The second novel in the Lawman series isn’t that far away from getting out on Amazon. Its title is Against Flesh and Blood and comes from the the Book of Ephesians in the Bible.
Like a lot of things, I pay close attention to detail in the book. Having lived it, I want it to be as accurate as possible, especially when it comes to evidence handling, crime scene processing, and such.
One place I need to talk about is the take down that happens in it. Unlike the arrest of the murderer that occurred in The Cross and the Badge, this is a well orchestrated multi-unit take down relying on communications and timing.
Here’s the background. A terrifying sexual assault has occurred at an annual get together in the mountains called “The Smokies.” A girl is raped at with a gun to her head, and then tossed away like so much trash.
Within forty eight hours, Will and RJ have gone from knowing very little about the suspect to having identified him, and obtained a warrant for his arrest.
Now the take-down. They travel to a neighboring county and hook up with their friend Albert Montoya, a deputy in that county. They decide the best way to take him down is do so away from his house. The suspect is a creature of habit, and almost always leaves the house at the same time every night.
That makes things easy.
Albert will position himself down the block. When the suspect leaves, Will and RJ will come up fast behind him. Albert will pull out and block the way. the idea is to make sure the guy has nowhere to run, and can’t maneuver out of the trap. The deputies will then take cover behind their vehicles, order the guy out, and apprehend him. They do this because there are children in the house, and they don’t want to endanger anyone else.
The plan goes off with out a hitch, and they end up in an arrangement that looks a bit like this sketch. This is roughly what a sketch might have looked like concerning that take down. There might have been measurements to help establish where the cars were, and any evidence, such as the weapon the perp throws away.
I’m going to talk about two ideas that some folks grasp, but at the same time have trouble understanding. I’ll talk about it some more in my Tactical Survival blogs. It’s the the idea of Cover and Concealment.
They’re two different things, and if you can get the two together, great.
First, concealment. It boils down to one thing. They (whoever they are) can’t see you. If they can’t see you, chances are they won’t waste the ammo shooting at your location. That idea is paramount in the concept of active shooters with the instructions of Run, Hide, Fight. Most active shooters won’t waste the ammo trying to shoot through a wall. Why? They’re not sure they’re going to hit anything. Their mission is to kill, not shoot up the walls. They waste their ammo, they can’t do their mission.
Concealment plays a part in the plan to apprehend the suspect. They’ve hidden their patrol vehicles in a place where they see him, but he doesn’t see them easily. The suspect is also guilty of not being aware of what’s going on. He’s looking, but he’s not seeing. Remember, in situational awareness, there is a difference. Had he been looking, he might have noticed the front of Will’s cruiser sticking out around the corner, or heard the engines of the two patrol cars running. He’s lulled himself into a false sense of security. He’s walked out and gotten into his car a million times, and nothing has ever happened. Why expect it to happen now?
When the trap is sprung, there’s no concealment. It kind of hard to hide a police cruiser right in front and directly behind you with overheads and spotlights on.
We establish early in the story that the suspect carries a .22 caliber Ruger. At lot of people pooh-pooh the humble little .22 but truth is more people are killed with it than any other handgun. While the bullet is small, it travels at warp speed. Add to it that ammo is cheap for it, and the weapon inexpensive, and there are a lot of them out there.
While the teams wear body armor, there’s no sense in tempting fate either. To do that, we want Cover. Cover is anything that can stop a bullet, and some things offer better cover than other places. Here’s an example. Say the corner of a room that opens into a hallway. You hide behind the corner, expecting the construction to protect you from bullets. Well, how much it is going to protect you depends on what it’s made of. If the corner is standard 2×4 drywall construction, there’s less cover and more concealment. If I’m armed with say an AR-15, that little corner is going to give you nothing in terms of cover. Now if it’s a two foot thick adobe wall, then we’re talking about something that can stop a bullet.
In the case of our three deputies, they’ll use the cars for cover. One thing I hate is TV shows that show cops using their doors for cover. While they’re better than nothing, nothing might just be what you have. Bullets go through car doors, and while you have metal, possibly a rolled down window, and other things inside, tests have shown that high velocity rounds can easily go through one.
You want something a little more substantial. The engine block is the best place to take cover behind. Tests have shown that it will defeat pistol ammo, and most rifle ammo. Unless the bad guy has a .50 caliber rifle with ammo piercing rounds, you’re probably OK behind the engine block.
Will takes cover behind the corner of his patrol car. This isn’t the best position, but still isn’t bad. First, Trigger (the name Will hung on his patrol car) is made of real steel, and we have two layers of 1/8 inch steel between him and the bad guy. I have put bullets through steel that thin, but it would hold up well against a .22. The other plus working for Will is that Trigger is at a bit of an angle. This makes it more likely that a bullet would be deflected away. Of course his legs aren’t hidden that well, so a well placed shot could hurt him.
The need for maximum protection kind of plays against my characters though. When the suspect rolls out, pistol in hand and fires, Will is the only one with a good shot. Albert and RJ both have the bulk of the suspect’s car between them and him and their first shots with the the shotguns simply blows out the windows. The twin shotgun blasts showers the suspect with glass. That’s enough to make him surrender.
The fact Will didn’t engage him when he was right to have becomes a subject of some concern for him later in the book.