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Personal Defense

After a Real Shooting

by Personal Defense TV   |  May 26th, 2011 61

What should you say, or what should you NOT say if you’re involved in a shooting? Massad Ayoob shares the 5-points to cover when the police arrive.

  • http://n/a Paul Scesniak

    Thank you for this discussion.

  • RCGray

    excellent imformation I truely hope I am never involved in a shooting I don't want to end someones life or injur someone and have to deal with the aftermath. unfortunally there are alot of bad people out there doing horrible things and they don't commit these crimes when police are around. Police cannot protect you or your family from these horrible people you are responsible for protecting yourself and your loved ones police come after the crimes have been commited and are called to the scene. I do carry, I practice and train with my firearm with the hope of never having to use it.

    • Dave

      Very well said RCGray

  • charlie p

    Utmost discipline of the mouth is unconditionally required. Do not babble on and on and on. Of course you are shook up, pretend you are in control. Always remember, lying to the Federal Govt is a punishable offense and you will serve time if convicted

    • Chris B Grodhaus

      Exellent advice. CHRIS

    • Mike Posey

      Unless you're Eric Holder


  • http://google B Lovell

    Great information to know.

  • Robert Brecount

    The best advice one will ever get.

    Massad Aytoob is the most knowledgeable person about this subject.

    • joistman

      Agree. Massad Ayoob is the definitive expert in this (and many other

      gun related) areas.

  • matt

    thats good advice but your adrenline will be too ramped and your stress to high to be able to think clearly. it all happens very quick and you almost dont have time to think of what the best actions are during and after a shooting. im 24 years old and unfortunately have been in that situation and did not know what to do at the time so i hope you find ways to get this info to younger readers just getting thier pistol permits and such because the rest is a life of stress and nightmares day after day.

    • Ron

      Had to do as you did myself. Everyone underestimates the aftermath. Thankfully, I'm still here to write this.

  • A Tesch

    Certainly makes you want to think twice about carrying a weapon.

    • Wildfire

      NOT at ALL!

      You can walk out of prison; Dead is forever.

      “Law enforcement agencies and personnel have no duty to protect individuals from the criminal acts of others.” -Lynch vs North Carolina Department of Justice 1989

      This means, that if you want protection for you and your loved ones, it's up to your to provide it. Not the police.

      Besides, ask yourself this important question: Why should a cop risk his life to save something so insignificant (your life), that even the owner is unwilling to protect it.

      • J Pena

        very true and pragmatic view.

  • Rob

    A question regarding Point 5 –

    Maybe I'm looking at this the wrong way, but if I were to shoot someone in self defense, why wouldn't I want to give the police a detailed statement of the event then and there? Wouldn't stating that I'll do so in 24 hours after speaking with my lawyer seem to raise a red flag and seem a bit strange to the police?

    • smayer


      You'd be too stressed out and emotional to give a good account. Your brain will be spinning and you will change your story just enough mid-sentence that you will be changing your story. Massad covers this on Personal Defense TV this season.

      • Brian


        Twenty-four hours after the shooting, you'll remember many more details and be able to provide a much more detailed statement than would be possible directly after the shooting. This is the reason why detectives contact victims two or three days after a stressful event.

    • Ryan

      I think that would not be the best course of action. It is very easy to get tripped up or misremember something. It's the same as having someone make you angry, it is usually best to sit back from the situation for some time and then figure out what to say. As to not react in anger. Speaking with an attorney familiar with self-defense issues will allow you to protect yourself. Cops are not on your side. This is not anti-cop sentiment, I admire police officers, but "anything you say can and WILL be used against you", not FOR you.

      Stay safe.

    • BJ

      Its called shock! Even LEs with all their training, will tell u it even happens to them. Shock prevents your body/brain from fully remembering everything. If you own self defense items – ALWAYS carry the name of an attorney with you.

