Self-defense and 911 reality
October 21, 11:44 AM Austin Gun Rights Examiner Howard Nemerov
Jorge Guzman locked himself in his bedroom, called 911, and waited for help while a home invader prowled around in his home. Armed with his handgun, the emergency operator told him repeatedly that help was on the way. As the minutes dragged on like hours to a frightened Guzman, he was told to put down his gun because the next person he saw would be a deputy. He almost complied, which may have drastically changed the outcome.
Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far. – Theodore Roosevelt
KHOU carries the entire 911 recording. A frightened Guzman is speaking so quietly–the intruder is already inside–that the operate asks him to repeat himself many times.
After 90 seconds, she transfers him to a dispatcher, who asks him to describe his property and where he is in the house. The dispatcher then asks the same questions as the operator. Four minutes and 45 seconds into the tape, the dispatcher finally tells him help is on the way.
In the next minute, she tells him 6 times that deputies are “right down the street.” At this point, Guzman tells her the invader is trying to open his bedroom door. Nearly 7 minutes into the tape, she tells him “they [deputies] are right outside” and to put his gun down.
Thirty seconds later, she assures him: “If you hear something outside, it’s gonna be the deputy.” At eight minutes, she tells him there are “four deputies outside your house” and assures him a second time they are outside.
Nine minutes into the tape, she assures him again deputies are outside and are looking at his house. About 15-20 seconds later, you hear the bedroom door being broken down, then Guzman shoots the intruder as he enters the bedroom. After that, Guzman’s voice gets louder and clearer, now that he sees the wounded intruder run away.
Eleven minutes into the tape, the deputies are still outside the house, and the dispatcher asks Guzman if he discharged his weapon. After that, the dispatcher tells him to stay in his room. (Deputies apprehended the invader, but had not secured the scene and didn’t know if there were additional intruders.)
When Guzman asked to check on his uncle, also in the house, the dispatcher told him to stay in his room because she didn’t want deputies to see him and assume he was another intruder. (Good advice for all of us in this situation.)
Around 15 minutes into the tape, the dispatcher departs from her cool, professional demeanor to comment on an apparent entry delay: “They’re out there for 4 f***in’ minutes and [he] had to shoot the dude because he was comin’ in his room. Deputies out there for 4 minutes and they never got in the house?”
(No donut tomorrow?)
After apprehending two suspects, the dispatcher asks Guzman to “put the gun to the side” so that deputies don’t assume he’s a suspect, and tells Guzman that they know he is still armed. Finally, you hear the deputies shout at Guzman and he tells them he is the owner. Your hear the deputies take control and walk out with him.
The dispatcher is not on scene and doesn’t know anybody’s location. This places additional stress on both the homeowner and deputies: The homeowner didn’t want to shoot a cop, and yet was considered an armed suspect until deputies made a positive identification and secured the crime scene.
As a rightful defender, train smart and pay attention to the situation. You must also remain in control. Had Guzman placed all his trust in the dispatcher’s words and put his gun down, he may have become a statistic.
The only person to blame here is the criminal. The tape makes it clear that even though Guzman was in fear for his life, he did an excellent job. Also, patrol officers are by and large regular folks like us, who just want to survive a dangerous job and go home to their families. (Please, no cop-hating comments below.)
In a follow-up video report by KHOU, Guzman smiles as he listens to a recording of the 911 operator telling him to put his gun down, just before the invader kicked in his bedroom door. KHOU reported that deputies arrested a woman who was apparently driving the getaway car. Finally, KHOU concludes by stating Guzman “is not facing any charges,” though he is living elsewhere until his house is refurbished.
This story had a fairly happy ending. The bad guy got a painful lesson before getting arrested, and no good guys got hurt.
(Note to PETA: Animals were hurt in the making of this story.)