Officer King was conducting a routine patrol of his beat when he noticed something unusual. He saw someone at the rear of a vehicle in a parking lot bending down by their exhaust pipe. Officer King pulled into the lot, and when the man looked up and saw the patrol car, he quickly made his way to the driver’s side of the car, got in, and locked the door.
Officer King approached the driver’s window and asked if everything was alright. The man had a panicked look on his face and began to scramble for something in the back seat. The officer repeatedly told the man to stop what he was doing, unlock the door, and put his hands on the steering wheel. The man refused and started shouting that he had a gun and was going to shoot.
He told the officer, “You are going to have to kill me; just shoot me or I’m going to shoot you.”
Officer King radioed for code cover as the man continued rifling through his car and acting erratic. Officer King did not know what the suspect would bring into view, but for his own safety due to the threat, had him at gun point.
Time stands still in those situations. He knew his fellow officers were on their way to assist, but he felt so alone. Officers arrived and assessed the situation, it was decided that they would make access to the man through the passenger window. With a couple of swift strikes of the baton, the window exploded blasting glass back at the officer.
One taze, then another. The man continued to resist and refuse to comply with the officers’ commands. Finally, after the third ride of electricity, the man was removed from the vehicle and placed into custody. It was eventually determined that the man was attempting suicide and had all the needed tools for it. The duffel bag did not contain a weapon, rather, it had a hose, duct tape, and a spray nozzle.
The man had many situations in his life that had him depressed. His relationships were strained, and he had only one resolution in mind. When the opportunity presented itself, suicide by cop became a preferable option. If the man had presented the silver water nozzle shaped like a gun, he most certainly would have been granted his wish.
The patience Officer King displayed, his ability to remain calm, cool and collected, and the actions he took while he continuously assessed the stress-filled, unpredictable situation resulted in giving the subject a second chance at life. Officer King saved a life that day.
To law enforcement there is no simple traffic stop or basic assistance of a motorist. Things can change quickly, and for the officer it can become a life or death situation instantaneously.
The next time you see a patrol car assisting another motorist or working a traffic accident, give them room. You never know what the ultimate outcome will be. Pray for the officer’s safety, and ask for protection from the simple things in life.
Thank you, Officer King, for your service to the citizens of our community. Your daily presence on patrol and persistence to help others in distress make our community a better place.