On an early spring day I was leaving my apartment to go down to the grocery to pick up a few items. I was a rookie Housing Authority police officer, not too long out of the academy, and before I left my digs, I slipped a Walther PPK/s in .380 ACP, in a “Mexican carry” position, under my windbreaker. I had no sooner walked out the door than I saw this miscreant next door to my left (my apartment was on the corner near the parking lot) trying to kick the door open. As I worked the “graveyard shift” I didn’t know my neighbors all that well, but I knew this guy wasn’t one of them.
Being the “big bad cop” I challenged him with a “What the hell are you doing?” Not bothering to badge the man. With a wild look he came at me and started throwing punches. I backed towards my car and as he got up close I could smell the alcohol on his breath. Pretty soon I had the upper hand and was concentrating on bashing his head with my fists and did not see miscreant #2 run up and bash me in the side of the head with the flat end of a full can of beer. Next thing I know, I’m seeing the “birdies” and as I come-to, I noted that I was lying over backward against a rusty steel fence that bordered the parking lot and both miscreants were on top of me. Things were kind of moving in slow motion and I saw two more scruffy-looking types coming to join in the fun. At that point, I remembered Karl Walther’s nifty little pistol in my waistband and hoped that it was still there.
Without a lot of conscious thought, other than realizing that I was on the wrong end of what looked like a good butt-kicking, my right hand slid under the jacket, the pistol came out, I screwed it into the ear of the bad guy directly on top of me, and I began to press the trigger, noting the hammer starting back. The dude on top of the dude on top of me suddenly screamed, “He’s got a .32!” I immediately corrected him and said no it was a .380 and if the man on top of me didn’t get off I was going to blow his brains out.
At this point both of the scumbags extracted themselves, the other two who were on their way to the “beat down” disappeared and I came off the fence, backing towards my car, covering both of them with the pistol. It occurred to me about this time to get out my credentials and “badge” them, but finally common sense got the best of me, and I decided that the best thing to do was make a strategic retreat. As they yelled about going and getting their .44 Mag and evening things up, I got in my car and drove off.
This was in the late 1970’s and cell phones were not a common everyday thing, so I drove down to the nearest district police station, ID’ed myself, explained the situation, and the desk sergeant said he would send a couple of units over to my apartment building, and I could meet them there. When I got back I waited in my car in the alley behind the parking lot until the “cavalry” arrived — then 4 uniformed cops and I walked back to the scene of the action.
Amazingly, the two idiots that assaulted me were still there. Despite this one big officer’s invitation, the two ruffians declined to fight further now that the odds were a bit more even. As it turned out the whole thing was not an attempted burglary, but a drunken family brawl, and the cops knew these characters fairly well from past experience. I later went down to the courthouse, swore out a warrant, then eventually went to court and these two fine citizens got 90 days.
What I got out of this besides a shiner was a valuable lesson in what not to do and have up to this time survived some 34 years of law enforcement work, becoming an ardent student of officer survival, and spending 15 years as an agency firearms instructor. —WB, IN
Talking to God
One night a Border Patrol Agent was out working the area just north of the border known as Stuart’s Ditch. He was, of course, working alone and on foot when he chased down a couple of border crossers. Being fairly close to the border, the aliens resisted and attempted to escape to the south and, as the agent was grappling with one in an attempt to handcuff him, the other alien picked up a large rock and tried to bash the agent in the head.
The alert agent saw the attacker and, without thought, jerked his .357 Mag from the holster and fired right into his face, whereupon the would be murderer disappeared in the muzzle flash. Positive that he had killed his attacker, the agent went back to handcuffing his still-struggling prisoner and did not pay as close attention as he possibly should have to the recipient of the .357 Mag bullet.
After that was sorted out, and before the agent could call in his shooting, the descompuesto alien regained consciousness and sat up. Convinced that he had been killed when the magnum went off in his face he was unsure of where he had ended up. Seeing the agent nearby he asked, “Es Usted Dios, senor?”, or, “Are you God, sir?”, in order to find out where he was. Once he and the agent had recovered from their surprise it was determined that the bullet had hit the alien right on the point of the chin, run around under the skin, and popped out on the back of his neck. The wound required a couple of band-aids and a precautionary shot of antibiotics to repair. —EH, NV
Tombstone Courage On an early spring day I was leaving my apartment to go down…
by Matt Berger / Jul 1, 2010