TPS E26: Confronting A Cop Killer – Ben Kelly / Seattle PD – Thingspolicesee

TPS E26: Confronting A Cop Killer – Ben Kelly / Seattle PD

In this episode I talk with Officer Ben Kelly of the Seattle Police Department.  Ben takes us through his deadly encounter with a cop killer that had targeted him as his next victim.

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hey guys it’s Steve this is episodenumber 26 of things police see thank youfor joining me in this episode I Italked with Ben Kelly of Seattle PoliceDepartmentBen takes us through the 2009 killing offour Lakewood Washington police officersthen his encounter with this same copkiller and he just he just takes usthrough the whole event it’s it’s areally intense an incredible story I’mvery thankful that Ben came on to thepodcast to share with us I think you’rereally gonna love it and I can’t waitfor you to hear it thank you forchecking us out and also if you want tobe on the show or if you have anyquestions or want to have any anycontact with me at allyou can put that through two thingspolice see at and if you likedthe show and you haven’t alreadyI appreciate it when people rate andreview it on iTunes so no further adohere’s my interview with Ben Kelly thisis Zane’s police seized first an accountwith your oast Steve GouldBen Kelly from Seattle Police Departmentthank you for coming on the show manthanks for having me we have a mutualfriend Ken Roybal he’s uh he runs policebackground dotnet and also I worked withhim at LAPD background he said you knowwho would be a great interview Ben Kellyso you were kind enough to come on Iappreciate that oh my pleasure and yeahit was fun talking with Kenda that wasprobably almost nine years ago at thispoint I think so how long have you beenan officer in Seattle I’ve been withSeattle PD for coming up on 15 years nowokay well your patrol still Patrolexcellent they called it a hard chargerright you know I don’t know as you getolder you certainly charge less hard butit that way but I I still enjoy the jobI still enjoy patrol and you know Istill it’s very rewarding on certainlevels excellent I don’t want to put youin an awkward spot so just stop me ifyou don’t want to talk about it butSeattle is like been in the spotlightthe last six months and it it’s kind ofa wild place because I see headlineswhere they they talk about the mayororders the PD not to help outimmigration and all that stuff and thatmust be just crazy to be involved inpolitics is very very unique that’s forsure you know it’s it’s probably one ofthe bigger I don’t know if stressors isthe right word we have a lot latelywe’ve been having a lot of issues withhiring and retaining officers and a bigreason for that is the kind of the localpolitics but you know I don’t care whereyou work politics is gonna come intoplay with your Police Department and youkind of just have to ignore that as muchas possible and just realize that it’ssomething that’s beyond your controlright just because it’s going on in theupper echelon doesn’t mean it’s gonnaaffect your moral compass and whatyou’re doing on the road exactly I meanyour day-to-day existence ispretty much unchanged no matter what’sgoing on and like you said the moralcompass I love that that’s what I sayall the time you have to kind of letyour moral compass be your guide yeahexactly and so is there I mean you havelike it’s funny because that is like itseems like the the battleground of likegroups like and Tifa and then like theproud boys like these two like extremistgroups meet there that must be I meanyou guys must always have your you’reright you’re ready to go anyways butthat must just be like a an addedaggravation to you know and alreadyalready policing a big city can be youknow yeah you know we we definitely geta lot of protests up here and our PoliceDepartment is pretty recognizednationally as how to at least deal withprotests since we get them so often andthe funny thing is now that we’ve kindof had some success dealing with largerprotests it seems like the protesterskind of or at least the confrontationalones have chosen to go elsewhere wheremaybe the police tactics aren’t asreadily used or you know something thatwith departments that maybe don’t havethe experience we do so it seems like alot of our larger scale protests havegone elsewhere lately yeah I did knowyou say that I just recently saw a videoonline of of you guys handling anintersection issue just it was anexcellent fast to the point response byyou guys and definitely enough foranybody thinking about causing adisturbance to maybe not want to do itthat way yeah I mean the guys I I don’treally get involved too much in theprotests or the UO as we call themunusual occurrences but the guys that doit regularly are very good at their jobyeah it was um to say it was gratifyingto watch I liked it that’s goodall right brother let’s get into itlet’s see can you tell us about the thefirst the first hot call you respondedto as a as a newwell you know it’s funny that you askthose things cuz after 15 years a lot ofthis stuff just kind of blends togetherand you know I honestly can’t remembermy first real hot call I remember myfirst call ever right out of the gatewhen I started working on my own onlybecause it was the complete opposite itwas completely lame you know you gothrough the Academy you go through FTO Imean it’s a whole process it’spractically a year before you’re on thestreets by yourself right and you youknow you’re young and naive and thinkyou’re gonna save the world and like myfirst call out of the gate was literallya dog running around causing issues thatI had to go pick up and it the dog waswearing a collar so I just scooped upthe dog and brought it home and I’m likewow that was anti-climatic but I mean Iguess the first call that really standsout and I don’t think it was probably myfirst hot call but it was fairly earlyon in my career we got a call I’mworking first watch which is like from 3o’clock in the morning to noon andsometime in the early morning