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Author Topic: Shoot-out Breakdown: Oklahoma  (Read 3344 times)


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Shoot-out Breakdown: Oklahoma
« on: January 15, 2005, 01:05:34 PM »

Scientific police investigations knew precisely how Randall Carr ended up killed by a police bullet that tore into his body near his rectum and blew a hole in his heart.

His angry relatives, with Johnnie Cochran's legal team behind them,
insisted it had to be a deliberate police execution. The officers involved vehemently denied that, of course. But they couldn't
reconstruct the fatal details of Carr's final moments or explain the
seemingly incriminating pattern of wounds documented at autopsy.

With a $5 million federal civil rights lawsuit and the officers'
reputations at stake, specialists worked in hopes that a scientific analysis of the shooting could shed some light on its dark mysteries.

This much was known about the circumstances that began unfolding about 11
o'clock one autumn night in the Maxwell House Apartments in downtown
Oklahoma City:

During an investigation of an assault on the landlord during a rent
dispute, 2 officers were questioning the accused tenant, Randall Carr, 38.
Carr was acting "very excited and aggressive," and was later found to have
evidence of cocaine use in his bloodstream. He declared, "I own this
building, I own Oklahoma City and I don't have to pay rent!" Then he
punched one officer in the head, inflicting a cut over his right eye, and
kneed the other in the groin, and fled on foot. Multiple units responded.

During a pursuit by foot and car, Carr at one point was whacked at the knee
with an expandable baton and sprayed directly in the eyes and nose with OC,
but he did not submit. Finally the cop who'd been kneed during the initial
call, Ofcr. Jerry Bowen, and a responding sergeant, Randy Castle, cornered
Carr in a small, dark churchyard a couple of blocks from his apartment.

With a jagged piece of concrete about twice the size of a softball clutched
in his left hand, Carr (who was left handed) tried to scale a spiked fence
at one edge of the yard, but he couldn't make it. The officers were yelling
at him to get down and to drop the concrete. He dropped off the fence,
turned and with his left arm raised started to run directly at Castle, who
was about 20 feet away.

Bowen was forward from Castle and to his right. In Bowen's perception, Carr
was charging Castle intent on bashing in the sergeant's skull with the
concrete chunk.

Both officers opened fire with their Glocks. Eleven rounds were discharged.
Seven struck Carr. When the shooting stopped he was slumped against a
wooden bench several feet to Castle's left.

Castle had no clear recollection of the 5 shots he fired. He recalled Carr
"throwing" the concrete at him at a point. A left-hander like the suspect,
Castle instinctively turned away while raising his right hand to protect
his head, and fired his rounds blindly back at his assailant with his left

Bowen said he started shooting when Carr crossed his line of fire in the
dead run toward Castle. There was about 5 feet between Bowen and the
attacker at that moment. He fired a total of 6 rounds. Between the moment
he started shooting and an awareness that Carr was "suddenly" no longer
upright as a target, he had no relevant memories.

These days, white officers shooting and killing any black suspect
guarantees controversy. But in this case, the situation was exacerbated by
a disturbing medical examiner's report.

The fatal round, which ballistics determined was fired by Bowen, has
entered to the left of Carr's rectum and had followed a path roughly
paralleling his spinal column straight to his heart.

Through a local attorney, surviving relatives of Carr (who included a
professional football player) contacted Johnnie Cochran's law office and a
federal civil suit inevitably materialized, alleging excessive force by the
officers and failure to train and supervise by the city. The municipality
got out of the case on a motion for summary judgment prior to trial, but
the officers remained as defendants.

At the heart of the plaintiffs' case was an inflammatory premise: Such a
fatal bullet pathway could have occurred only if Carr was already down on
his hands and knees, butt in the air and no longer a threat, when the
killing shot was fired. Bowen must have advanced on the suspect and pulled
the trigger from behind him to create the resulting wound channel. In
effect, the fatal round was an unjustified execution.

