Duluth police sergeant recalls split-second decision to not fire on shooting suspect

"Is this it? Is he going to shoot us? Am I going to have to shoot this man to save myself and others? Will my wife wake up a widow, will my children no longer have their father? Is our community going to change forever because of me?"

After 17 shots rang out in Duluth, a police officer arrived on scene to find two suspects fighting with his partners. In a split-second decision, the anonymous sergeant decided not to shoot.

“I am going to share like I have never before,” begins a statement written in the first person by an unnamed sergeant and posted to the Facebook page for the Duluth police union.

“Last night my world and my entire family’s world almost changed forever. I almost shot an ‘unarmed black man,'” the officer explains.

The officer found himself in this situation after being called to the site of a shooting that transpired last Wednesday night, according to the Facebook post. “17 shots in all were fired,” and by the time the cop in question arrived on scene, his partners had already made contact with two suspects.

“My partners found two of the suspects, and I rushed to help them as they are yelling they [the suspects] are not complying and now they are fighting,” the officer recalls. “Where are the guns used? Do they have them? Are they going to try and kill my partners? All thoughts as I pull up and see my partners on the ground fighting with one male, a black man. Another black man is near them and turns to run as I approach. My partners yell ‘stop him.'”

“I yell for him to stop and he turns and runs,” writes the officer, before sharing the questions going through his  head in that moment: “where is the gun? Does he still have it? Is he going to shoot me? My partners? Is he an innocent person just out for a walk? I give chase, he continues to run around a corner. Is he going to ambush me when I turn the corner? Where is the gun?”

“The male keeps running until I and my partner gain ground on him and he stops,” says the officer. The man then disobeyed orders to raise his hands and turned his back on the police.

It was in this moment that the unnamed officer says he drew his pistol, finger on the trigger, and prepared for the worst.

“Is this it? Is he going to shoot us? Am I going to have to shoot this man to save myself and others? Will my wife wake up a widow, will my children no longer have their father? Is our community going to change forever because of me?” the officer wondered. “Will everything burn only because we want to help? Because we want to live and not die?”

Fortunately, the situation resolved when the narrating officer’s partner tackled the suspect.

The suspect was reportedly in possession of a gun when the officers first found him, but abandoned it in some bushes after running around the corner.

According to the cop who posted this story, occurrences like this are not unusual. “This story is not an anomaly and happens across this country day in and day out,” says the officer.

“You will not hear this story on the news,” he continues. “No one will call national attention to it. No one will say anything about this night. We simply just dust ourselves off, make sure each of us is OK and go on to the next call.”

The officer also addressed the media and concerned onlookers directly: “stop pushing the false narrative” that police are “racist” or “must be defended,” he said.

“I challenge anyone to get out of your comfort zone and ride with us. Take a day in our shoes and see what it is really like,” he concludes. “We are not heroes, we are men and women who just want to do the right thing.”

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Editor’s note: the punctuation found in the officer’s statement has been edited, but all wording remains as it appears in the original Facebook post.