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Departments : Shots Fired

Shots Fired: Midway, Georgia 03/23/2010

A rampage by a homicidal/suicidal man was foiled by a coordinated effort from officers, deputies, and troopers.

August 20, 2010  |  by - Also by this author

The High Ground

As Gordon crossed over some railroad tracks, he reached his hand out the sunroof of the vehicle and pointed it in the direction of an open field just down the road and across the street from a daycare center.

Something about the man's collective actions seemed to give credence to his indication that he planned to turn into the field. By unspoken accord, the units backed off to allow the man to make good on his intent. Sure enough, Gordon turned off the road and drove into the field, pulling atop a knoll just short of the tree line and the woods beyond.

It was good to get him off the road. But now Gordon had a strong, defensible position; he had seized the high ground. The only saving grace as far as the officers were concerned was that the man had also marooned himself in an area where fields of fire wouldn't be as large a concern as they might have been on the street.

Rich pulled up perpendicular to Gordon's VW and 20 yards short of it to assume a tactical position as other units fanned out about the passenger side of Gordon's VW.

With his boss and a Georgia State Patrol trooper taking the rear flank and other officers stopping to his right, Rich found himself in the middle of a semi-circle containment of Gordon.

By parking atop the knoll, Gordon had given himself a good four feet of elevation on Rich and his peers so that Rich's natural line of sight as he sat in the patrol unit was up under the VW.

The first thing Gordon did upon exiting the VW was take a position behind its engine block. Leaning over the hood, the man pointed a handgun at an officer off to the right front of his VW as the officer exited his unit. But despite having the drop on the officer, Gordon didn't fire. Instead, he suddenly dropped back down behind the engine block.


When Gordon reappeared a split-second later, it was his attire that caught Rich's eye. The man's sartorial tastes would have suggested a Sunday outing, and the dress suit would not have looked out of place in church. But there was hardly anything holy about the man's intentions and this time he immediately let loose, firing a round at an officer to Rich's right and striking the back door of the officer's vehicle.

Fortunately, his intended target had taken a position behind the trunk of Rich's vehicle and was uninjured.

In response, a couple of deputies and a Georgia State Trooper simultaneously returned fire, forcing Gordon to duck and take a position behind the A-pillar of his VW.

Shortly thereafter, Rich heard gunfire come from the other side of the VW. This time the percussion was louder and deeper, sounding to Rich very much like a shotgun.

How many guns does this guy have? thought the veteran firearms instructor.

From all around him, Rich could hear his fellow law enforcement officers yelling commands for Gordon to drop his gun.

Instead, Gordon casually stepped out from behind the cover of his vehicle, walked directly to the front of his VW, and exposed himself to the assembled officers, including Rich.

Gordon was armed with two firearms.

He raised one at Rich and the assembled officers.

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