    • porkchop6209

      Rob, please remember this point of Proverbs 6:2- A man be ensnared by the words of his mouth. That's why your Miranda rights state "Anything you say can, and will, be used against you in a court of law." Study the laws concerning self defense for your locality, learn the difference between a "consensual encounter" with law enforcement, and "investigative detention" and being "in custody." Remember, the less said, the better. "That person attacked me, I was in fear for my life." Then shut up, protect yourself first.

    • HiCarry

      Because anything you say can and will be used against you…even if you are entirely truthful some of what you say could negatively affect the legal processes. There is an excellent video of a law school professor explaining this in detail. The second lecture in the two-part series is by a police officer expounding on the same premise.

    • John Caile

      Top criminal defense attorneys will always tell you that the single most damaging thing a person can do in the wake of a lethal confrontation is:


      For a whole host of reasons (many already mentioned) the best thing you can do (other than the short statements mentioned by Mr. Ayoob) is to SHUT YOUR MOUTH.

    • John

      Officers involved in shootings are usually given 24 hours before THEY have to give a statement and they can consult with the PBA rep/attorney before. They get that grace period you should take it yourself.

    • Knuckles

      Such natural phenomena as tunnel vision and auditory exclusion are just two reasons why it's a good idea to relive the shooting after the adrenaline has worn off, after the stress has subsided, after the euphoria of surviving has calmed down.

      Actual story: Following a shooting, a statement given to an investigating agency six days after the incident was inaccurate in one or two details just based on something as simple as muscle memory (training behavior) and the stress of a life-or-death experience. But in the calm confines of the statement room, it was easier to treat it as a mistake of memory or the result of stress rather than a lie. If a statement is given immediately, subject to such mistake-prone forces, correcting it later adds to the impression of a lie.

  • robert38-55

    Great information!!!!!!!!!!! I never knew!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is a whole new world!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have never been involved in a shooting of any kind, and hope I never do, but now I got some knowledge on what to do and what not to do!!!!

  • Dave

    Good point on #5.

    If I were ever in such a situation (I pray not), I would do just as advised here.

    Two weeks ago, I was at the range and met the county sheriff's firearms instructor. We had a conversation about this senario. He told me that after getting the very basics (covered in 1-4) he has advised people to stop and talk to an attorney before saying anything more. By then, he knows who is the good guy/bad guy, and wants the person to have a chance to let the adrenaline settle and thier mind to clear before giving a more detailed account.






    • Wildfire

      That's why every State needs a Stand Your Ground Law, to protect the victim from a second attack by the criminals.

      • JD

        Wildfire- I'm not familiar with a "stand your ground law." Could you explain please? Thank you.

        • porkchop6209

          JD- it's more widely known as the Castle Doctrine, comes from the old English principle of "My Castle, My Rules, I have an inherent right to protect it." Some places have laws that require you to flee from a threat, or to retreat until retreat is no longer an option. Others, most recently in the past few years(thank the NRA for their work on this) passed laws that state if you have a right to be where you are at, no matter where, you can use lethal force to defend yourself if necessary. However, be forewarned, post-shooting is not the time to learn hard facts about the laws of your area. You need to learn them ahead of time, and keep the name of a gun friendly lawyer on you at all times. Even better is to have them on retainer, just in case. Let your lawyer speak for you. If you are involved in a shooting, even if you are absolutely in the clear and know you are right, I promise you it will be, at best, the worst legal nightmare you find yourself in. At worst, you could go to prison yourself, and lose everything you've ever worked for, including your right to own guns. It's best to avoid a fight unless you have no other choice, but, unfortunately, in those types of situations you only have milli-seconds to seconds to decide what to do. That's why you train and train and train, and most people are still ill equipped to deal with it. Assume nothing my friend!

