Officer holds fire when he could have shot suspect

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 23, 2002

It was a situation that any police officer would dread.

Standing on the front lines, right in the reach of fire, an irate suspect pointing a gun directly at you, aiming to shoot and kill.

That was the situation faced by Selma police Lt. Chuck Weber, who spotted two suspects on St. John Street and Martin Luther King Drive, while driving in the area.

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The suspects had been accused of being involved in a string of shootings that occurred Tuesday night in four different neighborhoods in Selma.

The suspects car in front of Weber pulled to a stop. Weber slowly exited the car. Then one of the suspects exited the car. However, as of the the suspects exited his car, Weber realized he was in for a fight. The suspect was carrying an AK-47 rifle.

Weber realized he was in trouble. The neighborhood was full of people in the area. “If I fire,” Weber says, “it could be extremely dangerous, and I may hit someone. And that is just something you do not want to have to face for the rest of your life.”

Weber said he thought back to his police training. Just sit as close to edge of the seat as possible, and use the vehicle as a cover.

To shoot or not to shoot? Weber realized he was perfectly justified in using force in this case. But Weber decided there is only one thing he can do–hold fire.

“Drop the weapon, drop the weapon!” Weber shouted.

Weber had already called in other officers.

Weber held his fire. Officers soon arrived. Weber recognized Sgt. Mike Tillery, and deputies Jeb Harrison and Kenny Baker of the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department arriving at the scene. Selma Police officers

arrived shortly after.

The suspect decided not to shoot, and instead fled the scene. The suspect dropped his rifle and got away, but the other suspect, the driver, is caught.

Weber won the battle and as the old saying goes can live to fight another day.

“It was just a situation that really scares you as an officer,” Weber said. “These guys [the suspects] don’t really care about human life. But it just something I had to do, and I did it.” Just another day in the life of a police officer, it seems.