hours weget a call it’s a 9-1-1 call of somesort of disturbance involving a vehicleand the dispatchers or the call takersweren’t sure if it was a car praleinterrupted or a possible carjackingthey can kind of just a car L what isthat Oh somebody breaking into a vehicleoh and the suspect has been interruptedyou know mid crime so to speak all theyknow is there’s some sort of disturbanceinvolving multiple people and what’shurt in the background or heard on thecall is you’re going to shoot me goahead and shoot me so you know they putit out as a possible carjacking with agun involved we get to the location andwe we find the vehicle in questionfairly easily it’s parked in aresidential neighborhood and there’sthree people outside of this kind orthere’s three people around this olderpickup truck two people are standingoutside the truck andperson is inside because the gun wasimplied at least during the nine one onecall we kind of treated as a high-riskvehicle stop where we just kind of parkour vehicles safe distance away and kindof call people back to us kind of thingsure and the the first two subjects amale and female who were outside of thetruck you know they’re fairly compliantand cooperative and follow ourinstructions and come back to us andthen we start trying to take the thethird guy or detain him and he’s insidethe truck and like I said it’s an olderpickup truck and you know it’s facingaway from us it has a big rear windowwhere you can look into the cab of thispickup truck fairly easy it has thelarge or long bench style seats that theolder pickup trucks used to have and wesee this guy sitting in the front seatof the pickup truck and you know westarted issuing him commands to get outof the vehicle again very just simplehigh-risk vehicle stop type tactics buthe’s refusing to come out of the truckand he keeps on reaching behind thatbench seat um and we’re like ah he’sreaching for a gun you know what what’she doing he’s just completelyuncooperativehe never presents a real lethal dangerso we continue with our commands weeventually get him to step out of thevehicle but instead of coming backtowards us he keeps on reaching backinto the truck through the open car doorand I just I just distinctly rememberthinking we may end up shooting this guyand you know I remember that’s the firsttime that I ever thought that on the joband you know eventually we gainedcontrol of him I think basically once wegot him far enough away from the truckwhere he couldn’t reach back into it weended up just running up and picked pileand I’m kind ofthing and it turned out basically thewhole call was a big nothing you know asan argument over you know crack or somesort of prostitution activity wheresomebody was unhappy no gun was everinvolved somebody was just bluffing thatthey had a gun and this guy he wasessentially this this one suspect thatwas very uncomplaining with us was justhe was a diabetic and he was trying toget his insulin shots because he waskind of starting to feel a little out ofit and he kept on reaching back into thecar and reaching behind the car seattrying to get his insulin and I justremember just that just being such acrazy crazy call where you’re like oh mygod we might have to shoot this guy andit turns out to be just nothing yeahthat makes sense cuz when you’re whenyou’re having a diabetic low or high orwhatever he was having you can’t likeprocess information right so you’regiving them commands but he might noteven be hearing them or maybe he’s justlike so desperate for what he needs he’snot listening I mean there’s actuallycase law on that right didn’t adepartment detain a guy in diabetes andhe ended up dying because they were hewas combative they’re trying to questionhim he was out of control and it turnsout he needed his medicine and the endup croaking I believe that was Graham VConnor wasn’t it you know that set thewhole precedent for you knowreasonableness and use of force on lawenforcement on law enforcement Parkeryeah yeah I think you’re right that wasago I should I should have rememberedthat the police academy a long time agoright yeah that’s that’s a good oneyou guys so you guys had guns drawn howmany of you were there it’s probably itsfirst watch which means that we’re notstaffed great but it was probably almosteverybody on the watch i we probably hadsix or seven units there and yeah itguns out again treating it very muchlike a high-risk vehicle stop and againit’s kind of one of those life lessonswhere calls when they come out of aradio calls it sound really chaotic andjust nuts end up being fairly tamefairly tame calls where you’re like ahthis is so routine turn into the be thatthe really crazy ones right now that isthat’s uh that’s a definite stressfulcall thing you’re gonna have to shootsomeone can you can you describe a callthat you went to that’s you you thinkwas bizarre or just really strange wellI mean the big one that everybody wantsto hear about or talk about wasn’t evenreally a call I was working I was now onThird Watch and work in South Seattlestill I’ve been South Seattle my entirecareer but this involves the Lakewoodpolice shootings back in 2009 and I meanat the time there was all there was somuch going on in this around the areaHalloween night of 2009 we had anofficer killed basically an FTO wastraining a rookie officer in the City ofSeattle they go out make a traffic stopthey finished the traffic stop they pullaround the corner to kind of just goover and debrief the traffic stop but asfar as what went right what went wrongand a gunman basically just pulled upalongside their police vehicle andopened fire with an assault riflekilling the FTO and wounding the studentand driving off you know it was a bigmanhunt obviously nobody had any ideawho this guy was or why he was shootingat cops you know it turns out he wascaught like a week latershortly after Tim Brenton’s memorial Timbeing the FTO that was murdered and ityou know basically it just turned outthat this guy had a grudge against copsand he was