  • Ken

    I must respectfully disagree with those who say "you won't be able to give a good account b/c you'll be adrenaline-fueled and emotional." Everyone is different. On Jan 4, 2008, a gang tried to execute me and all I was doing was delivering pizza while working my way through school for a second career. I'm nobody special, and even DURING the attack…I was kidnapped, carjacked, beaten, taken to a field, forced to strip in freezing weather, shot in the back and left for dead as the scum drove off in my vehicle. I had a .357mag revolver in the glovebox that I didn't carry on me – I had applied for my CWP but hadn't yet gotten it in the mail and I wanted to stay legal. Cops told me afterwards they wouldn't have pressed charges on me had I carried under the circumstances, but that's certainly no "given." At any rate, *I* was the calm one and my brain became like 1,000 times more efficient. Everything was in slow motion, and after I ran a half mile on a broken hip, I still could have given my license tag number to 911 but the woman who called them for me was the hysterical one and I didn't talk to police until EMS showed up with them. I have full recall of the incident and in the Emergency Room when the pain really set in (actually by the time EMS got there it had set in already but the cold helped I think), oooh I was MAD…saying "let me up, I'll go kill 'em all myself" and I meant it! If you've never been in such a situation, you can't know how you'll act, however, so try to memorize the 5 points here and keep refreshing yourself until it's well in long-term memory, just like your 4 rules of gun safety, and that's really all you can do beforehand.

  • dpzh

    Mr. Ayoob is a great teacher and writer. All of his information usually boils down right to practical information presented in a simple way so someone like myself can understand.

  • MagnuMan

    Cops hate it when you "lawyer up" 'cause it makes their job just that much harder, to convict YOU! But it's the best thing to do when they'd like nothing better than to put you away for life!

  • Monte Graham

    Excellent information by two of my favorite gun people.

    These are golden nuggets that you must not miss. I have sent this to all all of my gun friends too.

  • Festus

    It sure isn't like TV and the movies, in the real world, the first thing that happens after the police arrive is the state begins to automatically build a case against the shooter or shooters or survivors. In some cases, this can be extremely mind boggling. There really is no presumption of innocence in shootings, more like a presumption of guilt. If you are innocent, that will be YOUR job to somehow prove and you had better hope that it can be proved. I.e., don't expect ANY help from the state, there generallly won't be any. This is why I wonder if some of the training scenarios that go on TV shows are a bit too gung ho. They show someone going through a house double tapping every bad guy in the house, but in reality, if you react like that, you stand a good chance of life without parole. Better to stay out of a house like that than to think you can go through a shoot and survive it and then win the criminal and civil trials, in any event, you will likely end up broke and ruined unless you have strong, high connections and LOTS of money. Sorry, that's just the way it looks when you see what happens in the real world cases.

    • Scott Mayer

      Festus, that's why on PDTV we preach avoid, evade, escape and only if necessary, fight like ever lovin' heck and win.

  • Kevin

    I'm wanting to know what the best thing to say is when calling 911? They record your conversation with them and it can be used against you also.

    • porkchop6209

      Kevin, calmly identify yourself, state your reason for calling- I was attacked, I have a carry permit and was forced to defend myself, I need the police and the attacker needs medical attention, please send help to this location."; stay on the line with them and don't say anything else unless absolutely necessary, then think before you speak. Try to remain as calm as possible. That recording can actually help you going forward in your defense.

  • http://N/A Lopaka

    Awesome advice in a shooting of the person who may cause

    harm to you or your family members. I will remember to give

    only the five things required by law? Get a defense lawyer and

    wait before going on with any other information. I do not want

    to hang myself with the wrong information twisted by what somebody hears. People only hear what they want to remember in statements. I agree you must have a clear mind

    when you are talking to the law.

  • Mark

    This is excellent advise. Any defense attorney will tell you no one EVER helped their case by spilling their guts at the scene. Be courteous, non threatening and cooperative with the police, but give them no statements other than what Massad mentions in the video. There are numerable videos on Youtube of lawyers and police giving the same advise. Never, ever make a statement at the scene.

