Gun fight, a true story, Daniel Pastre, Author of Justice and Closure.
While on routine patrol on a week day morning at about two a.m. in the city of Cottonwood, Arizona, I drove by the self-serve car wash on Hwy 89A. I observed an older, battered, tan Cadillac parked in one of the stalls. A man was standing behind the open trunk suspiciously holding a lit propane torch. I radioed in to dispatch giving my location and the circumstances. I pulled in directly behind the subject and lit him up with my brights and spot light to provide a tactical advantage, then quickly exited my patrol car and observed that he was wearing a holstered hand gun on his hip (perfectly legal in Arizona). Using my lapel microphone, I requested precautionary back-up. Dispatch advised that back-up was approximately ten minutes out. Upon approaching the subject, he appeared to be very nervous shifting his weight from side to side. Mentally, I was preparing for any possible scenario to follow. I asked him, “What are you doing?” He didn’t answer, but his hand went down to his gun. Instinctively in a split second, I drew my Sig. 45 and had it pointed at his chest before he cleared leather. Using loud harsh street language, I ordered him to lift his hands above his head and drop to his knees. With all my senses honed on his next move, my index finger was tightening on the trigger. For a moment that seemed to hang in the air, he froze with his hand still resting on the butt of his gun. Finally, dropping his gaze, he complied. I held him at gun point until a back-up unit arrived. With another officer present, the suspect was handcuffed. Upon closer inspection of the open trunk of his car, there were numerous pieces of jewelry including rings, necklaces, bracelets, precious stones, and gold coins along with electronic devices such as radios, scanners, tape recorders, and cell phones. Also in the trunk was a suitcase containing several hand guns of different calibers. Since the suspect was now in custody and his vehicle would be impounded, case law allows an inventory search of the complete vehicle. Inside the driver’s compartment of the car, I found several baggies containing white powder that field-tested positive for methamphetamine. It didn’t take long to determine that the suspect was a “fence” trading methamphetamine for stolen property. As a result of the arrest, a letter of commendation was added to my file. However, what meant more to me was the fact that my training and confidence as a peace officer kept the suspect from being killed in a gun fight.