We’ve seen the first-person cell phone video of the Powell confrontation with police in St. Louis a couple of days ago that ended with him getting shot and killed.

There is much to be learned from the video, including what can go wrong afterwards.  (Language and graphic content warning).


The video starts with a gentleman walking on the sidewalk approaching Mr. Powell who is walking around, agitated.  Yes, we know the videographer apparently can’t put a sentence together without at least one profane word.

Hint:  You see someone walking around agitated or worse yet, agitated without a sense of purpose in where they are going/what they are doing, that should put you at a heightened state of awareness.  Put distance and obstacles between yourself and the suspicious individual.

Around :35 in the video, we’re treated to a close-in shot of Mr. Powell.

At :47 Mr. Powell says, “Get the f*** away from me” twice.  Then he says, “I’m on Instagram.  I’m on Facebook.  You know who I am?  Huh?”

Hint:  If someone says “Get the f away from me,” that’s a clue.  Get away from them if you aren’t already.

Hint:  If you see someone talking like a lunatic, they might be a lunatic.  Treat them like a lunatic.  Stay away from them.  Put distance between yourself and them.  Distance gives you time.  Time gives you options.  Options mean safety.

The police roll into the screen at 1:15, and pull up to Mr. Powell at 1:25 and immediately begin commanding him to take his hands out of his pockets.

Mr. Powell advances aggressively on the cops, showing a knife in his hand and  yelling, “Shoot me!”  At least twice.  And then

Meanwhile the cops tell him to drop the knife repeatedly.  He stops advancing and moves laterally and retreats just a bit.  He’s still telling the cops to shoot him.  “Shoot me motherf******!” he shouts.

He advances again and the cops tell him to drop the knife a couple of more times before they both opened up on him.

Note how five of the cops’ shots occurred as the suspect was on the ground.  In a critical incident, it takes about six-tenths of a second once you’ve registered the aggressor is no longer a threat before the brain’s “command” reaches your trigger finger (thank you Dr. Alexis Artwohl).  To the untrained eye, those shots might appear gratuitous.  In reality, it takes time for the mind and body to react to a stimulus.


Now, place yourself in this scenario.  You parked your car with your wife and kids.  You and your wife have gotten out to take your kids out of their child safety seats in the back seat and some agitated young man makes eye contact and begins advancing towards you.  You don’t know what he wants, but he starts shouting at you.

He’s approaching your wife’s side of the vehicle.  Getting back in and backing away isn’t an option as your wife is exposed and vulnerable.  You tell the young man to stay back and show you his hands.  He pulls his hands out of his pocket and he’s got a knife.  He says, “f*** you!” to your command.

You draw down on him as he’s getting close – easily within 21′ and his demeanor continues to be very aggressive.  You tell him to drop the knife a couple of times then you start shooting.

Of course, some local guy has his smartphone out, recording when he hears the yelling.


Back the video:  Powell is shot at 1:39-1:42ish.

Even before the shots are over, our videographer is saying “They just kilt this man!”

Off in the background you can hear some guy saying, “They shot him!”

Not thirty seconds later, bystanders are already yelling at the cops.  Do you think if you, as a white guy CCW holder, just shot a black guy who was criminally attacking you, the outcome would be any different in that scenario?

A minute and ten seconds after Mr. Powell is shot, the videographer says, “He didn’t even have a gun on him!”

Additional police units roll up about a minute after shots were fired.

Two minutes after the shots were fired, the videographer was telling those around him, “He didn’t even have a gun or nuthin’!”

Sorry, Snowflake, a knife is a deadly weapon.  Advancing aggressively with a knife in close proximity to the innocent (21′ Rule, but any reasonable distance would count) is considered deadly force.

“They coulda tased that man and they shot and kilt that man!” the videographer says.

Someone next to him shouts, “They just shot this man (unintelligble) in the motherf***in’ face!  The motherf***in’ po-lease!”

“Over two sodas, ya’all!” the videographer says to those around him.


