What Do You Say After a Shooting???

Posted: July 22, 2013 in Self Defense
Tags: , , , , ,

police-interview and interrogationDue to recent events, I recently began researching Stand Your Ground laws. This study indirectly led to countless articles and videos on what an armed citizen should do in the event they use their firearm to defend themselves or others. As I delved into this hotly contested arena, I discovered two main ideologies: 1. tell the responding officers nothing until you talk with your attorney and 2. Cooperate with the responding officers, tell them the key details and then ask for your attorney. The first ideology seems to have the most fervent evangelists (composed largely of lawyers and litigation-wary commentators). The second position has Massad Ayoob, the Armed Citizen’s Legal Defense Network and other well-respected and experienced commentators.


The premise of the first group is that familiar phrase: “anything you say can, and will be, used against you in a court of law.” The argument boils down to this: if you don’t say anything then law enforcement can’t use your words against you. The typical advice given is to tell the 911 operator there was a shooting at your address, describe what you are wearing, and not much else. Variants of this belief include stating “I was in fear of my life” and then shutting up.

While keeping silent will certainly prevent your words from being used against you, keeping silent may also get you arrested and put in jail. Now depending on where you live, getting arrested and jailed may be guaranteed just by the use of a firearm,self-defense or not. If you live in an anti-gun state (or city) not talking with law enforcement may just be your best bet.


However, for most of the USA, not talking with the responding officer will probably cause undue suspicion to fall on you. In a defensive gun use scenario there are two roles that are played: victim and perpetrator. The guy laying in a pool of blood on the sidewalk is doing a wonderful job playing the part of a victim. If you do not talk with the police, they will likely assign you the role of perpetrator and then it will all have to be worked out in court. Remember, the responding officers set the tone for the investigation of the shooting. If they suspect you of murder, they will look at the situation with a very different view than if they are pretty sure you acted in self-defense. As an experienced Police Officer and an expert witness in self-defense shootings, Massad Ayoob advocates following a 5 step plan.

  1. Point out Perpetrator to Police: “Officer, this man laying here threatened me with a knife and said he was going to kill me.”law-enforcement
  2. Tell Police you will “Sign the Complaint”: In cop language, this is affirming your role as the victim.
  3. Point out Evidence to Police: Evidence will disappear if not immediately marked and documented.
  4. Point out Witnesses to Police: Many people in our society prefer not to get involved and will simply walk away. These witness will probably provide great supporting testimony for your case and it is very important the police interview them.
  5. Give full cooperation in 24 hours: “Officer, you know how important this is. You will have my full cooperation in 24 hours after I speak with my Attorney.” People need time for the physiological effects of a traumatic event, such as a shooting, to wear off before they can make accurate statements. In fact, many first responders aren’t allowed to make a report until a certain time period has elapsed (typically 24 to 48 hours). Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police actually fought against the city to ensure the Independent Police Review Authority wait at least 24 hours before interviewing the officer involved in a shooting.

After much reading and analyzing, I personally have decided to go with Massad’s five point plan. It strikes the balance of giving the responding officers enough information for them to know I’m a good guy yet also lets me know when to stop talking so I don’t say something that will later come back to haunt me. I hope you too will carefully research and decide the approach you will use if you ever have to use your firearm for self-defense. Prepare for it now, so you can limit the risks of doing something stupid if the situation ever arises. Also, find a local attorney, experienced in justified shootings (the lawyer the local cops use would be a good one), and keep his number on hand or programmed into your phone.

On duty

For Further Research:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vaC6jCIyLo Wrong way and Right Way Shooting





  1. Reblogged this on Highlands Keep, LLC and commented:
    We here at Highlands Keep believe that part of responsible gun ownership entails knowledge of legislature regarding the use of your firearm. This is another great post from Autrey’s Armory about Stand Your Ground laws, and what to say to law enforcement after enacting this law. Very relevant, especially in light of recent events!

  2. MamaLiberty says:

    Where you live, and the attitude of the police there is vital. I would add a suggestion to make sure you are seen in your community as a completely responsible, reliable and non-aggressive person, both in general and especially as a gun owner. Keeping the fact that you carry a gun a complete secret may not be a good idea.

    In any case, if you are KNOWN as a peaceful, responsible person, you are inevitably going to be in a better position no matter what happens. If the police where you live happen to be real peace officers, and you’ve put out an effort to get to know them, you probably won’t have anything to worry about.

  3. I like the valuable info you provide in your articles.

    I will bookmark your blog and check again here frequently.
    I’m quite certain I will learn many new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!

  4. Step 1: Don’t put yourself into the position in the first place.
    Step 2: If you MUST defend your life, do it and then go on to the other steps.

    I assume the author meant this anyway and assumed you’d already done all you could to limit having to do what you had to do.

    Personally, I’m prepared to do what I must, but I always, always, always be careful of my location, where I walk, what I’m doing and who is around me. Call me paranoid, but I’m sure I’ve walked away from potentially BAD situations before they occurred. And I realize, sometimes you just can’t….

    • You are correct. I did intend to clarify that it is always better to avoid a confrontation when possible. In my previous articles I focused so much on situational awareness and avoiding trouble that I made the cardinal mistake of assuming. I assumed people had read the previous articles and thus were aware of situational awareness. Thank you for bringing it to my attention! I will do my best to avoid such errors in the future.

      Thank you for reading!

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