“Charge a gun, run from a knife.” This questionable aphorism has been attributed to Jimmy Hoffa, although some accounts suggest that Hoffa’s would-be assassin was armed only with a BB gun.
A mentally disturbed 42 year-old Colorado man may or may not have been committing suicide by cop, but he learned either way that Hoffa’s Rule doesn’t apply to SWAT police with ballistic shields and AR-15s.
Police had received reports of a threatening man outside the Wimbledon Condominiums, armed with a knife and machete, and another concerned call from the mother of a female resident.
From the Denver Post:
Police put together an entry team of four officers and knocked on the door of the apartment and, when they got no response, forced it opened, officials said.
Once the door was open, but before police entered the condo, Habay ran toward the first officer while holding a knife in each of his hands, officials said. According to a statement from Boulder police, several commands to “get down” and possibly “drop the knife” were given to [Michael] Habay.
One of the officers had to deflect Habay with his ballistic shield, and Habay then ran toward Officer Vincent Gallerani, officials said. Gallerani was unable to retreat in time and fired three shots at close range, hitting Habay at least twice.
Habay was pronounced dead at the hospital soon after.
William Habay, the father of the deceased, angrily described the shooting as an unjustifiable murder. “He had knives, they had rifles,” he said. “That’s murder.”
I can only imagine the elder Habay’s grief, but his son’s death certainly doesn’t fall into the category of ‘questionable police shootings.’ The younger Habay charged an armed police entry team with two fighting knives, and actually made contact before being shot.
Forced entries aren’t supposed to go down this way, but I’ll let LEO readers comment on the tactical aspects here. If that first entry team member hadn’t had a ballistic shield, he would have had to kill Habay himself or possibly die trying.
The moral of the story? Don’t charge a SWAT team.