  • mark tercsak

    My late father was a former detective with the pittsburgh police and was in and ran the homicide section the five points Mr.Ayoob gives is the same information my father would give when he lectured classes on the subject.

  • Mark, PR

    In my neck of the woods a woman was closing her shop door, when mommy's son tried to rob her with a gun. In the shoot out; she was hit in the shoulder and her 357 hit the assailant twice one in the genital area. The Police Superintendent said, "I don't think people should take justice in their hand." In a poll taken later the majority of the public back her action. The robber was caught seeking medical aid.

    P.S. Matt you did the right thing, which is protecting your life; you should reflect on that. Many of us have taken lives in far off wars or street wars. Forget never, make significant contribution for our families and community; yes.

  • John D.

    Been there and done that. The adrenaline dump, according to the doctor's who looked after me, was likely more than I'll ever get in my entire lifetime combined. You are in no condition to get into a detailed conversation with anyone. Keep your lawyer's number handy. Own a gun for personal protection? Don't have a lawyer you can call at once? You're a fool.

  • jim martin

    first off the less said to a police officer the better allthough this vidio has some validity the best responce after a self defence shooting is that you were in fear for your life and that you fired a warning shot which was not heeded and that at that point fearing for your life you used deadly force to defend your own life the police will figure out the rest based on any weapon recovered from the assailant but nothing more need to be said than you were in fear for your life and that you gave the perp the option to flee and didnt this will save you allot of greif with the legal system what they say in the vidio will most likely raise questions you need not answer other than you were in fear for your life period and acted in a reasonable and prudent fashion.and that any other question other than what youve said will need to be adressed with your lawyer if its found that you need one which if you make the 2 points fear of life and a warning disscharge before or after makes no difference but 1 extra round fired will save you allot of greif in the end. this i learned first hand in confronting a armed person more than once.

    • Scott Mayer

      "…and that you fired a warning shot…"
      THAT is exactly NOT what you do.

      • porkchop6209

        That's right Scott, one must remember that if you fire a warning shot, you are responsible for what happens to it. You may fire a shot and miss, but never, ever tell them you fired a warning shot. Really bad idea.

    • Dirk Diggler

      Good God!!! Don't quit your day job as an English teacher.

      Nothing you said is even close to the recommended course of action after a self defense shooting. A warning shot? Not unless you're in the movies.

    • oldpink

      Warning shot?
      Are you serious?
      What next?
      Tell them that you only shot "to wound?"
      Hollywood "conventional wisdom" gets good guys killed and bad guys free to kill another day!

  • Brad Blankenship

    I teach CHL classes in Texas. It was brought up in this video to tell police what happened and certain other info. We tell people to retain counsel ahead of time and only idiots try to represent themselves; especially when we have arraigned for counsel and then do not do what the hundreds of dollars we pay that counsel tells us to do. I fight a fight every class trying to tell them exactly what you havehere, but hundreds of dollars are paid to lawyers and all of them tell their clients to not talk to the police at all unless the lawyer is there. How do you overcome that?

  • porkchop6209

    In most cases, God forbid you have to deal with it, stick with "that person attacked me, I was in fear for my life", and "I only fired to stop an attack." More likely than not, it will go to court, it has to. In most states a self-defense claim is an affirmative defense, ie: I did this, but here is the reason why……., which must be excused by the court system. Be very careful what you say, I once knew of a case where a guy defended himself, the perp died, but the prosecutor got a manslaughter conviction by goading the fellow into blurting out, on the stand, that the low life had it coming for daring to attack him. Prosecutor said the fact he was carrying, combined with his angry statement showed "malice aforethought", that he was hoping to get the chance to shoot someone if they messed with him. Control your emotions and be very careful, and thoughtful, and remorseful, over what you say. Once you say it, it can't be taken back.

  • http://firefox Gary Emch

    Probably some of the most important information one should watch and remember. I learned something from this.

  • Chuck

    Great video.

