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Departments : Shots Fired

Shots Fired: Volusia County, Florida 11/26/2011

Called to a home for a family argument, two deputies found themselves under fire.

March 13, 2012  |  by - Also by this author

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Get the Gun!

Neither deputy saw the .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol until Reynolds started firing rounds from it. Where he'd accessed the gun was a mystery. What wasn't in question-at least in Braman's mind-were the man's intentions.

A blast went off near Braman's head, rupturing his eardrum and heralding a high-pitched whine. Braman's hand shot up and seized Reynolds' forearm in a bid to keep the barrel of the pistol from being pointed at his head. A split-second later two more shots rang out. Bullets tore into Braman's arm and shoulder, but Braman stayed in the fight.

AUDIO: Listen to radio dispatch traffic.

For his part, Brady was still playing catch-up. He still hadn't seen the gun in Reynolds' hand, and the presence of the man's mother in the doorway only further confused the matter. A bullet whizzed past his disoriented head.

Where the hell are the rounds coming from? Reynolds' mother? What would that have felt like if it'd hit me in the head?

Brady allowed himself a split-second prayer and his synapses kicked into high gear, compensating for his initial confusion and allowing him to zero in on the threat over which Reynolds and Braman wrestled.

Braman lay atop Reynolds, using what remaining strength he had in his wounded left arm to pin the suspect's hand to the ground. Stacking his right hand atop his left and using both to pin down the shooter's hand still gripping the pistol, Braman yelled.


Brady seized the firearm, sweeping it from Reynolds' grasp.

With the gun secured, Reynolds' resistance was easily overcome. The deputies handcuffed him. Only then did Brady realize that he, too, had been struck.

Analysis and Recovery

"I honestly didn't think that John (Dep. Braman) had made it through the first volley of shots," says Brady. "When I heard John's voice, that was a good sound. That was a sweet sound."

For a brief moment, Braman didn't realize he was being shot at. To him, the initial discharge of the gun sounded like a TASER deployment, followed quickly by a muting sensation. "We almost didn't recognize what it was at first," he recalled. "It was just that quick and that unexpected."

Each deputy is thankful for the presence of the other, and that neither went in alone.

"It wasn't an in-progress disturbance that we were responding to," says Braman. "But the way we're trained, if you're going to make an arrest, you don't go by yourself. Just by training and habit and the way we do things and our policies, we're going to treat it like an in-progress emergency. We're going to have a two-person response, at minimum. That's how we respond."

Braman says that even though he had a clear view of the subject's hands and saw no indication that the man had a weapon, something alarmed him about the confrontation. "I knew something was going to go wrong," Braman says. He points to Reynolds' stance and his refusal to move away from the front door as two indicators that set off his instinctual warning flags.

It was also those very same instincts-honed and reinforced by repetitive, scenario-based training and experience in the field-that helped the two deputies survive the hail of gunfire. While they never saw the gun until after the suspect started squeezing off the rounds that triggered the life-and-death struggle, Brady and Braman had responded to the call with a plan. After all, both deputies had trained extensively and had responded to back up one another on numerous attempt-to-contact calls in the past. It's just that they never had one turn this deadly before.

If not for their training, instincts, and quick, tactical thinking under fire, there's little doubt that the Sheriff's Office would have been burying one or both officers. Instead, despite being struck by bullets, the deputies managed to subdue, disarm, and handcuff the shooter without having to return fire.

By Brady's estimate, the shooting happened in a matter of five to eight seconds. When it was over, the rest of the field force, along with paramedics, rushed to the scene. Braman was airlifted to a hospital in Daytona Beach for treatment. He spent the night there and was released the next day. Brady was taken by ambulance to the same hospital, where he was treated and released.

Comments (7)

Displaying 1 - 7 of 7

Morning Eagle @ 3/13/2012 11:24 PM

Training - Training - Training - coupled with experience and learning from the experiences of others, just do it and take it serious. Your life DOES depend on it in today's world where people are increasingly willing to shoot police officers.

And Deputy Barman, being more alert isn't being paranoid, it is the right thing to do.

Morning Eagle @ 3/13/2012 11:30 PM

Deputy Braman, sorry about the typo on your name, didn't notice until I hit submit.

Dan Birdsley @ 3/14/2012 6:25 AM

A demonstration of true professionalism. Great job, gentlemen!

Jim @ 3/14/2012 7:10 AM

Being from St Augustine I remember this incident well and we immediately started saying prayers for my brothers the moment we heard. I am so glad that they survived and were able to return to their families and duty. Repetitive training is essential and should NEVER be taken lightly. God Bless my Brothers and if I happen to run into either of you I will gladly spring for the coffee or whatever.

Juan 10-13 @ 3/14/2012 7:17 AM

Amen Guys.....I am so glad you are OK.......

1D96 @ 3/20/2012 7:29 AM

Being a member of Braman and Brady's shift and being there that night is and will always be etched in my memory. I still get chills hearing the audio and can remember clearly not knowing exactly what was going on but trying our hardest to get there as fast as we could for our brothers. I am forever thankful that "The John's" are alive and well. The hardest thing for me after the shooting there on scene was a feeling of letting my brothers down. We constantly train together and go over "what if" scenarios. But if my brothers were ever in a gun fight or ever going to be shot at, I wanted to be there shoulder to shoulder with them. Its a feeling I am not sure others have but I wanted to be there to face evil head on with this family I spend most of my life with. John Braman and John Brady, I love you guys. Lets keep putting the bad guys in jail and KEEP THEM THERE!

Michael Agee (Mickey) @ 6/23/2012 6:20 AM

I was in the Coast Guard with John Brady on the USCGC CONFIDENCE. John is a great man... I'm glad he and his partner are okay. I hope that little shit stay in jail a LONG LONG time.

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