Officer Training - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

02/26/05 - Lufkin

Officer Training

by Chris Cato

"When someone steps out of a vehicle and opens fire, you don't have time to react except to confront that subject," said Lt. Jimmy York of the Angelina County Sheriff's Department.

A shooting earlier this week in Tyler has many wondering how they would have reacted in that situation. It happened in an instant, almost too fast for anyone to react. A man shooting a high powered rifle at his ex-wife and others standing in front of a Tyler courthouse.

Specialized SWAT teams are trained to react in these situations, but in the case of the Tyler shooting, there was no time.

Lt. York said, "SWAT teams are only effective if you have the time to call them out. Generally minutes to an hour at the most to be activated and put on scene to handle a situation."

With no time to react, officers had to use their own judgment, which Lt. York says, meant they only had one logical choice.

"You don't have time to give him chances to lay it down because if you don't react instantly then he could easily kill another person or two," said Lt. York.

Lt. York says in that situation, he believes the officers had no choice but to fire back. A civilian with a handgun, even though he had no police training, reacted in the same way many officers would, he drew his gun and fired. While Mark Wilson is credited with saving lives, he lost his own after the gunman fired back at him.

Lt. York said, "he did what he thought was right at the time, and being that he did have a weapon he used it. He chose to use it."

A hard choice to make in a difficult situation, but the choices made by officers and others on the scene possibly saved many lives.

The deputy who was shot 4 times in the courthouse shooting is still in critical condition at the East Texas Medical Center in Tyler.

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