attempting to wage a one-manwar against police officers so that wasHalloween 2009 in the city of Seattlefast forward a month to Thanksgivingweekend and in a suburb of Tacoma justyou know probably 40 50 miles south ofSeattle a lone gunman walks into acoffee shop where four officers are kindof meeting to go over a call and do somepaperworkjust outside the city of Lakewood andopens fire on the four officers killingall four and because of what justhappened a month earlier in Seattle withthis kind of lone gunman not shootingpolice officers for no apparent reasonthe area was already kind of on edge andnow this is a obviously settingeverybody over yeah so Maurice Clemensis identified as the suspect fairlyearly on in the investigation this allkind of happened on my day off I was notat work I was sleeping when it allhappened I wake up and my phone had justblown up I’ve got like a thousand textmessages on my phone and at the time Ihardly ever got taxed so I’m like uh-ohwhat’s going on and the first text thatI get is just it just says been beep becareful please so on my oh crapsomething happens so I mean Iimmediately turn on the TV or get on theinternet to find out what’s going on andI find that for Lakewood officers hadessentially been ambushed and murderedand the suspect was on the loose andagain this is coming a month after thesame thing kind of happened in Seattlewell all four of them were killed allfour and you know at first there wasvery little information going on orcoming out but what ended up happeningis theeffect had a relative in the city ofSeattle and ended up coming to the Cityof Seattle trying to find some sort ofrefuge from the manhunt and so I want tosay it was later that night maybe it wasthe next night Seattle PD thought theyhad the suspect contained in a housewithin the city limits it becomes a hugeSWAT call-out hnt I mean it’s just a bigprolonged thing that the news media wasactually covering live like on Twitteror wave or whatever the the big platformwas at the time and it it turns out youknow it turns into this like 13 hourstandoff at this house where eventuallySWAT teams went into the house and thesuspect wasn’t there he had somehowmanaged to slip containment beforeeverything kind of got going so I comeinto work the next day and we know thatwe have the suspect from the theLakewood shooting in the he’s in thecity we he’s it’s a confirmed sightingwe know it’s him in the city and we hadbecause I go into my roll call it’s justregular patrol roll call but one of ourpatrol sergeants he’s the sergeant forthe hostage negotiations team and he wasinvolved in this 13 hour standoff thenight before so he was able to provideus a lot of information in roll callthat we weren’t really getting throughnormal channels and he basically told usyes Maurice Clemens is confirmed to bein the city he had been actually shotand wounded by one of the Lakewoodofficers during the shooting down therewe knew that he was armed with one ofthe Lakewood officers duty weapons andwe pretty much knew that he was notgonna go down without a fight now wasthis so was it a must have been a riflethat he took the guys out with no it wasjust hewent into the coffee shop with twohandguns one semi-automatic I can’tremember it may have been a Glock but II could be wrong there and one revolverWowhe ended up I I want to say that he shotthe first tool a cop lakewood officerswith the semi-automatic and had amalfunction and then got into a setessentially a physical altercation withthe remaining two lakewood officersproduced the the revolver and then endedup killing the the other two officerswith the revolver wow that’s insane andhe left both weapons at the scene andended up taking one of the Lakewoodofficers guns and I believe the lastLakewood officer was actually killedwith his own gun and the suspect tookthe duty weapon and basically fled withthe officers duty weapon okay got it soyou know I I had all this information inroll call it was put out again it wasgood information because it wasn’tinformation that we were getting throughnormal channels this was all simplybecause one of our patrol sergeants washeavily involved in the barricadesituation the previous eveningand I remember leaving roll call don’tthinking very clearly remember thinkingsomebody some officer in Seattle isgoing to get into a shootout with thisguy and all things beanie well I’drather it not be me yeah I’ve had peopleI’ve had people question you know thatkind of thoughts because you know aspolice officers we all kind of we allwant to be the heromore or less it’s you know that’s kindof why you get into the job the nobilityof it alland here is kind of like the policeequivalent of coming to bat in theseventh game of the World Series and theninth bottom of the ninth being down bythree runs with the bases loaded kind ofthing and it’s like I guess in a lawenforcement perspective is it’s such abig huge moment that you kind of almostwant to be a part of it in some wayshape or form but I had the completeopposite feeling I was just like this isnot this is because the big concern onmy point on my part at the time was thisguy is just a faceless guy he looks likeanybody else out there we are drivingaround and big bright cars with lightswearing a very obvious uniform you knowwho we are long before we know who he isand chances are based on what happeneddown in Lakewood I mean you’re gonnayou’re gonna be dead before you evenknow what’s going on and it’s mostlikely going to be the officersresponding to you being shot they’regonna be in a better position to dosomething about it but I mean in my mindthe first contact with this guy is thatofficers a sacrificial lamp and I am NOTall that keen on being the sacrificiallamb yeah of coursedistantly he is the high ground thewhole this whole situation yeah it justseems like a completely unwinnablesituation for whoever he happened tocome across and you know lo and beholdas luck would have it I ended up beingthat guy and it so we go on through ourshift you know of