Stop me if you’ve heard this one, a man dressed in a Panda suit walks into a TV station…. In Baltimore, a Mad Bomber walks into a TV station and demands that the station play a video tape he has in his possession. He is dressed in a Panda costume and displays what appears to be a suicide vest equipped with a remote switch. A remote switch can to be activated by the controller causing detonation.
Police opt to take the bomber out when he goes mobile. The first shot seemingly has no effect, his left left shoulder flinches a little. The second shot seems to impact his chest. Notice that the SWAT team is likely within the blast radius. Chances are the ballistic equipment would offer minimal protection to the team. They leave him in the street for over an hour. He had been shot twice, possibly three times, being of absolutely no use to himself or any body else, he lives.
Sitting in the cheap seats, this looks like another Baltimore PD screw up. Not in shooting the guy, but not killing him, instantly. Admittedly, a one shot kill is a lot easier in the movies than in real life. If the authorities believed that he had a bomb with a remote control capability then protocol calls for a kill shot that eliminates the possibility of a remote detonation by the suspect. Suspects are funny, after they’ve been shot once by the police even the dumbest don’t believe the police have their best interests at heart.
I considered the possibility that police deployed non-lethal means to stop the event. Rule of thumb is police overcome the use of force deployed by a suspect. If the suspect is using deadly force (a bomb) the appropriate response is deadly force. If the police believed that the suspect might have a hoax bomb, then less lethal might be appropriate. But there’s a problem. For the sake of argument let’s say that sniper #1 shot the suspect in the shoulder in an attempt to disable the suspect’s arm, to keep him from activating the vest. Sniper #2 shot the motherboard or control panel for the bomb, in an attempt to render it safe. The question remains how do you leave an injured suspect in the street for an hour, without medical treatment?
It just goes to show that police cannot plan for every contingency. Nothing says you’re serious like a suspect dressed in a Panda costume rigged with a simulated bomb made out of chocolate bars. I will give Baltimore PD the same advise I gave Fargo earlier.