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Former Cop who Confronted Ohio Gunman 'Did What Was Necessary to Do'

August 09, 2011  | 

Screenshot: WKYC.
Screenshot: WKYC.

Keith Lavery heard gunfire and people screaming Sunday morning outside his home, and slipped into police mode, even though he hasn't been a police officer for three years.

Lavery, who left the Copley Township Police Department in 2008, grabbed his handgun, told his son to stay on the floor, and left his Copley Township home. He credits his police training for taking quick action.

"It just comes down to part of my DNA," Lavery told WKYC. "It's ingrained in you. There's a switch that gets turned. When you hear people screaming and gunfire and all hell's breaking loose, that switch gets activated. A lot of times you just react the way you were trained."

After Lavery left his house, he joined with a Copley Township PD officer who he described as a "battle buddy." He was asked if he feels like a hero. "I don't feel like a hero," he said. "I feel like what I did was necessary to do, and I would do it again."

Listen to Lavery's full interview at WKYC.


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Comments (10)

Displaying 1 - 10 of 10

Dan Stewart @ 8/9/2011 11:34 AM

Being in the right place at the right time. I know a lot of retired officers that would do the same thing, they have the same "switch" they talked about. I just hope he and the others involved get the proper support. Taking a life is never an easy thing to do. May god keep you all safe.

Rick @ 8/9/2011 6:48 PM

This is what CCW licenses are all about. Out here in CA, i'm defenseless walking around, although I am a former tactical officer with the US Coast Guard. National reciprocity would go a long ways at reducing crime through voluntary compliance or compulsary compliance in case the perp wants to commit the crime in the face of an armed populace.

FranKD @ 8/9/2011 7:23 PM

If the Obama Administration had their way we would be walking around defenseless. Great story and glad the LEO'd came out on top.

mini28 @ 8/9/2011 8:26 PM

As a LOD injured retired officer, I can relate to this strongly. You never forget training and what to do. I had a situation last week of a convicted felon with a stolen vehicle. All ended well, he went to jail. I'm sorry that all of the innocent lives were lost. May God give them rest. Keith Lavery is still a hero even though he no longer wears the uniform. I hope he and all officers involved will be at peace and knowing they saved others was heroic. All of my brothers and sisters in blue, we retired guys out here will help out whenever we can if possible. I wish you all well and "Be Safe" .

John Wilson @ 8/9/2011 8:37 PM

I am glad to hear the training paid off and the POlice came out on top. Sorry for the lives lost, but think how bad it would have been, if he wasn't there.

Back the blue 210%

Morning Eagle @ 8/10/2011 12:55 AM

Former Officer Lavery is right. The training and experiences never leave as long as you live. The sheep dog never goes all the way to sleep and can awaken on the instant when that switch is activated. He alone of all others in the area this was taking place "did what was necessaryā€¯ and his unhesitating back up of the lone Copley PD officer was "heroic" whether he believes it was or not.

Rick Bonneau @ 8/10/2011 4:39 AM

Congrats to all involved. My heart goes out to the families in loss. This is one of the reasons why the Law Enforcement Officers' Safety Act H.R. 218 and the Law Enforcement Officers' Safety Act Improvements Act S.1132 have so much potential to aid in public protection even after the retired officer fills his or her last shift. As you all have stated so well...Training is deeply engrained never to be forgotten. Lets not waste it. I would like to see more agencies offer annual weapons qualifications to retired L.E. in order to remain in compliance with the above mentioned "Acts". God Bless and have a good day everyone.

Jim Rau @ 8/10/2011 7:04 AM

I have a total of 30+ years in LE and have retired once and am back it now. I tell people "I was not born a cop, but I will die one".

ALL those in LE MUST not allow our RTKABA to be taken away. If you take your job and your oath seriously DO NOT ARREST PEOPLE FOR EXECERSING THEIR RIGHT REGUARDLESS OF THE LAWS IN YOUR JURISTICTION. Thank you Officer Lavery for being there when you were need!!!

scpdblue @ 8/10/2011 7:43 AM

It's a brotherhood that few can understand.,Once a brother in blue always a brother in blue. retired or not, We are the THIN BLUE LINE

Wayne L Chonicki @ 8/10/2011 7:49 AM

While I fully agree with the "once a LEO, a LEO for life..." sentiments, BUT...unless you are WELL-KNOWN as retired LEO by your local juristiction... DO NOT come rushing on-scene with a sidearm drawn! Officers on-scene are operating in crisis-mode, and have only fractions of seconds to assess a potential threat.

Sunday a "shots fired/hostage situation" occurred 4 houses West of my home. Officers from Volusia County FL Sheriff's Office responded en masse, complete with air support. The call turned out to be a false report.

The LAST thing they'd want is a well-intentioned retired officer further complicating an evolving dynamic situation, and possibly being mistakenly shot.

A cool head & common sense is ANY former or present LEO's greatest weapon & asset. Sometimes, little knowledge is a VERY dangerous thing.

But, if you're "first on scene", do what needs done, THEN... picture yourself in the responding Officer's mindset and PLEASE comply with his/her commands. We want EVERYONE to go home that day safe & whole end-of-tour.

Stay safe, God bless our thin blue line.~

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