course this is at theforefront of everybody’s mind what’sgoing on and that we have a cop killeron the loose in the city of Seattle butthat doesn’t stop real life fromhappening you know it’s just the shiftcontinued on as normal you have yournormal everydaycalls life went on right right so in thecourse of your shift you’re doing yourroutine police work your usual day today type stuff and you kind of forget II can honestly say that I kind of forgotabout what had happened and the suspectbeing on the loose and I’m just doing myjob right it was a fairly quiet nightreally the only thing that of notehappening during the shift is we hadlike three people report the vehiclestolen which is not uncommon for thecity of seattle city of seattle hasalways been very were one of the youknow highest rates of auto theftsprobably in the country but it was oddfor third watch hours to have threereported vehicle thefts simply becausepeople are usually asleep and they don’trealize their car has been stolen untilthey wake up in the morning the missilesso we get a lot of stolen cars howeverit’s like I said it’s just uncommon thatwe had three reports of vehicles beingstolen in a very small geographic areaover the course of a very small amountof time and the last vehicle that wasreported as stolen I’m like you knowwhat I bet you I can find this carrolling around somewhere in these andthe residential streets of the the areathat I worked so I’m just cruisingaround looking for the stolen vehiclesand I come across one of them that hadbeen stolen probably like three hoursearlier I’m just driving down and beenyour resident you’re in South PortlandI’m South Seattle right asociado andthat’s is that like residential or it’syeah it’s mostly residential it’s beennicely referred to as a working-classneighborhood it’s it’s probably I guessone of the rougher parts of Seattle ifyou could say Seattle has any roughparts likelike it’s it’s it’s a more of a highcrime area a lot of gangs a lot of drugsand a lot of the street crime that comesalong with those things gotchaso I’m just cruising down theresidential street looking for thesestolen vehicles and I find one of thesestolen vehicles just parked alongsidethe road it’s idling the hood is up butthere’s nobody in the in the vehicle soI you know I pull up behind it I startprocessing it like I like anybody wouldfor an unoccupied stolen recovery Iupdate radio with my location and letthem know what I have and as I’m makingmy radio transmission I’m looking in myrearview mirror and I see a guy that hihad just passed within the last blockwalking down the middle of the streettowards me and you know it’s it’s like2:30 in the morning 2:40 in the morningnobody’s out it’s fairly quietthere’s not a whole lot of reason forpeople to be out and about it – 2:40 inthe morning in this residentialneighborhood and this guy’s just walkingdown the middle of the streettowards my patrol vehicle and I’m likeok this is a little unusual he’s I’mbehind the stolen vehicle but he’scoming from the opposite direction soyou know I’m like he may be associatedwith the stolen vehicle but I can’t saythat he came out of the vehicle becausehe’s coming from the complete oppositedirection right you know so my mindsjust going what does this guy want whatis he doing you know it could besomething as simple as he’s out lookingfor his lost dog and just wants to comeup and ask me if I’ve seen it or youknow at worst case scenario I’m thinkingmaybe he’s involved with this stolenvehicle that I just found but what isvery obvious to me is heto come up and talk to me I mean he’sjust kind of walking towards my patrolvehicle with a purpose so I decide I’mgonna get out of my vehicle and find outwhat this guy wants I exit my patrolvehicle he’s continuing to walk up to mehe’s reaching like the rear bumper of mypatrol vehicle as I exit my vehicle andhe’s still walking up on to me with apurpose with his head down not sayinganything not doing anything other thanapproaching me and and he’s starting toget close enough to me and you knowwalking up with enough speed and purposethat I think that he’s gonna get just alittle closer than I want him to be he’skind of kind of invade my personal spaceso I’m bringing my hand up to kind ofbasically just make sure that he’s goingto stop well short of getting too closeto me right and as I bring my hand upthat’s when he looks up for the firsttime and I immediately recognize thisguy as the suspect from the Lakewoodhomicides oh my gosh that is so chillingand yeah and I just it’s funny it wasinstantaneous I knew exactly who he wasand you know obviously I’m thinking okayI’m behind the eight ball here this is avery very bad situation when he waswalking up to me I could see thatnothing was in his hands but you knowfirst instincts kick in I’m drawing downon this guy I’m breaking out my dutyweapon and I’m just basically yelling athim for to show me his hands how closedid he get to you I just outside ofarm’s distance okay I mean he’s a couplefeet from me so as soon as I startbreaking leather on my my duty weaponand drawing and yelling at him he kindof gives me this oh craplook where he knows that he’s been madeand I know who he is and now he’s got tobasically react to me reacting right sohis hands immediately jump into hiswaistband area he’s wearing you know ahoodie I believe he was wearing kind oflike sweatpants or a tracksuit pants orsomething odd like that but his handsare kind of going to his waistband areahis hoodie had one of those pockets thatyou have out in front you know the bigpockets that you can stick your hands inon either side yeah and I’m not sure ifhe’s going for the pocket of the hoodieor if he’s just going for the waistbandof the pants that he’s wearing but itseemed very obvious to me that he wasgoing someplace where people commonlycarried guns and I know that this guyhas a gun based on what I was told inroll call so it was very eye I mean youyou click into training mode and it wasvery obvious to me that this guy isgoing for a