Bill Lewinski says he approached this volatile situation with no
preconceived notions. "Mentally I kept myself neutral to how it would come
out, good or bad," he says. "I was interested just in understanding what

Besides the fatal round, Carr had been shot in the left hip, the left
waistline, the right calf, the left wrist, the left thigh and the inside
right thigh. The autopsy report clearly established each wound channel,
confirming the trajectory on which each slug had penetrated into the
offender's body. All but one had struck him from the rear. However, the
sequencing of the shots, whose gun some of the rounds came from (those that
were through and through), and what time span the shooting covered--all
were among the case's many unknowns.

As one of the nation's foremost authorities on reaction times and shooting
dynamics, Lewinski felt that documenting the missing elements would be
critical to understanding how the shooting actually unfolded and
determining whether the plaintiffs' allegations of wrongdoing might, in
fact, be true.

He started by taking Ofcr. Bowen and Sgt. Castle to Oklahoma City PD's
firearms range. They'd told him that in an effort to stop the onrushing
Carr they had fired as fast as they could pull the trigger that fateful
night. He asked them to do that again--repeatedly--while they were
videotaped by Lewinski and Parris Ward. Ward, who heads the firm Biodynamics Engineering, is aprominent computer animator whose vivid reconstructions of police shootings and other controversial events are frequently introduced as pivotal
evidence in high-profile court cases.

The videotapes offered gross time stamps of the officers shooting. But back
in his lab in Pacific Palisades, CA, Ward's ultra-sophisticated equipment
was able to break down the sample firings into hundredths of a second. That
revealed that the officers had been able to shoot in a range of .233 to
.268 of a second per round.

Now Lewinski, working with Ward and his precision equipment, set about the
laborious task of calculating the sequence and timing of every round that
had struck Carr.

Lewinski figured that the round which entered Carr's left side at waist
level had to have been the initial round fired by Bowen and the first of
the fusillade to hit the running suspect. "This would could only have come
from one officer at one point in the action," Lewinski says.

Almost simultaneous to that round, according to investigators' reports,
Carr had stumbled and had "thrown" the concrete at Castle, who was then
less than 5 feet away. The chunk hit Castle's left shoulder.

At about the point Carr had reached in his line of travel when all this
happened there was a depression in the ground that accommodated a drain
grate. In the dark and malevolently focused on rushing Castle, Carr would
not likely have seen this hole. If his left foot had gone down in it he
would certainly have stumbled, his raised left hand would likely have
involuntarily released the concrete and--most important, Lewinski knew from
his extensive study of physical dynamics--his body would have thrust
sharply forward and then twisted to the right as he tried unsuccessfully to
regain his balance and his right leg collapsed from the sudden, unexpected
shift of his body weight. Bowen's shots coming from the left would have
contributed to this motion.

Turning right and then falling face down toward the ground would have
positioned him so that most of Bowen's 5 shots that connected--including
the troublesome fatal round--would have hit him from the rear, without
Bowen advancing significantly toward him.

Painstakingly, Lewinski and Ward gradually reconstructed this probable
timing and sequence:

0.000 second: Bowen's first shot to Carr's left hip (timing baseline).

0.233 second: Bowen's second round, to the left waistline, slightly to the rear

0.500 second: Bowen's third round, to the left buttock (the fatal shot)

0.600 second: Castle's first round, a miss

0.733 second: Bowen's fourth round, to the right rear calf

0.867 second: Castle's second round, to the left wrist

0.967 second: Bowen's fifth round, to the left rear thigh

1.133 seconds: Castle's third round, to the inner right thigh

1.200 seconds: Bowen's sixth (last) round, a miss to the suspect's right

1.400 seconds: Castle's fourth round, a miss

1.600 seconds: Castle's fifth round, a miss (last round fired).

"This sequence of rounds, matched to bullet trajectories and times, when
put all together makes a sensible scenario of what occurred," Lewinski
says. "Things can only happen in a certain way, and based on the science of
the situation, we are confident this is the way."

In confirming the incredible speed in which police shootings can go down,
incidentally, this is a classic case: 11 rounds fired by these 2 officers
in just 1.6 seconds, start to finish.

