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1

I'm 100% o.k. with how this was handled.

Posted by Mr. Poe | December 26, 2007 4:37 PM
2

I have no idea if there is a good, nonlethal way for cops to handle these situations. I know that they shot a guy in the leg in Lethal Weapon, making a big deal about how you can take a guy down that way, but cops never do it. Is that because it's too hard to shoot someone in the leg as opposed to the torso? I'd guess yes.

Posted by Matt from Denver | December 26, 2007 4:46 PM
3

A trooper arrives, tasers there man, but it has no effect.

Is there no editor nearby?

Posted by Wolf | December 26, 2007 4:49 PM
4

Not long ago, I actually talked with a friend of mine who's a cop about this exact same thing. Why are cops always fatally shooting someone when they could just wing them? Turns out the theory is this: if the taser doesn't take them down, neither will a bullet in an extremity (leg, arm, hand, etc.). I guess it makes sense, but it still sucks.

Posted by Matt Fuckin' Hickey | December 26, 2007 4:50 PM
5

Matt from Denver: it's much harder to accurately plant a bullet in the legs of someone who's running, plus it's not necessarily much less likely to be fatal. If the bullet cuts the femoral artery, your target will likely bleed out and die in a matter of minutes.

Posted by Doctor Memory | December 26, 2007 4:52 PM
6

You want something with a fatality rate partway between a taser and a gun? How about tigers? Recent data I have shows tiger attacks are 33.3% fatal.

Posted by elenchos | December 26, 2007 4:53 PM
7

he leaves the car carrying his kids & runs down the highway whipping other cars with his belt?

WTF kind of drugs were those?

Posted by max solomon | December 26, 2007 4:58 PM
8

Ummm... non-lethal way to take down a(n alleged) drugged-out psycho? One who was actively trying to harm people and assaulting a police officer? One who was reported (by somebody in his own car, according to this story) to have a gun? Not really, no. I'm glad the trooper shot this guy.

I'd trust Mike Cheek to protect my life, anyway. Plus he looks great in his uniform.

Posted by Um, no. | December 26, 2007 4:59 PM
9

I am a little surprised at the questioning about shooting someone in the leg. I guess all lovey liberal people never think about these things.

As someone who is more libertarian and carries a gun, its obvious why they always go for a torso shot.

Dead people can't testify and/or sue when they are disabled for life from being shot in the leg. period. its not about disabling someone, its all about liability.

That being said, the trooper attempted to use the taser as a "less than lethal" and then had to shoot him. I hate tasers but I am ok with this one.

Posted by meanie | December 26, 2007 5:03 PM
10

Meanie: it's a cute story, but I don't buy it. Your target's surviving relatives are just as likely to bring suit on pain/suffering/lost-wages grounds as your target. And in any case, we're not talking about a private gun-owner taking someone down, we're talking about a duly sworn-in police officer, who is as close to immune from civil liability in this case as it's possible to get. (Even if someone does bring suit, the police department and union would fight it tooth and claw with a near-certain expectation of victory.)

Posted by Doctor Memory | December 26, 2007 5:07 PM
11

I got drunk off coors lite and orange juice in nyc. nyc is so much better than seattle that I am kind of depressed going back.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | December 26, 2007 5:18 PM
12

This sad event sounds fucked up from A to Z. Dan I think the damage to the kids was done long before the Dad jumped into moving traffic. I bet the home life of the kids was freaky. This final act on his part was just one more in a long string of events; I would suspect. Maybe the kids' suffering is over?

Posted by Sargon Bighorn | December 26, 2007 5:26 PM
13

I doubt anyone here advocating the shoot-him-in-the-leg approach has ever fired a handgun, much less been faced with a live attacker at close range.  To put it kindly, the idea is unrealistic.

Posted by lostboy | December 26, 2007 5:30 PM
14

There are a number of things that have me puzzled about this incident. One is that, apparently for jurisdictional reasons, everyone waited 15 minutes for a single state trooper to show, instead of Federal Way police responding. Secondly, the guy assaulted the trooper with his belt and tried to choke him. If there was a gun around, he was taking his time reaching for it. There's a good chance this guy is dead because he freaked out on I-5 instead of a city street. Which is sad.