gun and I needed to dosomething quickly so I shot three timesAdam as he starts kind of he neverstopped moving once once he knew he wasmade he basically started skirtingaround me and basically moving aroundcompletely to the opposite side of meand he ends up running between my patrolvehicle and the stolen car which isparked in front and now he’s starting torun as fast as he can and basically he’sgot three rounds of them in him at thispoint yes I fired three rounds and he’staken off but he did not react in anyway shape or formhe didn’t stumble he didn’t you knowmake any exclamations he didn’t give anykind of gruntgroan I had no indication I thought Imissed I really did because I got noresponse from him whatsoever other thanhim now running and basically the way hekind of ran around me he’s kind of in myopinion trying to flank me and get intoa better position of advantage you knowhe’s going to try to do all the thingsthat we do as police officers she’sgonna try to find time space shieldingsome sort of cover concealment somethingright in order to kind of engage me buthe runs in between the my patrol vehiclein the stolen vehicle and he startsmaking his way to this house which isjust north of where we are just on thestreet that we’re on and he’s running tothis big huge hedge that lines theproperty of this house and so I’mthinking alright he’s running behind thehedge and it’s probably in my bestinterest that he’s he’s basicallylooking for a place to engage me I Ineed to get as many rounds I missed himone of my first three shots I need toget as many rounds onto him as I canwhile he’s still a good targetessentially so I’ve never been in anofficer-involved shooting or anythinglike or involved in one but um I’massuming like just from doing thetraining in the sea munitions and allthat stuff like you fire I mean it’slike people say you don’t see your frontsights you just fire you point and youshoot and it code happens quickly rightI mean the rounds come boom boom boomfire right off is that did you find thatto be true oh absolutely yeah frontsight forget about it I mean yeah thingsare happening so quickly and sochaotically that you don’t have time tothink and process your training doeskick in and you will certainly do whatyou’re trained to do but those finerdetails like front sight very hard toconcentrate on those are happening at amillionan hour right in front of you and thefunny thing is too that as quickly asthings are happening your brain kind ofdoes at least for me it does some veryweird stuff predictably you have I hadthe auditory exclusion that a lot ofpeople report and officer-involvedshootings where I heard my shots butthey were extremely muffled and asquickly as everything is happening yourmind is processing all this informationand what seems to be a very routine ormethodical way and I remember thinkingwow those gunshots my gunshots are veryquiet but I bet they’re very loud toeverybody else around and people aregonna now be calling in 9-1-1 saying youknow gunshots isn’t that funny you wereyou were like cognizant of the fact thatlike for you it wasn’t but for everyoneelse it’s gonna be yeah and it seemedlike that that thought process wasactually going on much slower than theactions that were going on around meit’s very weird to describe that youkind of have these two really oppositetimelines going on at the same time wellit is I’ve heard of that before I’veheard of things slowing down and beingstrange before it’s very interesting andyeah I mean it’s it’s very very hard toexplain and then the next thing thathappens in between so I made thedecision that I was going to continue toshoot at this guy but there was a therewas a short gap between my two volleysand in that short gap and it probablywasn’t any longer than a half a secondin real life but again your mind isprocessing things and I distinctlyremember when I first pulled the triggerI was 100% sure of who my target waswhat he had done and the danger that heposed but in that half secondbetween volleys all of a sudden now thatdoubt kind of creeps in of like geez youbetter be rightsure and because if you’re wrong this isequally bad and it’s so odd that you yougo from 100% sure to I you know maybe Idropped down to about 98 percent surebut that 2% of doubt that creeped in wasvery i I don’t know what the word wouldbe tangible I guess and I rememberhaving to fight that out of my mindgoing nope if you you’re in for a pennyyou’re in for a pound and if you were ifyou were a hundred percent sure continueto be a hundred percent sure and I kindof battled through that momentary alittle bit of hesitation I guess youwould call call it and put my secondvolley of rounds onto the suspect ashe’s running into this front yardsurrounded by a huge hedge again got noreaction from him from my second volleyand he makes it into this yard andbehind this hedge and at this point hecan be anywhere I no longer have avisual of him you know I’m not sure ishe continuing to run away from me or ishe trying to again continue to flank memy mindset at the time was he is goingto re-engage me in some way shape orform and you need to be prepared forthat right so the first thing that Itried to do is get out on my radio tolet other people know what’s going onand I ended up getting I don’t know whatother police departments refer to it asbut my radio transmission didn’t gothrough and in Seattle when yourtransmission doesn’t go through yourradio makes a big noise that we call abonk it just goesand you’re like so you know thatwhatever you were trying to communicateisn’t going through well I got bonked soso I’m like okay I’ll retry so I keyback up on the radio and get bonked fora second time now getting a littlefrustrated because obviously you’re in asituation where you want backup comingvery very quickly and I’m not even ableto get out over the radio right Iremember that from where I used to workit was uh all those radios use repeatersystems so if I can’t get a clear paththrough the repeaters it goes like Ohlike