When the lawsuit went to trial in U.S. District Court last November, Ward's
elegant and gripping color animation of the shooting and Lewinski's
detailed explanation of the science behind it were highlights of the
officers' defense presented by attorneys Robert Manchester (brother of the
famed historian William Manchester) and Susan Knight (wife of an Oklahoma
peace officer). The jury was shown the conflict recreated in time-coded
slow motion, in freeze-frames and in actual time, from a variety of angles.

The key element was the placement of Bowen's fatal round early in the
sequence. Without that being plausibly positioned and explained, the
plaintiff's spectre of a final, fatal "execution" shot might have seem much
more credible.

Johnnie Cochran, who had been expected to head the plaintiff's case, failed
to show, reportedly because of health problems. An associate from Hawaii
replaced him.

This attorney tried to convince the jury that Ward's animation was
unrealistic. During cross examination, he had Lewinski get down on the
courtroom floor, with his butt thrust toward the jury, and try to assume
the position that he claimed Carr had been in when he took the fatal round.
Lewinski could not do so--because, as he patiently explained, this was a
dynamic posture that occurred ever so briefly while the suspect was falling.

The plaintiffs presented their own animated version of the shooting. But it
was built backward from the alleged "execution shot," which the plaintiffs
claimed was fired after Carr had come to rest against the bench. In
critiquing this scenario, Lewinski explained in detail why it was illogical
and inaccurate and not based on sound principles. "They ignored science for
the purpose of constructing a story that fit their conception of the
shooting," he says.

Among other things, Lewinski also why the officers could not have instantly stopped shooting once Carr started to fall and was no longer an imminent threat.

On Nov. 22, after days of testimony and arguments, the jury returned its
verdict. Four long years after the shooting occurred, the officers were
finally exonerated. The plaintiffs were granted nothing, and there was no
reimbursement for the substantial funds the plaintiffs' attorneys had put
forth to prepare for trial.

This case, incidentally, is the third in which Lewinski has helped to
successfully defend officers against Johnnie Cochran's legal armada.


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Re: Shoot-out Breakdown: Oklahoma
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2005, 09:35:15 PM »

There is a website, that has a computer generated explaining of this incident.  It is quite inofrmative.
"He who passively accepts evil, is as much involved in it, as he who helps to perpetuate it."


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Re: Shoot-out Breakdown: Oklahoma
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2005, 10:04:35 AM »

The forcescience website is a must for anyone in law enforcement and anybody interested in using a firearm for self-defense.  Not only is the website informative, they also offer a weekly informational e-mail newsletter.  Any officer who subscribes to Calibre Press' newsline should also subscribe to forcescience's newsletter as well.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.


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Re: Shoot-out Breakdown: Oklahoma
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2005, 06:38:23 AM »

hmmm.......a camera on their weapon would have saved a bunch of time........ ;)


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Re: Shoot-out Breakdown: Oklahoma
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2005, 09:30:32 PM »

When a person receives a fatal gunshot they usually "corkscrew" into the ground.  There are photographs of this in the original Street Survival book.  According to Jim Cirillo, when he was on the NYPD stakeout squad, when they shot somebody, they would check the position of his feet.  The "corkscrewing" would cause them to die with their feet crossed.  Jim has stated that when they saw the crossed feet, they were pretty sure that the bad guy was down for good.
"The world is a dangerous place to live — not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."
Albert Einstein

"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."
Marcus Aurelius


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Re: Shoot-out Breakdown: Oklahoma
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2005, 06:10:09 PM »

According to Cirillo the ankles would cross when the deceased was dead before he hit the ground.  Jim believes that it's caused by one side of the body shutting down before the other.  One knee would buckle first, causing the subject to twist.
"The world is a dangerous place to live — not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."
Albert Einstein

"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."
Marcus Aurelius


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Re: Shoot-out Breakdown: Oklahoma
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2005, 09:50:54 PM »

When a person receives a fatal gunshot they usually "corkscrew" into the ground. According to Cirillo the ankles would cross when the deceased was dead before he hit the ground.  Jim believes that it's caused by one side of the body shutting down before the other.  One knee would buckle first, causing the subject to twist

A casual and interesting observation. Often true. Often not.  Mostly interesting for after the fact observations. I would think the force of the incoming round, baseball or bullet, would cause the spin, more than what side gets "killed" first.

