The birth of our reactive shooting methods began on a cold and rainy December night, in 1991. It was December 7th, the 50th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor...it was cold, and raining, and I felt like crap. I had been fighting a cold for a week and it was finally taking hold. I remember standing over the phone, actually holding the receiver and debating whether to call in sick or not. (This was long before smart phones millenials would use today).
As it turned out, I popped a couple of Day Quills and drove in to work.
My plan was simple.
I would get a nice hot Starbucks, a copy of the latest Investor's Business Daily and hang out in the heated car until I got a radio call. I was not in the mood for that "proactive police work" we hear about...not that day...not the way I felt.
And it was all going according to plan too.
Then at about 2345 HRS I got the call.
"3L7 respond, any unit to assist, Armed Robbery in Progress, the 7-11 at 1600 Santa Monica Blvd...information coming in."
I recall tossing my coffee out the window and quickly driving to the location. I remember they sent me code 3, but I never did that when driving robbery calls. I surely did not want to frighten the robbers away prior to my arrival. I had different objectives than some other guys. I stopped the police car in the shadows, and approached on foot, in stealth, down a narrow construction corridor adjacent to the 7-11, and then to a vantage point just to the south side of the main door.
I recall grabbing for my mic and preparing to ask the dispatchers to make the call. It was SOP for the units to deploy, take positions outside and have dispatch call the location in hopes of getting an understanding of what was going on inside. This prevented an ambush from waiting bad guys and prevented us from shooting an employee that had mistakenly tripped an alarm.
Just then - "Further information on the 211 in progress. RP reports three male blacks armed with handguns."
At that very moment, almost as if on cue, I heard the bad guys execute the manager, and attempt to kill an employee, with a fusilade of about ten to fifteen shots.
I was just clearing the corner to gain a visual on the front of the store when I saw the first bad guy.
Late teens, festooned in the gang attire of the day, a long "LA Raiders" Jacket, red bandana, and sideways baseball cap. He looked like he had popped out of central casting for the movie "Colors" and he was running directly toward me carrying a Taurus 357 revolver.
In an instant our eyes met, and what we now know fondly as the OODA cycle ran its course. He brought his 357 up and fired.
Distance was ten feet.
For no other reason than it felt like the right thing to do, I moved quickly to my left. Not standing my ground...not taking a shooting stance...not doing all the things I had been taught to do in the artificial world of the shooting range.
I moved, hard and fast and explosively...and I shot him in the neck/face area as I did so.
The movement was not as developed as what we have now. In fact, it probably looked clumsy as an elephant doing the ballet. But it sufficed to keep me away from his gunfire, yet allow me to fire back and kill him. The rest of the next few minutes was a replay of all the police versus criminal gunfights you have ever seen in the movies. And then it was over. A few seconds elapsed...but it was a very busy few seconds.
The other two were captured...one also shot, the other surrendered, and interestingly enough, later was killed in prison by a rival gang.
It was such a harrowing event, rather than another Internal Affairs investigation, they gave me the award pictured.
December 7th, 1991 - The discovery of reactive tactical movement. The rest, is what we see today in the Close Range Gunfighting Family Of Classes.