makes that noiseexactly right no you’re saying sobecause I can’t get out on and I wastrying to make the radio transmission onmy portable and because of the radioissue because I had just engaged thisguy with my handgun and didn’t seem tohave any effect I have a shotgun in mypatrol vehicle so I’m like well if thisguy’s going to re-engage me obviously Ineed to do it with something that has alittle more accuracy than my handgun soI’m gonna jump into my patrol vehicleI’m gonna grab my shotgun and while I’min my patrol vehicle I’ll use the patrolvehicle radio to make the radio callbecause generally speaking there’s alittle bit more power in the vehicleradios so hopefully I should be able toget through rightso pop the shotgun out of the rack getit on the car radio and immediately I amnow bonked on the car radio for now thethird time oh so I’m like okay well Iguess I’m kind of on my own I best getmyself in the best defensive positionthat I can so I get back out of the carI throw my shotgun right over the roofof my patrol vehicle and those days wehad the crown vics so it’s very easy andwith the top of the Crown Vic is a verycomfortable height to throw a long gunover and just basically use the patrolvehicle as a bit of coverand try to figure out where this guywhere the suspects going to pop up nextand reengage me right so I’m just kindof covering down on all thepossibilities and trying out for thefourth time to get out on the radiothis time again back on my portable andmy radio transmission finally wentthrough so I was able to put out shotsfiredI had the suspect from the the Lakewoodhomicides out he was last seennorthbound running through a yard andyou know people were answering up and Icould hear everybody I mean essentiallyeverybody was coming oh I can imaginethat was a electrifying transmission forthe whole department city yeah I meanthe I’m willing to bet that just aboutevery officer in the entire city if notin the surrounding County area was inroute because by the by the end of it wehad neighboring jurisdictions there butso I’m just sitting there waiting forthe cavalry to show up essentially andtrying to cover myself and protectmyself as best as I can and I see thesuspect kind of behind the hedge that hehad run around initially but at thispoint he had collapsed and he was on theground and essentially the only thing Icould see was his head around the cornerof this hedge that he had run behind andlike I said he’s down on the ground he’slooking at me and he has obviously beenstruck by my gunfire and he is and myrounds were good good hits because he isgoing into kind of like death rattle youknow I started trying to issue himcommands initially and I could tell veryquickly that he is not in any shape tocomply with any commands even if hewanted to rightso it’s weird I’m just sitting therewe’re kind of looking at each otherwe’re face-to-face I’m still I’ve gotthe shotgun out you know I’m looking athim basically down the barrel of myshotgun and I’m just holding on himuntil other units arrive and you know itactually it probably wasn’t that longone of the fortunate things aboutworking police a police job and a anurban environment is backup is usuallyfairly quickly or readily available toyou unlike you know some Countysheriff’s deputies where you have towait half hour 45 minutes for backup mybackup was there probably within aminute Wow probably felt a lot longerthough right it did feel a lot longerthan a minute but going back andwatching video and radio transmissionsand stuff like that yeah they werebackup a lot of units were thereprobably within a minute and when youblend this happened when their lightscoming on in the neighborhood wherepeople coming out to the street I neversaw anybody it still remained very veryquiet and desolate like you wouldimagine a residential neighborhood wouldbe at 2:45 in the morning right I kindof again I had that thought process thatyes what what I’m doing out here isgoing to attract of a lot of attentionbut I never saw or heard anybody elseoutside of the police sirens come in mydirection a lot of are you having tomanipulate a flashlight during thiswhole time or is he kind of in an areayou can see him without that I did nothave a flashlight out the streetlightsgave you enough ambient light to kind ofsee okay I guess it was still dark inspots but when I brought the shotgun outwe had a weapon mounted lighting systemon our shotguns at the time and I wasable to use that weapon mounted light tobasically illuminate the suspect when hewas down on the ground so I couldclearly see clearly see himso like I said I’m just sitting therewe’re looking at each other for thisminute that it’s taken for the the backup to to arrive and I remember tellinghim Ken when I talked to him all thoseyears ago that I’d like to think thatthe last thing that Clemens remembers orthe last thought that he had was apolice officer looking down the barrelof a gun at him because that’s what itwas I mean I it’s just me and himlooking at each other me down the barrelof the shotgun and by the time backupgot there we formed up a contact team wewent up and basically took him intocustody put handcuffs on him obviouslybrought brought him out to the streetfor medics to come take a look at himbut he was he was pronounced dead at thescene so I mean that’s the story itturns out that I ended up hitting himI fired seven rounds so a volley ofthree followed by a volley of four I hadstruck him four times three three of therounds were all lethal rounds and goodhits and I’m assuming there’s no way toknow for sure but I’m assuming thatthose first three lethal good hits werethe first three rounds that I fired andthen I had a fourth round that was kindof like a throw and through to his legor something again presumably while hewas running away trying to get behindthat hedge that’s incredible I mean whatI’m curious what what caliber weaponsidearm do you guys carry at the time Icarried a the Glock 40 so it was a 40caliber we use spear gold dot rounds Ibelieve