Longo Explains Shifflett Shooting

With the state police investigation into the police shooting of Elvis Shifflett wrapped up, Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo is free to explain what happened on that day, as The Hook reports.

An officer saw Shifflett lying sidewise in the cab of a flatbed wrecker and ordered him to show his hands. He sat up and aimed his hands at the officer, as if holding a gun. Believing Shifflett to be armed, the officer shouted a warning to fellow officers, but did not open fire. Shifflett started the truck and jammed down the accelerator so fast that it fishtailed. Another officer then opened fire with his rifle, hitting Shifflett with two rounds from his .223. Another officer shot out one of the wrecker’s tires. It was then that Shifflett was taken into custody.

This no longer sounds to me like a case of police shooting an unarmed man. Sounds to me like Shifflett was driving several tons of weapon, and the officers were acting in prudent self-defense.

13 Responses to “Longo Explains Shifflett Shooting”

  • Precisely Waldo. Of course some lawyer will take the case and make the cops life a further hell. Longo explained the deal well I believe.

  • Sounds to me like Shifflett was driving several tons of weapon, and the officers were acting in prudent self-defense.

    Of course, we’ve only heard one side of the story. In a case like this, with two cops and one criminal being the only witnesses, did anybody really expect any other outcome from this investigation?

    I’m curious – was Shifflett driving the truck toward or away from the officers?

  • Who is ever going to hold the Hook accountable for their reporting of facts based on listen to a scanner? Sounds like they were trying to create their own news just to be able to have something “exclusive” to report. Journalism will never be the same.

    Thanks for including the SPCA adoptable pets…that’s a great public service.

  • Who is ever going to hold the Hook accountable for their reporting of facts based on listen to a scanner?

    Perhaps I’m just revealing my own ignorance here, but what’s wrong with that? If the police make statements about a situation over a scanner (such as the caliber of gun used), is there something untrustworthy or insubstantial about that?

    Thanks for including the SPCA adoptable pets…that’s a great public service.

    Hey, I just like looking at pictures of cute animals. :)

  • In journalism that is typically never reported, just hearsay. Kind of a rule of thumb. And this time, none of it turned out to be true.

  • Big Al beat me to the question: which way was he driving that “weapon”?

    As a motorcyclist, pedestrian (and cyclist), and gun owner, I’ve often marvelled at the incompetence we tolerate in poor driving (unless it’s alcohol induced) with our lousy licensing standards – it’s “OK” if you’re an over-tired soccer mom in an SUV, but not if you’re a single guy out hunting. Either way the victim is just as dead.

    My agreement that a big truck can be a lethal weapon notwithstanding, whether it is one or not depends on the direction it’s being pointed. Fishtailing by itself is not a sine qua non of lethal intent. I can tell you from personal experience you can dodge a vehicle, particularly when you’re focused on it. Not so much a gun & bullets (where you depend on lousy aim of the shooter). Yeah, an investigation by police of other police – no unbiased observers…what do you expect. I still don’t believe this was necessary – they just were pissed he might get away, and evidently in the officers’ judgment he was such a threat to our community that he had to be shot to prevent escape – better off killing him than letting him get away. Is this Hannibal Lector or even the Serial Rapist being pursued?

    At least they only sicced the dogs on Antwan Carter – interestingly, he appears to have been armed. Of course, he hadn’t eluded the police for days.

  • Scary vehicle is the standard police excuse these days so it’s a little suspicious, though I wouldn’t jump to many conclusions. But from what I’ve read (in the MSM!) any driving in any direction is called a “threat.” That started after a long ago Supreme Court decision stated that they can’t shoot fleeing suspects in the back. (AFAIK, they can threaten to do so though!)

    As for the Hook, they’ll publish anything. They like to pluck people’s names out of documents and make unfounded accusations. Courtney Stuart go to hell.

  • According to the report on the Hook’s blog, “Nearby, Sergeant Davis heard Richardson’s alert and as Shifflett started the truck and began to back it up rapidly, fishtailing in the process.” This would SEEM to imply that he was trying to back away from the cops, not run them over.

