Whether it was going to be the suspect or one of us was unclear, but potentially fatal none the less.
In this particular situation, we were in a stand off with a subject who felt he had nothing to live for and was very distraught and confused-with a gun.
We were dispatched to a call of a person in an automobile who was unresponsive.
Not knowing what was lying in wait, we went to the call and found the suspect just sitting in a car, with a gun, and (he) was very unstable.
The subject had us all behind cover waiting for what we had no way of knowing was in store for us.
While standing with our weapons out, and an officer trying to talk to the confused yet suicidal subject, I found myself in a position no law enforcement officer wants to be faced with.
Was I, or one of my fellow officers going to have to take a life or lose ours?
For almost an hour, we waited and pleaded with the man to put down the weapon and let us help him.
At one point I saw the man put the gun to his own head and I thought it was over then he put it back in his lap.
Then he turned and put both feet on the ground in a sitting position in the driver's side of the vehicle and then came the clear view of the weapon he had.
As I drew a tight bead through the sites of my pistol, I heard another officer when he said, “God forgive us for what we might have to do.”
Just the sound of his voice felt like someone was pouring cold water down my back, realizing that I was faced with something no officer wants to do and hopes he never has to.
Then I made eye contact with the man in the car. I could see the hurt in his eye and felt some of what he was feeling.
I pray every day that I never have to pull the trigger of my weapon; but if it comes to me or another officer, I can't hesitate. Luckily, he never pointed the weapon at any of us.
Still waiting and hoping we wouldn't have to do what seemed inevitable, the S.W.A.T. team got on the scene and was able to get a pepper spray projectile into the vehicle, causing the man to drop his weapon; and (he) was taken without anyone getting hurt.
It's at a time like this that you start rethinking your life. Thank you God for patient officers and the Lafayette S.W.A.T. team, and for another day to live.
From a bird's eye point of view, I am proud to have fellow officers who are as caring and cautious as they are. That always means a lot.
I write this letter to let the public know that we are here to save lives, not take them.
Detective Bennie Hudgens Macon County Sheriff's Department