The story has been told many times. It was one of those pivotal defining moments. One of those moments that changed everything. It was December 7, 1991. It was raining and I was in a foul mood. I had an internal affairs beef pending for some sort of bullshit filed by some high-estrogen man-chick with a pencil for a neck. My third one for the year.
Anyway, making a long story short, I was on my way to Code 7. That means chow...err...dinner break. A light rain began to fall and I was sure I was going to get one of those stupid accidents where I had to stand in the freaking rain for hours. That's when the alert tone went off.
Armed Robbery In Progress, three males (I will let you guess at their description) armed with handguns.
Suddenly the rain didn't matter...the personnel compliant didn't matter...nothing mattered as much as getting there before the bad guys left. I did not roll code three...the last thing I wanted them to do was leave before I got there.
Now the SOP back then...I suspect it hasn't changed much, was to set up in a "tactically correct manner" and then have Dispatch call the location. This served to provide greater information, and it being a highly populated urban area, determine if it was a false alarm.
I had just set up outside. I was for all intents and purpose...alone. I grabbed my mic to advise Dispatch to "make the call" when I heard shots...multiple shots, fired inside. I didn't know it then, but the three robbers had just killed the manager and attempted to execute the clerk.
I was standing facing the front door from the side as the first bad guy came out...pistol in hand, running for his vehicle.
Now this is where the story is put on hold to establish the back story. At the time I had been to several shooting schools...including the one with that blackbird as a logo. I had a badass Weaver Stance, shot Distinguished Expert at the LASD Academy and once, stole the man versus man shootoff from an entire relay of LAPD 1911 shooting SWAT guys. I say that only to establish my background. I was an excellent stand-and-deliver shooter and at that time, that is all that was ever taught.
But I did not pop into a perfect Weaver that night as the Armed Robber brought his pistol to bear. Nothing like that at all. I moved out of the way of his gun muzzle, and subsequent gunfire, shooting as I moved. And I killed him before he could shoot me. The other two guys are not pertinent to the discussion. One was shot as well and the third was bitten by a dog and arrested.
But back to bad guy #1. I was never one of those guys that felt bad about such things. It was why the f*ck I was there. But I didn't quite understand what had happened. I knew that by moving I had avoided being shot (not something I was ever taught in firearms training). There was no style to it...no continuums, no nothing. Just "GUN...F*CK...MOVE". The shooting was the same...no thought to it. Gun up to eye level...shoot until the threat is dead.
The events of that night drove me on a quest to find out why I had prevailed. The answer was not in the stodgy, anal retentive gun world of the day. Rather, it was in the world of martial arts...and my background in that world is what probably caused me to move rather than plant and shoot. But I needed more refinements, and in the pre-Google world, study was difficult.
I finally came across the works of a man named Col. John Boyd. Boyd was a USAF fighter pilot trainer who was a bit of a mad warrior scientist. As I read his stuff it was as if not a light bulb, but the whole lighting array at Dodger Stadium suddenly came on.
Boyd wrote that in combat, each side sees the other, processes what they see through their past training and experience, makes a decision based on that and finally executes the action of that decision. That is the much plagiarized OODA Loop. (Observe - Orient - Decide - Act). This was like stolen alien technology back in 1992-95, and you can bet I used it to great effect.
The bad guy saw me, recognized me as police...and what I was there to do. He decided to kill me...and brought up his weapon to execute his decision. But something happened to nullify his plan. As his mind transitioned from choice to action...in those milliseconds, I was no longer where he thought I was...I had moved. By doing so I turned reaction into action. His shots were to no avail as his intel was faulty. And then I blew him to hell.
There are those who still think that stationary target shooting really fast is the answer. Well...they are wrong. No matter who they are and who they were once...they are wrong. When you face a reactive problem, standing still will get you killed. The path to life...and victory lies in moving and shooting your enemy while you do so.