No more than two seconds went by between the time an officer announced his presence to Bryant Heyward suffering a shot that could have killed him.
Last week, Heyward called 911 to report that he thought his mother’s home was being robbed. A Charleston County, South Carolina officer Keith Tyner was dispatched and approached Heyward’s mother’s home. Tyner reportedly saw Heyward exit the back of the home carrying his .40-caliber pistol and ordered that Heyward show his hands two times. Then Tyner fired twice.
The time that elapsed between the officer ordering Heyward to show his hands and the officer shooting Heyward was only 1.1 seconds according to the Charleston Post and Courier.
“I should have dropped the gun, but I didn’t,” Heyward said in an interview after the incident. “He [Tyner] thought I was the crook.”
According to an analysis published at Cleveland.com though, there are several steps an officer should take when encountering and armed potential suspect, which would have been very hard to have performed in the 1.1 seconds Tyner allowed Heyward before opening fire.
According to the report:
When approaching someone who’s either holding a gun or indicating that they have one, police are trained to first take cover at a safe distance and create a barrier between themselves and the other person. This usually means ducking behind the police cruiser or a building.
Next, officers should draw their weapons and command the suspect to drop their gun and get on the ground. The dialogue that happens between an office and the suspect is what some experts call the most important aspects of police work.
Based on the video and various reports, it does not seem that any of these steps occurred in the case of Mr. Heyward.
Tyner is currently on paid leave, pending an investigation into the incident.