After an altercation, responding officers need to secure their safety and ensure the safety of anyone else who may be at the scene of the incident. Because you have a gun, and either pulled or fired your weapon, their sense will be heightened and you will be considered a suspect until things get sorted out.
If you are the person to call in the incident, here are the two approaches you can take when speaking to the responding officer.
1. Say Nothing.
You will be under stress and you might be afraid to say the wrong thing. If this is the case, it is a wise idea to simply say “I am not speaking until I have a lawyer”. This simple phrase (and nothing else) will save you from accidentally saying the wrong thing that could be used against you later on. This approach is a good idea if you are usually hot tempered or start to ramble when in a stressful situation.
2. Say Very Little.
The other approach is to say very little to the police, including only the information that is necessary and helpful to the situation. Establishing yourself as the one who called is a good first step along with stating your first and last name. Another piece of information you could include is what the suspect was wearing and what direction they went if they fled the scene. Keep this information focused and brief. Without your lawyer, details should be avoided at all costs.
Some things to never say when speaking to the police is stating that it was an accident you fired your weapon or over explaining what the situation. Saying less is always better than saying too much, especially in a legal situation where a firearm was involved.
Once you have identified yourself and the victim, it is appropriate to state that you will no longer speak until your lawyer is present. After you say that, DO NOT SPEAK. Even small talk with the officer could lead you to accidentally say something that could be used against you later.
Do Exactly What The Officers Say
When the police arrive on scene, you need to do whatever you can to lessen the tension of the responding officers. No matter your actions or intentions, even if you believe you did everything right, the police do not know this when arriving on the scene. If you are unable to secure your weapon somewhere when you see police approaching, put your weapon on the ground in a safe place and back away from it. Remember, they do not know you and they need to gauge your intentions first.
Follow any officer’s instructions to the letter. If you still have your gun in hand and they say to drop it — drop it. Don’t move, twist, duck, bend, step. Just drop it. Let them do their jobs and sort out the situation.
After the Incident
The police will have plenty of questions for you. Let them know you will fully cooperate but you would like your attorney present before answering any questions. Make no mistake: they are there investigating you just as much as they are investigating the incident. Identify yourself and give them your identification and your concealed carry permit information, but do not offer up any other information. You will be stressed from what has just transpired. Once you say something, you cannot take it back. Ask to contact your attorney immediately and do not answer any further questions.
Understand that you are likely going to be brought to the police station and maybe even processed into a cell until everything is sorted out. You need to be okay with that before you even think about unholstering your weapon. Understanding that it will happen and why it will happen will put you more at ease.
You have kept your head through an incredibly stressful situation. Now is the time to be quiet and comply. Contact your attorney as soon as you are able and work with that person regarding the incident.