Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Unusual Police Shooting in Oakland

The San Francisco Chronicle has a report of an incredible police shooting in Oakland, incredible for several reasons.

Colin Todd, 41, of Alameda was booked on suspicion of attempted murder and felony evading police in connection with the chaotic incident on Interstate 880 that unfolded over the course of nearly eight hours Sunday.

Todd was pulled over by two officers about 3:45 a.m. on northbound Interstate 880 near the 66th Avenue off-ramp because he appeared to be driving erratically, said Officer Jeff Thomason, a police spokesman.

Todd came out of his flatbed truck and opened fire with a shotgun, hitting one of the officers in the foot and disabling their patrol cruiser.

Another officer returned fire, but Todd got back into the truck and drove north on I-880 before crashing and flipping it onto its side between High Street and 29th Avenue.

Todd ran from the truck but was found on the 800 block of 35th Avenue near East Ninth Street at 11:25 a.m., police said. SWAT officers shot him with a bean-bag weapon, arrested him and took him to Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. It was the fifth officer-involved shooting in Oakland this year.

Honestly, if a guy shoots a cop in the foot with a shotgun and the other cop blows him away, I'd call that legitimate. The fact that the other cop didn't blow him away is the first incredible part of this story.

But the SWAT team using a "bean-bag weapon" takes the cake. I've heard of rubber bullets, but this bean-bag thing is a new one on me. My first thought was, "only in California." These SWAT team members are probably the children of Haight-Ashbury hippies who were raised on the Grateful Dead music. Of course they use "bean-bag weapons."

My second thought was more serious. What does this say about all the other incidents of trigger happy cops shooting people dead. Many people from the East Coast like to poke fun at California for being so trendy, but maybe this is an example others could learn from.

What's your opinion? Do you find this story a bit of a departure from the usual police shooting? One way to look at it is even shooting a cop in the foot is not a capital offense. My hat's off to the Oakland cops and SWAT team.

Please leave a comment.


  1. The story doesn't say whether or not the guy was still armed after he flipped his rig and ran.

    If he was unarmed, then non lethal force would be called for to subdue him.

    And bean-bag rounds have been around for quite awhile.

    Shotgun rounds are the most versitle of the bunch.

    Slugs, bird shot, buck shot, bean bag, flechetes etc.

    In reality, you can fill a shotgun round with anything smaller than the diameter of the bore.

  2. Google is your friend.

    (For that matter, if it's a common piece of ammunition, WikiPedia mentions it somewhere.)


    As to the decision to use that type of ammo, I suspect that the officers on the scene either
    (a) had it ready and used it because it was available and they needed quick action, or
    (b) had time to decide, and decided that it was better than the other options.

    For more enlightenment, see the "Use" section of the above-mentioned Wikipedia article.

  3. But the SWAT team using a "bean-bag weapon" takes the cake. I've heard of rubber bullets, but this bean-bag thing is a new one on me.

    Please don't be offended by this, but if you are going to host a blog specifically about "guns" (among other things), and you've NEVER heard of bean bag rounds, you should reconsider your area of discussion.

    Now that I think of it, most of your arguments do seem to derive from ignorance of guns and/or gun laws.

  4. Beanbag rounds are known as "less lethal" rather than nonlethal. I am unaware of any reasonably effective weapon that is 100% non-lethal. The situations where they are both effective and legal to use are narrow. They are not an alternative to guns in all that many situations.

    I thought you were against tasers--these are very similar, except probably a bit more dangerous.

  5. I'm not offended, TomB. Nor am I claiming to be an expert on guns and ammo.

    Sevesteen, You're right I am against tasers because they seem to be abused too often by the police. If these bean-bags start coming up as torture devices, you know shooting the guy while he's handcuffed and all that, then I'll probably be against them too.

  6. "I'm not offended, TomB. Nor am I claiming to be an expert on guns and ammo."

    Heh, anti-gun advocate who blogs about NOTHING but guns and the restrictions that should be imposed admits he knows virtually nothing about them.

    This is brought to you by the same people who think a government lawyer should decide what health care you shall receive and what you shouldn't.


    Thankfully MikeB's pet political issue is a lost cause and the 2nd Amendment fight is now just the long hard road to reverse the damage done in previous years.

    Meanwhile Lawyers manipulating doctors via funding is very real right now.

  7. Weer'd, No one manipulates like you, pal.

    I said I'm not "an expert on guns and ammo."

    You paraphrased me like this.

    "admits he knows virtually nothing about them."

    Is that the same standard of honesty that you hold yourself to in real life? Or, do you allow yourself some leeway on the internet when arguing with "the enemy?"