Put yourself in that spot.

You just shot some aggressive predatory thug, shouting like a lunatic with a knife, advancing on your and your family while you’re telling him to drop the knife while you’re pointing your gun at him.

Two minutes later, the “witnesses” who share the same racial demographic as the dead perp, are now turning very hostile on you.  What do you do?  Unlike the cops, you don’t have a police radio to call for help.

Hint:  You better have a plan, because a failure to plan is a plan to fail.


They want justice…  and you’re it!

Three minutes after you fired the shots, multiple angry black males are screaming that they want “justice” and you’re the sacrifice they are demanding for this perceived slight against their community.  They are coming out of the woodwork, so to speak, menacing you to say the least.  They continue to shout threats and advance aggressively.

You fired four or five shots from your little Ruger LCP – after all, it’s the gun you carry when you aren’t carrying a gun so to speak – and you know you have maybe two or three shots left.  You look around and see all of the angry blacks and you’re not feeling real lucky at this moment.

What do you do?

That’s up to you.

All we know is that this video clip is worth watching to learn to avoid finding yourself in this situation and if you do,  how you may have to handle your post-shooting interventions with the environment is less than friendly and supportive.


We wouldn’t be surprised if YouTube took the video down, so we’ve downloaded it and have it available in mp4 format and will put it up as time permits.


5 thoughts on “SELF-DEFENSE / POWELL SHOOTING VIDEO: Lessons to be learned for the armed civilian”
  1. This was a “bad shoot” after shot four was fired. The next 5 shots were fired when the guy was falling down on the ground and was no longer a threat. These cops should have done what “most” police departments teach their officers to do, and that is to shoot a couple (in this case apparently four is a couple) and RE-EVALUATE the situation to see if more shots are required. The man “may” have lived if they stopped shooting after the 4th shot. From shots one through four, the man was still standing and was possibly still a threat but not after that 4th shot was fired. Today’s cops are way too trigger happy and poorly trained. This departments firearms instructor is equally responsible for what they did because he failed to get it into their heads that ‘DEADLY FORCE IS ALWAYS A LAST RESORT” The officers should be sent back along with the instructor for more in depth training on the use of deadly force. I wouldn’t charge them with anything criminal but the DA might want to take a look at it. If they and the departments gets sued in a Civil Court, they asked for it. In my opinion, they fired 5 shots they never should have fired at that man. If ANY cops watched this video and saw what I saw and it was their son that was shot, they would agree with me and be extremely upset.

    1. I disagree. This man was obviously a threat to society and the police officers. As far as I’m concerned I would have done the same thing. In response to the article, I think I would at least have a spare mag in the car which i would lock myself and family in until police arrived. When i hear them coming I would step out of the car with hands up weapon holstered.

    2. Right, we cops are trigger happy lunatics that just love shooting people. We love internal investigations, interviews with lawyers, supervisors, and crime scene investigators. We love being put on administrative suspention. We love getting our ass sued off regardless of whether or not it was ruled a justifiable homicide.

      Those officers should of waited until that perp plunged three inches of steel into their chests before shooting. They should of “Shot him in the leg” or “Used the taser”. Even though tasers don’t work everytime.

      The reason that officer shot additional rounds after he fell was because during stressful situations, tunnel vision sets in, adrinaline floods the blood stream, and it takes a little longer for the brain to “tell the finger” to stop squeezing the trigger.

      Lets focus on the perp being crazy and not listening to officers verbal commands; instead of the officer using justified deadly force.

      The perp got exactly what he deserved.

    3. Since your an idiot and cant comprehend what you just read, I’ll copy & past for you…..!!
      “Note how five of the cops’ shots occurred as the suspect was on the ground. In a critical incident, it takes about six-tenths of a second once you’ve registered the aggressor is no longer a threat before the brain’s “command” reaches your trigger finger (thank you Dr. Alexis Artwohl). To the untrained eye, those shots might appear gratuitous. In reality, it takes time for the mind and body to react to a stimulus.”

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