it was a 180 grain I could bewrong it’s been a while since I nowcarry a 9-millimeter just because thethe advances in the ammunition isto the point where you know 9-millimeterround seem to be just as effective asfar as the wounds that they create as a40-caliber and having those extra roundsis very at least this kind of incidentbrought it to the forefront for me itdoesn’t really matter how effective yourrounds are handgun rounds are notimmediate stopping right there you’renot gonna drop somebody normally withhandgun rounds and the best way to stopthe thread essentially is to just put asmany rounds as you possibly can and letthat oil pressure just bottomed out asquickly as possible and the only way youcan do that is with multiple multiplerounds right yeah and then with the9-millimeter the followup accuracy ismuch better too I’m sureyeah 40 marks like the devil himselfyeah is what I used to call the 9 is avery smooth firing weapon and the fouror five rounds extra rounds that it giveyou might make all the difference andyou’re not it doesn’t seem like you’resacrificing a whole lot as far asfirepower goes these days so to me thenine is an obvious choice now obviouslypeople have their own personalpreferences and hey what works for youis what works for you but a nine worksfor me and but at the time it was the 40gotcha and and this was an oh nine yesso do you think it would have um whatwas the aftermath like for you and IIlike this you think it’d be a lotdifferent in with the climate with theclimate of politics today you know seemslike they scrutinize even you know thebest I mean totally clean shoe but itdoesn’t doesn’t really seem to matterpeople always sue or they’re always tryto find fault you know this one was justso unique thatyeah and yes police work is verydifferent now than it was back in 2009just ten years ago but the planets andthehours aligned on this one in such a waythat I don’t think it there was never anissue at the time and to this day Idon’t think even if it happened today Idon’t think that this is the case thatwould rise to the level of people publicoutrage like a lot of police shootingsare these daysI mean this one was just so cut and dryand obvious he’s a bonafide cop killeryes you do I mean it was like I said ithad really nothing to do with any of myactions it was just the circumstancessurrounding everything it was just theperfect storm of circumstances where itwas very hard to question anything aboutwhat had happened and why it happened ohyeah I mean it sounds like a totalobviously a very very clean shootingsounds uh sounds crazy man that must uhyou must’ve been jacked up for a whileafter that yeah though that was that wasthat took a lot a lot of time to processand the biggest thing that and to thisday I still don’t have an answerobviously you can’t get an answerbecause he’s deadbut I I don’t know what his thoughtprocess was you know why wasn’t heapproaching me on by the way I guess Ididn’t add this into the story becauseit is kind of important but I’ve toldthe story so many times that I clonicglossed over it when when we took himinto custody he did have the Lakewoodofficers duty weapon on him he wastrying to pull it out when I engaged himso yes he was he had a gun he was goingfor the gun he obviously his intent wasthat I mean there’s no doubt in my mindthat only one of us was going to walkaway from that encounter regardless ifit was yeah either him or mefortunately I came out on the right sideof things but the what kept me up atnight for a long time afterwards was whydidn’t he walk up prepared to get into agun battle yeah he obviously knew thatyou know what was gonna happen you knowhe knew that he was going to try to killme why wasn’t he prepared earlierand you know like I said I I’m nevergonna have an answer for that so Istopped kind of carrying at some pointin time but I mean if he had doneanything different it would have been acompletely different outcome if he hadwalked up to me with the gun in his handI probably wouldn’t have had time toreact if instead of trying to skirtaround me when I first recognized himand as I’m drawing my weapon if he hadjust continued to charge me and take medown he was a bigger stronger guybecause yeah what was it physicallywhat’s his description they how aboutbig he was he was like 5 foot 9 250 260pounds and the way that the it wasdescribed to me from his autopsy andstuff like that he was just he wasprison strong is what they referred to Imean he was just built like a brickshithouse if you don’t mind my saying soyeah so he could have quite easilyoverpowered me a matter of fact whathappened down in Lakewood during theinitial shooting was he ended upoverpowering two different policeofficers I mean this guy was physicallystrong and had the ability to to getinto a physical struggle fightaltercation grappling match and mostlikely come out victorious was I meanI’m at the time I was I’m like 511probably 190 200 pounds so he had me bylike sixty pounds and I’m willing to bethe was stronger than me soagain if he had charged me and tried totake me to the ground things would haveturned out very differently or if he hadjust approached and was willing to shootme immediately obviously I wouldn’t haveeven had time to react and things wouldhave turned out very differently but youknow things didn’t work out that way andI just decided that it’s not worth mytime and effort to try to figure out whyno not at alldid he say a word during this wholething not nothing not even a noise thatfreaks me out that’s like and he musthave like it must have been just a toucha touch of mental illness mixed with thecockiness from his prior engagementswith police or you know what I mean yeahit’s so freaky you know obviously afterthe fact it was fairly well documentedthat he is was having some sort ofpsychotic Urso psychosis where he wasdetached from a reality to a certainextent but post autopsy he had no drugsor alcohol in his system he was justgoing on pure I don’t know hatredadrenaline who knows Wow