This past month we’ve received numerous requests from major news outlets to comment on the LAPD Van Nuys Division hostage shooting. The shooting was captured on body cameras worn by the Officers. The suspect had taken a hostage in the traditional format of the weak arm around the victim’s neck in a controlling fashion. This was in conjunction with a large knife placed across the victim’s throat with the strong arm. The suspect’s head is in full view from one Officer’s perspective. The distance appears to be one of close proximity.
In total, 18 rounds will be fired by multiple Officers. Both the suspect and the victim were killed.
Those of you who have attended our advanced courses have experienced the ITTS Hostage Rack – a target system we developed to train for a hostage resolution scenario. You have not only experienced the mechanical precision and limited round(s) necessitated for a successful resolution, but the multiple layers of complexity and interactions we instruct to in each progressive evolution. In short, there is not one method but multiple methods in dealing with arguably, the most critical shot one could ever envision taking.
One notable shooting involving hostage resolution was that of the LAPD Mexican Consulate by Hector Feliciano, which was positive in outcome. It was Hector’s placement of a precise, singular round that resolved the situation with no harm to the victim. Hector had trained on the Hostage Rack numerous times with me. He readily attributed this preparation and training to his ability to successfully overcome the numerous obstacles he encountered.
Students cannot train to a minimal standard and expect positive results when an entirely different and significantly upgraded standard is required. The mainstay of our training and guiding principle is that one must adapt to the situation accordingly. This is precisely why our training is based on real world experience garnered from past and current lethal encounters.
Continual training prior to an event is of paramount importance. Experiencing a live-fire format based on what others have encountered in the field is invaluable. Knowledgeable debriefings of these incidents must also accompany the hands on training and the instruction must convey the essential elements that will play out in critical firing solutions.
For those of you who have not had training on our Hostage Rack, join one of our Advanced Handgun courses and experience this for yourself, along with our knife attack system, working in and around vehicles and other high speed evolutions. These are some of the most challenging drills you will encounter and will greatly increase your ability to adapt to a variety of scenarios!