  • I don’t see why it even matters which way he was driving the truck. Shifflet deliberately gave the officers reason to think that he was armed and dangerous, he was a fugitive from justice and he was wanted for a violent crime. Even if he was trying to drive away, they did the right thing by shooting to stop him.

    If this was just a guy who might have had a gun and was trying to run away then I wouldn’t see shooting as justified. But that’s not all that this was. This was a guy who had already committed a violent crime using a firearm. I’m glad that they shot him and I’m glad that he survived the shooting so that he can stand trial. Those police officers made the right decision under pressure and Tim Longo should be proud of them.

    By the way, there is nothing really special about a .223 except that it’s kind of a pissant little round by a lot of people’s standards. That is the cartridge fired by the M-16, the AR-15, the Ruger Mini 14 and about a million different varmint rifles (made for small game like groundhogs and prarie dogs). It’s too small to legally use on deer in Virginia. Whether that .223 bullet comes out of an AR-15 or a single shot varminting rifle it’s the same bullet travelling at the same velocity and will do the same damage. Aside from the automatic capability of the M-16, all of the bells and whistles on the M-16 and the AR-15 essentially amount to conveniences and cosmetics. High capacity magazines, muzzlebrakes and black plastic stocks do not make the bullet kill somebody any deader than otherwise. In no sense were the police going out there over-gunned. If anything, the .223 cartridge is a little light for a life-or-death situation.

  • Like Jack, I did not think that the driving of the (stolen) truck was the issue–I understood the issue to be that he didn’t show his hands when instructed to show his hands. Shifflett family and friends are making much of the fact that Shifflett’s girlfriend told the cops that he was unarmed, but I don’t blame them for putting 0% stock in that claim–if I were a cop, the only assurance I would accept would be hands held high.

  • If anything, the .223 cartridge is a little light for a life-or-death situation.

    I know very little about guns and ammo, but unless I’m mistaken our military used to expect to win wars with .223 ammunition. A .223 can do plenty of damage – worked just fine for the Beltway Snipers, after all.

  • Big Al,

    I can’t think of a single ground war that we’ve won with .223. It was introduced in Vietnam and we all know what happened there. Now we’re using it in Iraq (and losing the war) and the troops hate it. Quite often they have to shoot a guy 4 or 5 times with .223 before he stays down and stops shooting back. Ask any Vietnnam vet how he feels about the M16 versus its predecessor, the M14 and you will usually hear a long string of obscenities. Every American solider in Iraq who can possibly get his hands on an old M14 chambered in .308 Winchester is fighting with those instead. The problem has become so serious that the Pentagon ordered the development of a new, modern stock called the ‘Socom’ which allows modern scopes, red dots and other apparatus to be mounted on these 50 year old rifles that are being taken out of storage and made ready for battle as quickly as possible.

    Any bullet can theoretically kill if it is placed just right and hits within it’s effective range. Just last night I read about someone killing a cape buffalo with a .22 hornet that just happened to go right through the eye. That doesn’t mean it’s a smart idea to go hunting cape buffalo with a .22 caliber pop-gun. So it is with .223 – a caliber which you will note is only three 100ths of an inch wider than the lowly .22 long rifle cartridge. Even a blind pig finds an acorn now and then.

    .223 is a peacetime cartridge. A great round when all you are worried about is cutting the costs of manufacturing and transporting ammunition by reducing the weight of each round as much as possible. Which is pretty much what Sec. Def. Robert McNamara (who ordered up the .223 and the M16) was all about. Ignoring the human aspect of war and running it like a business. Cutting the overhead. Once you actually find yourself in a life or death situation where one round needs to put the opponent down before he shoots you even if your shot is poorly placed, the .223 starts to look pretty sorry. This is why so many special warfare troops and increasingly law enforcement agencies have moved towards using .308 Winchester.

    I think that Tim Longo does a great job as chief of police and clearly he gets good results. But if it were me buying the hardware, I’d have outfitted the force with AR-15s in .308 rather than .223.

  • And to read a “Hook” blog and feel confident enough to make a judgement call about the direction a car is “fishtailing” is a stretch. The fact of the matter is that police said that it starting in reverse and then went forward a rapid rate of spead. Keep in mind the Hook said he was shot with an M-16, was shot 8 times and two people went to the hospital. Not really reliable.

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