now can yougive officers advice for coping withgoing through something like that whathelped you to kind of process that andget through it you know my scarring I Idon’t mind at all but see one storyleads into another and it’s we can talkfor hours and I’m sure that you justdon’t have that kind of time but whathelped quite honestly was I ended upconnecting with the student officer thathad just gone through a similarcircumstance a month prior when when Timwas shot and killed and because thesetwo incidences happened in such closeproximity to each other you know as faras time and distance people lumped thesetwo police shootings together and me andthat student officer found ourselvesthrust together quite a bit and becausewe had gone through similar typeexperiences we were able to rely on eachother and you know talk to each otherabout what was going on and it was justnice to have somebody to speak to thatyou felt understood and that helped alot okay so the I hear that nationallyseems like a lot of apartments are theyhave they have officers assigned atgroups like that even regionally that itwhen there’s a shooting they can that’sa resource that sounds seems like peopleguys from other shootings and stuff canmeet up with you and talk with you andthat seems like the best way to yeahthat’s what we refer to it as I’m sureit’s got different acronyms across thecountry but sysm critical incidentstress managementso basically you know you’re offered youhave the opportunity to sit down andtalk with somebody that’s kind of atleast gone through some training andmost likely has gone through a criticalincident stress management situationthemselves and you know something thatyou can talk to it’s not what whateverdiscussion you have is private it is notadmissible in any court proceedings oranything like that any administrativeproceedings it’s just an opportunity foryou to essentially vent and speak tosomebody that’s been there themselvesyeah and oh I have another question I’mcurious about um I know I know you’vegot to go to ship so I won’t hold you tomuch longer a lot of departments havedifferent policies on it but when yourdepartment has a shooting do they whenthey take the take your gun to the issueanother one right away or do you do notget one I just I was a farms instructorfor years and I always thought it wasmessed up when departments would takethe gun and not give it back it’s kindof like saying we don’t trust you youknow what I mean yes no and I’ve heardthat story from other departments andstuff like that but Seattle has alwaysbeen very good withyou know again there’s exceptions toevery rule but the rule is I’ve beeninvolved in the course of my career inanother officeinvolved shooting and it’s the theprocess had changed between my shootingsand initially for the my first shootingwith the Lakewood incident our homicidedepartment conducted the investigationand so basically I was taken from thescene up to the homicide office I wasadvised of my Garrity rights they tookmy gun and immediately issued anothergun oh it’s great and then the secondtime that I was involved the process hadchanged quite a bit based on localpolitics and things that had happenedwhere now we created a specialty unitthat their entire existence was toinvestigate officer-involved shootingsand high levels of uses of force becausefor whatever reason the public felt thatthe homicide detectives investigatingwas not as transparent as it should beor you know was fraught with thepotential for cover-up or somethingalong those lines so what created thisspecialty unit that they’re like I saidtheir entire existence was justbasically to investigateofficer-involved shootings andhigh-level uses the force so the secondtime I was again taken to an office butthe same thing happened you know theytake my they take my duty weapon butimmediately issued me a replacement soI’ve never had to go through any kind ofstigma as far as I felt like thedepartment was second-guessing me or youknow not entirely trusting of me oh it’sgreat uh my Seattle Police Departmentand we have our issues just like anyother department but they have alwaystreated me very well and I I don’t haveany kind ofgripes or concerns with how I’ve beentreated post any incident then beforeyou go could you give some advice to newofficers who are coming on the job umwell the first thing I would say is keepin mind always keep in mind just becauseyou can doesn’t mean you should and Iusually talk to younger officers and usethat line when it comes to drivingbecause just drive a hundred miles anhour doesn’t mean that you should youknow just because it’s legallypermissible if it’s not a good decisiondon’t do it is basically what I’m sayingand it comes into play with legalaspects as well I mean where and aspolice officers as a whole as aprofession where we get ourselves intotrouble is when somebody asks us why didyou do that then our response is becauseI can and this is where we get legalprecedent set the courts do not takevery kindly to that answer you have tobe able to articulate yourself a littlebit better than because it’s legallypermissible because that’s when thecourts will say oh no longer it is notyou no longer have that ability and itaffects all of us so before you doanything think about it for a second andjust because the law allows you to do itdoesn’t necessarily mean that it’s thebest thing to do and you certainlyshould be able to articulate a betterreason for doing whatever it is you’redoing that’s solid advice Ben thank youso much for coming on the show mensounds like you’ve had up you’ve had agreat career so far and I’d love to haveyou back some time if you’re willing ohabsolutely it’s thanks for having me onthe show I don’t know how much you’regonna be able to you know put togethermy rambling thoughts here but Iappreciate you getting in touch no manit was it was it was fantastic and Ireally appreciate it man but um I’ll bein touch thank you so much take care youtoo

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