Sims, an 8-year veteran, did not perform well. His shots went to the right or left of the head of the silhouetted torso. His performance had not improved by the end of the training session. After receiving the call as backup for another officer who was responding to the call, Sims proceeded to the scene. He became the first officer on the scene, however, when the primary officer was caught in traffic. Upon arriving at the address, Sims heard gunfire and screams and observed in his peripheral vision a woman and some children running toward his car. A man with a gun was standing on a landing overlooking his patrol car. He pushed open the car door, grabbed the woman out of the line of fire with one hand, and drew his weapon with the other hand while moving to the rear of the car for cover. Before taking his first shots, Sims reviewed his trainer's instructions in his mind. One of Sims' two quick shots hit the suspect just above his nose, killing him instantly.