Suspect(patient) Unstable, house full of natural gas.

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Suspect(patient) Unstable, house full of natural gas.

Postby Breacher01 » Mon Sep 19, 2016 5:53 am

Case study:

Recently we had a deployment to apprehend a suspect, Afghanistan veteran, mentally unstable. He called 112(our 911) threatening to blow himself and everything with him up. He has a long history of disturbing the peace and mental problems, but for some reason he was not in a care facility, or even checked to see he kept taking his medicine.

He had his house full of gas, because he locked himself in, and opened his stove and oven releasing a lot of natural butane gas into his residence. The neighbors were all evacuated and the street was cordoned(to cordon off?) off to the public.

Communication by telephone stopped 15 minutes before we arrived, but he called the emergency services himself about 25 minutes before our arrival. When he did not respond to negotiations with his sister over loudspeakers or to his doorbell we shot a lot of beanbags though his windows, shattering them so the gas could ventilate. This from the front and back.

The fire department advised us the upper explosive limit of (about 2 up to 8 % by volume) was very unlikely to be reached, and the lowest threshold was likely to be reached within minutes if we could ventilate the house, so we did.

This had to be done to save the windows of every house within a few hundred meters, and for us to enter safely. There was no other way I think.

After another five to seven minutes(112 call +30minutes) we drove the van into his front yard up to his second story windows, removed the glass so 5 others could enter, we chucked in some smoke devices, because we feared the man would totally freak out if we used distractive pyrotechnics. We did not get any response after the beanbags were shot through the windows, about 16 shots in total, but with veterans 9-bangers or thunderflashes seem to have a negative effect. So smoke it was.

3 man cleared the ground floor, and did not encounter the suspect. and the second story was also cleared within 45 seconds. Thats when we feared the man hid in his attic, with only a fold able stair/ladder. At that time we got reports from outside there was smoke coming from the roof.

The fire spread fast, we could not enter the attic safely, and it was soon engulfed in flames. It was obvious the man couldn't be alive at that stage. Mission failed, no one won.

I think this man should have been in a mental hospital long before this happened, and there was no way of apprehending this man safely.

My question is, what would you have done differently, and why? At what point was this intervention gone wrong? Suggestions?
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Re: Suspect(patient) Unstable, house full of natural gas.

Postby JTK » Tue Mar 21, 2017 3:34 am

This really caught my attention. I read the scenario at least 20 times. Here's my take on this... I don't believe this was an intervention at all. I believe the subject had his mind made up, he was either going to take his own life or suicide by Cop. To make matters worse, the subject was prepared to harm innocent bystanders, neighbors and 1st responders. All combat service aside, the subject was a domestic terrorist. The Operators did everything, I believe, in their power to make the scene safe. It sounds like the breach and clear was done properly. The fact that the only person harmed was the subject himself and by his own hand, in my opinion, it's mission accomplishment. The only ones who failed were the subjects family for failing to take the necessary steps to insure the subject got the help and treatment he needed.
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Re: Suspect(patient) Unstable, house full of natural gas.

Postby Breacher01 » Wed Mar 22, 2017 2:40 am

I thank you for your response, but I (slightly)disagree on some points. I would love to discuss them further.

- We are aware of the 'suicide by cop' phenomenon, but still think the patient/suspect should have this as a choice in his/her position. As a unit we have a huge tactical advantage, and try our very best to take even these people into safe custody to receive their punishment and or treatment. That's up to the judge. Our task is to get them in court.

Obviously you can't always win, but failure is an uncommon thing in my unit, therefore we sometimes do a case study to find points we could improve upon. Mission accomplished for us only means we get people in front of a judge. If we have to kill in the process we are playing the role of the executioner, which isn't ours. Its unfortunately not avoidable sometimes.

- You could say someones family or social network has failed. You do have a point, but it also is a grey area. If everyone's social network would work as we like it to be there would be no criminals, and no mentally unstable persons walking freely in civilization, they would always be stopped before committing crimes and/or hospitalized before going crazy and threatening others.

I do agree with you, but these points are very dependent on ones perspective. That does make a good discussion.
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