Posted by MvB | December 26, 2007 5:41 PM
15

I'm a card carrying bleeding heart liberal, and I'm for giving the cop the benefit of doubt.

I'm not sure how many years ago it was, maybe 5, in Newcastle when a naked guy was disrupting traffic and a cop showed up to keep the peace. Naked guy gets the cop's gun and shoots him in the head in front of all the people in traffic.

There is a very good reason why cops don't just "wing them" to slow them down. It is because if a cop is not in immediate danger, or protecting others from immediate danger, then he or she should not pull the trigger.

If you are a bleeding heart liberal like me, you don't want the cops to start kneecapping sea turtles during protests.

If the situation does not require a couple of immediate rounds to the torso, then no rounds should be discharged.

Could this have turned out differently? Maybe. Like maybe if the father in this family could have been involuntarily committed to a treatment program that addresses the medical problem of substance abuse and mental illness sometime before he jumped into traffic with his pants down and his belt swinging.

How many of you want to bet that he's used that belt as a weapon before, maybe in privacy with his wife and kids.

Poor, poor drunk violent psycho.

Posted by Rain Monkey | December 26, 2007 5:57 PM
16

Dan, maybe you should talk to a cop and get her/his opinion. My dad use to be a cop (30 years ago) and people just don't go down easily when they are on drugs or drunk and fighting...even when whacked in the head with nunchucks. Don't believe everything you read, the media distorts stories all the time.

Posted by Mr. Designer | December 26, 2007 6:17 PM
17

"He runs through traffic on I-5...", the man probably didn't want to live in the first place. Being on drug might just give him the spunk to have himself killed somehow. Agreed with @12, the kids probably are better off without him. Wish they didn't witness the shooting.

Posted by VDD | December 26, 2007 6:20 PM
18

Did you ever watch Die Hard? If are police force were full of 7 foot tall burly german men, they could probably take a strung-out nut. Maybe genetic engineering (or selection, yay IVF) is the answer.

Posted by Joshua | December 26, 2007 6:25 PM
19

He attacked the trooper in a siuation (on the freeway) that put the tropper's safety at risk. The trooper was under no obligation to put his life at risk by attempting to subdue him with less forceful means.
This one will be open and shut.

Posted by kinaidos | December 26, 2007 6:39 PM
20

If the suspect fathered two children while still a teen, it sounds like the deceased invited trouble just by dropping his pants and never learned better.

I suspect the law enforcement community remembers King County Deputy Herzog.

Posted by i love my hourlong commute | December 26, 2007 6:40 PM
21

Most people, and especially drug-crazed lunatics, don't go down all that easily even after being shot. Anything you've seen to the contrary is pure Hollywood fiction. And Elenchos, betcha $5 that tiger would have had a 100% kill rate if it hadn't been shot. Jeebus, even guns aren't 100% lethal.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | December 26, 2007 6:43 PM
22

Rule #1 @ The Stranger: Always assume the cop was in the wrong and/or over-reacting.

Posted by Jimmy Legs | December 26, 2007 6:54 PM
23

Living in the fact based world of reason and atheism, I need more information before I can accurately make an assumption. Carry on!

Posted by Just Me | December 26, 2007 7:00 PM
24

Yeah, Deputy Herzog. That's the incident I remembered.

Uh, Mr. Designer, it is probably not too hard for Dan to get a cops perspective on this, but convincing him that the media could distort the perspective is going to be a challenge.

Posted by Rain Monkey | December 26, 2007 7:02 PM
25

IIRC dan's dad was a cop. and dan went to a "seminary" so that means he has 100% infallible authority on all matters that fall under law enforcement and religion. this holy trinity is completed with the realm of politics, due to licking a door knob.

so obviously, we should respect his opinions.

Posted by some dude | December 26, 2007 7:32 PM
26

A trooper arrives, tasers there man, but it has no effect.

Is there no editor nearby?

Uh huh. Edit it now so it reads more gooder and try to make me look dumb. Well, let me tell you, mister, I can make myself look dumb just fine on my own.

