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Posted at 6:30 PM ET, 02/ 2/2011

Don't rush to judge officers in Takoma Park standoff

By Michael J. Bolton, Arlington

I am happy to hear the police are going to review the shooting incident in the Takoma Park hostage standoff Friday. The possibility that the hostage, police officers, media, bank personnel, shoppers and others were at risk from rapid gunfire is very real. But I also feel the criticisms of the officers on the scene offered by former SWAT and hostage team experts in your piece titled "Only suspect died in hostage standoff, but was it just luck?" are premature, if not unjustified.

To suggest, for example, as former FBI chief hostage negotiator Clint Van Zandt did - that a decision should have been made regarding which "officers should have their guns out and who would be the shooter" in the midst of the chaos, exacerbated by shouting, the deafening wap-wap-wap of helicopter rotors, and erratic chatter of police, medic and fire department radios from different agencies -- is reckless.

I prefer to wait for the after-action report for any such judgment. Right now, my take on this is that the officers handled the situation as best they could given its volatile and potentially catastrophic nature. Theory, conjecture, supposition, assessment, criticism and training all have their value - in a perfect, predictable world. When all hell breaks loose, with human life in jeopardy, I'm inclined not to give much thought to the views of distant experts until I've heard from those on the ground, those who acted quickly while putting themselves in harm's way.

By Michael J. Bolton, Arlington  | February 2, 2011; 6:30 PM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Maryland, Montgomery County, Takoma, crime, guns, police  
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Posted by: mayabosley | February 3, 2011 1:48 AM | Report abuse

The bank robber who threatened to murder the bank employee that he had kidnapped was another illegal alien from south of the border. Why is this not being reported more, and when is the Obama administration going to start treating them like the invaders that they are instead of pandering to them as "future citizens and Democrat voters"?

Posted by: nola_exile | February 3, 2011 8:02 AM | Report abuse

No, I'd prefer to discuss the matter now. Police reports of their own shootings and incidents tend to be whitewashes turned in 9 months later.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | February 3, 2011 9:01 AM | Report abuse You can politicize anything, can't you?

Posted by: jckdoors | February 3, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

nola_exile, you really won't have to worry any more about this particular illegal alien will you? And Nemo, did you watch the whole thing from start to finish? Over and over again? I think the officers showed amazing self control in taking down a man who was terrorizing an innocent bank teller. Anyone who didn't have any more sense than to stay in that parking lot, being afraid they'd miss something, almost deserved to be shot.

Posted by: mbrumble | February 3, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

It would've been better if the cops shot the robber in the face, so his family would have to have a closed-casket funeral.

Posted by: kenk33 | February 3, 2011 2:06 PM | Report abuse

The televised recording of the event speaks for itself. Now there is one less thug that will need to waste taxpayers money with a trial, legal costs, and other related costs. The officer(s) who shot and killed this robber deserve a medal. I doubt the bank teller who was his hostage is going to file a complaint of excessive force or any other complaint.

Posted by: robertmthomasjr | February 4, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

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