A City of Rehoboth Beach Road Officer Responds to a Suicide-By-Cop Call
911: Suicidal subject. A Rehoboth cop faces a man with a death wish.
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He kept driving slowly toward me. I kept cover alongside my vehicle as long as I could. As he grew closer, I prepared for the worst. I knew he was armed. I knew that he had told the negotiator he was going to force the police into a deadly force confrontation, and, most importantly, I knew that I had no cover. But all I kept saying to myself was, I don’t see his gun yet. I don’t see his gun yet. I was more worried about whether I was justified in shooting than I was for my own safety. That was an absolute mistake—a thought that has probably killed more officers than any one thing. The bottom line was that he could’ve shot me through the door, and even if he had raised his gun so that I could see it, he could act much faster than I could react.
He continued toward me. As he came alongside of me—he was maybe three feet away—we looked into each other’s eyes.
For reasons unknown, he decided that he was not going to make his stand with me, and he drove by. Immediately, all my tenseness—all the muting of my senses—disappeared. All the sounds, smells and motion around me came screaming back. I knew we had another problem: This guy needed to be stopped fast so he couldn’t play this out again in a place bustling with innocent people.
I quickly returned to my vehicle so Ray and I could pursue him. We were immediately joined by several other police cruisers from the surrounding police agencies. This wasn’t a high-speed pursuit, but rather a slow-moving snake with our subject at the head, leading the chain of flashing police lights first north and then south on Coastal Highway.
Once we got past Dewey Beach, Ray and I left the parade and blocked traffic from driving south on the highway. By now the sun was setting over the bay. Our subject pulled off near the Indian River Inlet Bridge and got himself boxed in by the police. It was there that he made his stand. He was shot and wounded by a police sniper.
It was over—this time anyway.
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