Some people have been leaving comments on my site asking if lethal force was justified in the police shooting of Christopher Penley. Maybe this article will answer some of those questions…
Mike Weippert received the Purple Heart after he was stabbed in the line of duty and needed more than 200 stitches on his face. Ten years later, Weippert is again being attacked, this time for his use of lethal force on a 15-year-old student.
“Twenty years on sheriff’s office, 17 years on SWAT. It’s a difficult situation for a lot of people,” said Sheriff Don Eslinger.
The decorated SWAT member, who volunteered to talk with elementary and middle schools, isn’t talking. But others are wondering out loud, why not a Taser instead of a gun?
“I understand the distance wasn’t conducive to the utilization of a Taser and, plus, when I guess a firearm is pointed, a Taser is not necessarily the most appropriate means to deal with that,” Sheriff Eslinger said.
Now I’m not a cop but think about it. Christopher Penley brandished an authentic looking gun. Before the standoff with police, he had held another student hostage. Then when confronted by police he held the gun to his own head then raised it at police like he was going to fire. The police had no way of knowing if the gun was real or not even if Christopher Penley’s father did get word to them. His dad can say it’s a fake but there’s no real way of knowing until the weapon is in police hands. And even if the distance was conducive to using a taser if an officer used a taser on an armed subject there’s no way to guarantee the suspect wouldn’t pull the trigger firing wildly.
It was an unfortunate and tragic incident but I think the police did the best job they could.