I have quite a bit of in-depth information and research on this in the gun chapter of my book, Training Mission Three and TM3 DVD

Shutting one side of the body off, (Jim C. may be speaking very lightly about the term “shutting down”) in such a hair-split second would probably come from a brain shot. Left side shutting right side off. Right side shutting left side off. Electric. Kind of instant. But, I think the incoming force dictates the direction of the fall, not what side shuts down first.
The "corkscrew" depends a lot if the round lands to the right or left of the the person's center line. An off-line shot such as this propels the body to one side, causing the overall body torque that might produce the hooked ankles. I have seen folks that were shotgunned or shot from the front and fell straight back and their legs landed askew. But I think odds are that significant rounds will land off-center and may will bend and turn the torso. (one small point here and the subject of a whole other essay is the inertia generated by the human body mixed as that body moves in a gunfight. This mixes with the physics also).

There has been some "speculation" about a "dieing reaction" that causes the dead to hook their ankles and I cannot find a single doctor through the last 25 years to agree with this. Many doctors are not expert in these exact subjects and I would always be interested in hearing some more observations on it. But I have been trained by dozens of medical examiners in many murder and violent death investigation schools and the few I have asked have no opinion. I didn't ask every instructor because in the beginning, frankly, I wasn't smart enough to know to ask such a question.

The big, helpful tip-off to me has really been the unusual lifelessness and looseness of the body on the ground (but, muscles can still hold much of their form after death) Sort of a marionette whose strings are suddenly cut and they fall with limbs radically askew. This comes too from significant bullets that splinter and break bones and cut muscle.

 Also, the many, many wounded jerk and crawl around, then die and the legs are therefore unhooked. Deciding what was a "fatal" shot is so easy after you search the body than while first walking up.

They use to teach us the hooked ankle position in the arrest process of felons. The hooked ankles are supposed to confine the face-down suspect. I learned through time though that the hooked ankles allow the suspect to ROLL-OVER face-up quicker than someone who had their legs spread wide. So I ordered suspects to spread their legs, toes out. Heels touching the ground. It buys a second or two. If a guy is playing dead, or freshly arrested, chest down on a concealed pistol-his hooked ankles allow him to do a quick roll-over and shoot you. Not good.

We would sometimes have to check down and previously armed bodies and would throw stuff at their heads to see if there was any reflexive reaction.

Also, while approaching the suspected dead, one might be able to see or smell urine and defecation.

I think of you spun a limp rag doll down; the mere force of the spin might cause the legs to hook. The force  and direction of the spin being the primer. In humans, this limpness comes from death AND...Unconsciousness.

Could the shock of a bullet impact cause unconsciousness first, then death? Are we really talking about dieing "in the air" here? I wonder? What would the difference be if someone were knocked unconscious? Wouldn't they suffer the exact same, sudden limber sensation, loss of leg strength and structure if knocked unconscious? Drop like a stone?

A powerful right punch, splashing the brain causes the man to drop and to turn lifelessly to his left?  Would this spin also cause the ankles to hook? Then you would have a guy just knocked out, reacting like a dead guy.

 The key issue to me in the hooked ankles position is that if a suspect or enemy soldier is playing dead and trying to ambush you, it is unlikely they will hook their ankles, opting instead for quicker "get-up" positions to surprise and attack you. They would have to be playing an advanced, mental chess game with you to know and do this. But, I still think a common man playing dead would not hook his ankles, opting for a more quick, "get-up" position, and therefore seeing the hooked ankles on a shot man is probably a clue of death (or at least unconsciousness) as you approach him.
Anyway, it is almost a semantic, trivial pursuit question, an after-the-fact observation. Can't fully count on it due to all the possible circumstances. But interesting. This is a whole vital, subject matter that is virtually untaught and never discussed in police and military training. It never seems to come up in range/live-fire training because people are often too busy shooting. Anyway- lot more tips, talk and science on these subjects in the TM3 book and TM3 DVD.

« Last Edit: May 20, 2005, 06:32:40 AM by »