KCBD INVESTIGATES: Shoot or don't shoot, would you have what it takes?

KCBD INVESTIGATES: Shoot or don't shoot, would you have what it takes?

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Across the nation, a debate is underway as people second guess the use of lethal force by police.

This comes after incidents where officers have been accused of shooting unarmed men like Michael Brown in Missouri of last year, Walter Scott in South Carolina just this past April, and Spencer Lee McCain in Baltimore in June.

With the help of the Lubbock County Sheriff's office, we arranged a series of real life scenarios to see how civilians would react in the face of danger.

KCBD NewsChannel 11's General Manager Dan Jackson, Lubbock County Commissioner Bubba Sedeno, and Lubbock Defense Attorney Dwight McDonald agreed to take on the role of officers on patrol.

We recreated actual officer-involved shooting scenarios at the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office Firearms Training Facility.

The men found themselves in life or death situations where they had to decide in a split second whether to shoot.

"This is your basic Glock," said Lieutenant Anthony Castillo with the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office, as he equipped each man with a gun modified to shoot paintball rounds.

The various scenarios were explained to the men and they were given a taser and a face mask.

"Range is hot, range is hot!" Lt. Castillo shouted as Jackson exited the training room.

Jackson approached three suspects fighting.

"Hey, hey! Stop, stop! Hands in the air guys, on your knees!" Jackson shouted.

It took only seconds for one of the suspect's to pull out the modified Glock and shoot Jackson multiple times in the chest.

Afterward, Lt. Castillo debriefed with Jackson and explained that often times, officers are not given a whole lot of information when they arrive on scene.

"How did that go for you the first round?" Lt. Castillo asked Jackson.

"It was a bad situation, it got worse quickly. I couldn't draw my gun before I had holes in me," Jackson said.

The men also had an opportunity to try a traffic stop.

"Sir, get back in your car! Sir, get back in your car!" McDonald yelled as the suspect approached his vehicle quickly and began firing several rounds.

"The traffic stop for me was the most difficult one because I knew something was going to happen, I just didn't know what," McDonald said.

And officers do not know what they are going to face when they are on the job.

In January, an Albuquerque police officer was shot as he walked up to a car during a traffic stop. Thirteen rounds were exchanged in the scuffle. The officer survived.

McDonald had no idea he was about to be put in that same scenario.

"Good evening, ma'am," he said as he approached the driver of the vehicle he had just pulled over.

Before he could even ask for her license and registration, she had fired multiple rounds, hitting McDonald several times in the chest.

"You know, I got shot eight times today on a traffic stop," McDonald said afterward.

"You never know what's going to happen when you pull someone over," Lt. Castillo said.

Lubbock County Commissioner Bubba Sedeno didn't fare much better.

"I got probably two lives left if I was a cat," Sedeno said.

In multiple scenarios, Sedeno did not see it coming and was hit several times before he drew his gun

"I wasn't cut out to be a law enforcement officer and I'm glad these guys are dedicated to their job," Sedeno said as he looked at the paint covering his clothes.

Split second decisions that could make the difference between life and death

McDonald said he never questioned officers using lethal force, but has asked whether it was justified. After these scenarios, he questioned his own decisions.

"Today, I shot a guy who was unarmed," McDonald said. "That's hard to explain."

"I have respect for the fact that there is tremendous information that comes their way that they have to process and they don't get a do over, you don't get a do over in this deal," McDonald said.

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