    Every item is correct.

    No. 5 : "Say nothing more for 24 hours." is possibly too blunt of a statement. The police need to know if there were more perpetrators involved or more witnesses that have left the scene. The police might have more questions that don't involve motive, actions or what led up to the gun fight. Those questions might deserve answers due to public safety.

    Extreme caution is definately in order and each police question needs careful thought as to whether you should answer it or defer it to legal counsil. If the question is one that can wait w/o endangering the scene or someone else then by all means…. wait to answer.

  • Bob

    The best advice I have heard lately. I hope I never have to use it but I will remember these points.

  • Steve

    I have been told by people whose experience in these types of situations earns my respect, that "firing a warning shot" is an extremely bad idea for a couple of reasons.

    First, as stated before, you own every bullet that leaves your weapon, and are responsible for anything it does anywhere along its path. Even if it lands harmlessly in lake or field somewhere, you can get in trouble in most communities for "discharge of a firearm with wanton disregard."

    Second, and much more serious, is the fact that if you have time to fire a warning shot, it means to the State that you were not "in danger of immediate death or rape or extreme physical harm"; i.e., if you had time to fire one at the sky, then the threat level hadn't reached the "no choice but" point, and that's how the prosecution in your court case will try to shape the situation against you to the jury if you then had to shoot your attacker.

  • Reacher 6

    So much of what happens after a shooting depends on when and where you are. Officers responding to a call at a residence in their city, particularly a suburb, generally give the benefit of the doubt to a homeowner where the 911 call is for a break-in or an armed intruder.You should have no trouble telling an officer that "we were watching TV etc" when the bad guy tried to get in.

    However, if you are in the wrong place in town at the wrong time of day, the officer may think that everyone is a bad guy, and the only question is to what degree. Like it or not there are officers who "work scared" every shift and overcompensate. First impression is everything in this situation.

    In our state, only the "good guys" can get CCW cards, so the officer knows you have no priors etc. Depending on location the officers may know the bad guy from past encounters.

    The point of all this is that there is no perfect answer to every situation. When I teach the CCW classes we preach situational awareness constantly….understand where you are and what is going on around you. If you are not prepared to take a life in defense of yours or your family members don't carry.

  • cant call it back

    if your going to discharge a firearm in self defense you better mean it and be prepared to kill. it is terrible and very ruthless but dead men dont talk in court. then it is only you and the witnesses

    • Curtis

      You only need to stop the threat. If you empty your firearm it will bring up more unfavorable questions. You will have to answer for them.

  • Curtis

    If you do shoot someone you should be prepared to be treated like the purpetrator till the police is satisfied you are the victim. You should also be prepared to go through some interogation, as they need to know for sure what when down. Good points brought up, but be prepared to go through the wringer.

  • JoeThePimpernel

    1. Officer, this man attacked me
    2. I will sign a complaint
    3. The evidence (bullet casings, etc.) is right there
    4. Those people witnessed it
    5. Officer, you will have my full cooperation in 24 hours after I have spoken with counsel

  • Pvt.Joker

    Lots of good info here, and good discussion, too.
    All that aside, get his book, "in the Gravest Extreme".
    It will wake you the fsck up.

  • John Doe

    Let me give you some pointers from the California side:
    1. The person whom you shot is the "Suspect".
    2. Since the man you shot might be dead (or on his way), he probably wont be the person calling. With that in mind the person calling is not the victim complainant but most likely a witness if its not you.
    3.Cant speak for all states, but in CA you dont sign a complaint….Officers dont take reports for complaints, only for crimes.
    4.When the officers arrive at scene, identify yourself, and you should already have your ID and CCW in hand to present to them. If its not already in hand, wait for them to ask for it so you are not digging around in your pockets when they get there.
    5.If you're gonna cary a gun and use it…..know why? You should only shoot in public to preserve life, not property or animals.

    Just a few pointers, hope it helps

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