Posted by Wolf | December 26, 2007 8:07 PM
27

I don't know if the cop's story is accurate to not. I'm always a little skeptical.

That being said, in theory a cop should never pull a gun in the first place unless deadly force is necessary. If deadly force is necessary, then a shot (or several) to the torso is standard operating procedure. Intentionally winging a suspect in the leg or arm, rather than aiming for the torso, is pure Hollywood. Most normal humans are not capable of that kind of accuracy with a handgun under the stress of a firefight. The torso simply presents the largest and easiest target. That is the same reason why they don't aim for the head -- it's a smaller target, and harder to hit.

I know a bit about martial arts and hand-to-hand combat. It can be extremely difficult to subdue someone who is drunk or on drugs. If their pain response is severely impaired, they don't feel a lot. They won't stop if they are hurt because they don't feel it. They basically won't stop until they're unconscious, or until they are so physically restrained that they literally can't move. And knocking someone out with one punch is also pure Hollywood. It isn't all that easy to knock someone unconscious.

So although I wasn't there, and I wouldn't give the cop a free pass, I can easily see a scenario where he felt it necessary to shoot the guy. If he was running around I-5 whipping at passing cars with a belt, he very well could have caused a fatal accident. If he was choking the cop, too, then the cop may very well have felt in grave danger. If the guy was truly a threat to the public and to the cop, then shooting him dead really was the proper response, sadly.

Posted by SDA in SEA | December 26, 2007 8:30 PM
28

Dan are you just trying to piss people off with this post? You say that the man was reportedly trying to cause accidents. How would you have liked it if you and your family were driving down the highway and you wrecked and your son or your partner died because you tried to avoid hitting this crazy guy in the road all because the trooper sat back and tried to figure out a less lethal way of stopping the man or waited for back up? Guess you wouldn't be sitting around second guessing the tropper then would you?

Posted by Ned in SEA | December 26, 2007 8:37 PM
29

Come on dudes. Some psycho was shot. He had kids--so fucking what. Savage has a kid. If he was shot, would we fucking care?

I rest my case.

Sensitively,

Mr. Poe

P.S.
Since most of you are morons, this was a joke.

Posted by Mr. Poe | December 26, 2007 9:02 PM
30

Well, I have to say, all these dudes bragging about their gun skills and kung fu skills and bow hunting skills are not convincing anybody. Sounds like some guys are feeling a little inadequate (though one was big enough to admit it's because he's a libertarian, which explains a lot).

So tossing all that macho posturing aside, can we agree that my tiger idea is the only one with any solid data to back it up? It would go like this: "Control! Taser failed. Repeat, taser failed. Release the tiger! Release the tiger!"

No it's not stupid. Three out of three dudes mauled by the tiger go down, but only one dies. Fact, OK? A tiger would have stopped that guy and he would have survived, 2/3 of the time.

Posted by elenchos | December 26, 2007 9:09 PM
31

only if the mauled kids were on drugs. otherwise your "facts" ain't shit!!!

Posted by some dude | December 26, 2007 9:36 PM
32

It's justifiable whether or not it's justified. Another suicide by cop? Let's look at the life insurance policy and then decide. If so, the family should get further burned (oh, and they will!). As for the keids, it builds character... But infinitely more important than whether this is justified or "morally permissable" is the pics and/or vids that were doubtless taken by witnesses!

"It's a good thing" Chuck Norris weren't there, else everyone would've wound up dead. And that is ultimately for what those keids should be thankful.

Posted by Santa | December 26, 2007 9:55 PM
33

Yeah, elenchos, but some poor schmuck would still have to shoot the tiger then....

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | December 26, 2007 9:55 PM
34

Hey, my christmas was great. I got disowned.

Posted by blaire with an e | December 26, 2007 10:53 PM
35

A trooper arrives, tasers their editor, but it has no affect?

Posted by NapoleonXIV | December 26, 2007 11:19 PM
36

From what I've seen so far in the accounts and from the video made available, I think the officer really had no other choice.

In any case, I feel badly for everyone involved; the officer involved, the kids, the witnesses... that's not something you want to see or be a part of on a holiday or any day.

