Shots Fired: Palm Desert, California — 03•30•1996

You’re Making it My Problem

Hendrix’s hand went to the snub-nosed Smith & Wesson.

Model 36, five-shot revolver he’d stashed in his back pocket while inside the store. Pulling it out, he adopted a Weaver stance and took aim at the suspect. For the benefit of all present, Hendrix loudly identified himself as a police officer.

With Hendrix’s announcement, the suspect — Robert Ripley — swung the female between himself and Hendrix. The male hostage took advantage of the distraction to dive onto the ground.

Hendrix couldn’t believe how quickly things were evolving — and not necessarily for the better. He’d succeeded in stopping the gunman from firing into the man’s head, but now another nightmare was playing out: The man was holding a female hostage as a shield and preventing Hendrix from getting a clear shot.

Further complicating Hendrix’s situation was all manner of seemingly clueless people walking around them, between them, and behind the suspect. Hendrix had a clear shot on everyone but the suspect. Figuring the oblivious throng about them was a lost cause, Hendrix tried to reason with the man, advising him again that he was a cop and asking him to put the weapon down.

“It’s not your problem!” Ripley yelled.

Hendrix wished it wasn’t.

“But you’re making it my problem,” Hendrix told Ripley. “I can’t just let you shoot these people. This is not the way to handle this.”

Author: Greg Raven

Trained with Chuck Taylor. What else is there to know?