Your life had been threatened and you have successfully defended yourself. The assailant has been stopped and they are lying on the ground before you. Your body in its “fight or flight” instincts have dump a whole lot of adrenalin in your system. What should you do now? The actions suggested is not inclusive, depending on your circumstances, some or none will apply. My hope is that you have thought about this potentiality and have developed a plan for this.
Scan the area. You need to break your tunnel vision on the assailant. The assailant may have an accomplice or accomplices. In a June 2014 incident, the shooters were a married couple who had murdered two police officers then entered a nearby Walmart. An armed citizen began following the male who was yelling; while the shooter’s wife lagged behind. The wife shot the legally armed citizen in the back of the head. ( https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/vegas-cop-killers/two-cops-three-others-killed-las-vegas-shooting-spree-n125766) When you scan, REALLY look and observe those around you. Their facial expressions, what is in their hands?
Do not approach your assailant. If possible, distance equals time; you really want to move away from the assailant if possible.
Move to a place of cover and/or concealment. There is a difference between cover and concealment are:
- Cover will provide you with protection from gunfire and conceal your location.
- Concealment will conceal your location only. It will not offer you protection from gunfire.
Check yourself for injury. With your body’s adrenalin dump during your fight for survival, you may have been injured and not know it. If you are injured, apply first aid if you can. If you don’t have training, you can receive training by checking here: Stop the Bleed Course. American Red Cross: AMR Training.
Begin your Tactical Breathing to help your body handle the adrenalin dump and clear your head. Search your app store for the “Tactical Breather.” App link for Android: Tactical Breather App – Android and for iPhone: Tactical Breather App – iPhone. To learn more about this easy to implement exercise, check this article out: “Tactical Breathing for the Military.”
Call for help. A great resource on what to say to the Police Dispatcher is covered in the book “Law of Self Defense” by Andrew Branca. I highly recommend this book to be on your reading list. Massad Ayoob also provides great advice and a video of what to do after a self defense incident is covered. You can view it by clicking the link: Self Defense Aftermath Video.
Prepare for arrival of the police. You do not want to appear as the threat to them. If you can holster the gun or place it on the ground, keep your hands in plain view, and make no sudden moves that could be interpreted as a threat. Follow their commands, this is NOT the time to argue with them. Remember, police are human and they will have their own adrenalin dump they are trying to control. During your call to the police dispatcher, provide a physical description of yourself, clothes and physical description.
Start scanning the scene. Note evidence that will corroborate your account. For example, the assailant’s weapon, by-standers who could corroborate your account. Use the camera on your phone to document evidence, witnesses, who may leave before police arrive. If police arrive while doing this, make sure you empty your hands of everything, so that it is not misinterpreted as a threat to the arriving officers.
Interaction with police. Attorney Branca has a good section in his book on this as does Massad Ayoob in his book “Deadly Force – Understanding Your Right to Self Defense.”
Call your attorney. Your attorney should have been talked to before you needed them.
Many of these steps are performed simultaneously. Rehearse mentally these steps, practice dialing 911 with your support hand. Your shooting hand will have your gun in it or remain empty in the event you have to defend yourself again. You have survived your attack by the assailant; but your biggest battle may be beginning. The justice system.
Carry a gun so that you are hard to kill; know the law so that you are hard to convict.”Attorney Andrew Branca