McDonald became aware of a man's presence just eight feet beyond the pane glass window. Knowing that there was an armed suspect still in the immediate vicinity and concerned for the man's welfare, McDonald started to yell, "Hey, get out of th...! "
McDonald never finished his command. He saw that the man was reloading a shotgun.
At the sound of McDonald's voice, Pruitt reflexively raised his Glock in the direction that his partner's speech had been directed. He looked up to see a large black male just beyond the glass, staring down at him, a waist level shotgun barrel pointed at his head. Involuntarily flinching, Pruitt closed his eyes in anticipation of the shotgun blast that would surely disintegrate the window and kill him. But the gunman did not fire.
Don't Come in Here
McDonald was crouched on the ground. From his perspective, the 6-foot, 3-inch, 280-pound gunman loomed ominously over him. The gunman held the barrel of his sawed-off shotgun level with Pruitt's head as he reloaded, but his eyes and statements were aimed directly at McDonald, his words a flat, eerie monotone.
"Don't come in here."
But there was no shot, no shattering of glass.
McDonald aimed his sidearm at the man, repeatedly yelling for the man to drop the shotgun. But the man simply stared at him and continued reloading. McDonald, who was accustomed to receiving at least marginal compliance from most suspects, particularly when they had guns pointed at them, couldn't understand why the man wasn't responding to his orders.
"Don't come in." The man warned again, as he slid shells into the magazine of his shotgun.
Pruitt considered the gun the man held. He knew that the man was well within its range of normal accuracy.
And both officers shared an unarticulated thought: Firing their guns might not have the desired effect. Bullet deflection was one concern, and any wire mesh reinforcing the glass could possibly fragment the window, effectively obscuring their view of the suspect inside, leaving them sitting ducks. Both officers had been warned repeatedly against firing through windshields, but when it came to the prospect of ballistic impact involving other types of glass barriers, they were largely ignorant. Neither took the shot.
Meanwhile, the man retreated into the community center and out of sight.