Today, Hendrix routinely shares his experience that day with academy cadets, as well as his feelings on what things he would have done differently.
“I was carrying a five-shot revolver,” Hendrix says. “None of the trainees that I have spoken to will carry one of those as their primary off-duty weapon. Five shots is simply not enough.”
Hendrix also explains to new recruits the difference between shooting on a range and shooting to save your own life.
“I’m shooting five shots, and people think that it’s easy to place those rounds where you want them. But when you’re taking fire-and worse, when your body’s taking rounds-you’re putting yourself behind the eight ball the moment you engage with a limited number of low velocity rounds and your suspect isn’t so hamstrung. You need to carry a larger caliber firearm with greater round capacity.
“I hit the suspect four out of five shots, and I think that’s very good after being hit as many times as I was and returning fire while he was shooting at me and from a distance of 31 feet. But a larger caliber gun, with its longer barrel and better sights, also allows for greater accuracy.”
Hendrix has only one other regret-not taking advantage of cover sooner.
“I should have been behind that pillar as soon as possible,” he says.
Nonetheless, Hendrix’s heroic actions brought a lot of positive recognition for law enforcement because of the outcome and the circumstances. He was chosen as Officer of the Year for the entire United States, the Police Hall of Fame. He also received the Frank Bland Medal of Valor, the highest medal of valor that one person can receive from his department. And the Hall of Fame awarded him a silver star and a purple heart.
He also continues to serve the citizens of San Bernardino County.
November 19, 2009 | by Dean Scoville