Posted by Packratt | December 27, 2007 12:17 AM
37

Rock on Trooper Cheek. As for the dead man..."Don't want none, don't bring none"!!!!

Posted by Michael | December 27, 2007 12:29 AM
38

you know ... screw you.

Attack a cop and get shot. They should give the cop a medal for cleaning the global gene pool.

Posted by Gordon Werner | December 27, 2007 12:42 AM
39

#38:
yeah, cleaning the global gene pool, woohoo!!! bright idea that; x-cept for those two children who still carry half of the guys genes, sounds like you'd advocate getting rid of them next, you know just in case.

Posted by point x point synopsis | December 27, 2007 2:20 AM
40

Send Savage back to Chicago. Am sure they are much more kind and benevolent to violent deranged people there. Or do they just ship em out here?

Posted by Joe B | December 27, 2007 2:53 AM
41

why dont cops just carry good tranquilizer guns instead of tasers? they work for animals we dont want to kill, why not animal-like humans we dont want to kill?

Posted by Judith | December 27, 2007 3:46 AM
42

this response was so bleeping predictable, but from Savage?

Posted by the Stranger is irrelevant | December 27, 2007 4:08 AM
43

I agree, Dan Savage is normally a lot more realistic about such matters. This is more the province of the whiners who edit "The Seattle Weekly."

At least I didn't have to watch a state trooper shoot my dad? Hey, I am grateful that this psycho didn't succeed in his attempt to "cause an accident."

These kids indeed were traumatized, but don't blame the cop. If anything, there lives can only get better with their father out of the way.

Posted by Rick | December 27, 2007 5:35 AM
44

Nice comments! Didn't realize state troopers had internet access from their trooper cars.

Posted by super trooper | December 27, 2007 7:50 AM
45

Well, since I wasn't blown up, shot by a cop, or mauled and eaten by a tiger, I'd say my Christmas was pretty good.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | December 27, 2007 8:00 AM
46

What @41 said - if tranquilizers can bring down a bear, why not a human? Yes, there's a risk of an overdose or adverse reaction, but if the only other option is a bullet ...

Maybe someday cops can use those nonlethal electromagnetic weapons that the military has apparently developed and tested.

Posted by tsm | December 27, 2007 8:20 AM
47

The thing that always get me in these stories is the criminally stupid habit of sending cops out on their own. A lone cop is hundreds of times more likely to get into problems than a pair, and yet the only reason that they get sent out alone is because it is cheaper for them to take the risk and for the insurance to cover any "unfortunate" problems. Two cops could have held this guy down, or at least backed up each others stories. Seems completely goddam obvious to me.

Posted by Alex | December 27, 2007 9:24 AM
48

Speaking of getting Tasered, ever notice how Dan has that Norma Desmond glazed-over look in his eyes when he's on TV?

Posted by Ernie at The Elite | December 27, 2007 9:50 AM
49

Something tells me the two kids of this insane methhead have already seen a lot of horrifying things in their short lives.

Posted by J.R. | December 27, 2007 10:01 AM
50

I actually read that to be an honest inquiry from Dan, and not a cops-are-bad rant that a of commenter's took it to be (though I can see why they'd be a little shell-shocked from these pages). I agree with the troopers actions as well, given the information provided.

I'm wondering is though, isn't your dad a retired cop Dan? Why didn't you just ask him?

Posted by Dougsf | December 27, 2007 5:47 PM
51

Wow, according to the PI, the guy was the son in question here:
"In the June 14 issue of The Stranger, reporter Jonah Spangenthal-Lee made light of a dead prostitute. He regrets the error. The phone call from her son the next day was really rough."

Posted by Doublesmooth | December 27, 2007 10:37 PM
52

If the taser doesn't work why not use a pit bull and a youth pastor?

Posted by wile_e_quixote | December 27, 2007 11:55 PM
53

@47: Actually, the stats I've seen say that sending cops out solo is less likely to result in fatalities, because it (often) forces them to wait for backup and think over the best approach. Two cops is enough to get gung-ho, but often not enough to properly handle the situation.

Posted by Christopher | December 28, 2007 4:54 PM

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