So, meet Karsten Cuthair, who looks like he’s in pain. He’s in pain because he just got shot. The dry facts of his shooting are recounted in this news story about his indictment in the Las Cruces, NM Sun-News.
Shortly after 11:30 p.m. Nov. 14, two NMSU police officers, including Officer Jarod Colliver, were dispatched to the Chamisa II Village Apartments, an on-campus housing complex.
The indictment alleges that Cuthair was assaulting another NMSU student who lived in the complex with a Glock 9mm handgun.
Footage from Colliver’s body camera shows that when he made contact with Cuthair, he commanded Cuthair to drop the gun. “Instead, (Cuthair) allegedly turned toward the officer and pointed the gun at him,” the indictment reads.
New Mexico State University Police Officer Jarrod Colliver, responding to 911 calls of a man with a gun at a campus apartment complex, fired two shots, one striking student Karsten Cuthair, 28, in the right leg. Cuthair survived.
That’s a very, very dry recounting of the story. Let’s watch it in detail. We think the lead up matters, but it’s just cops in corridors until about 1:15 in this ~4 minute video.
Some impressions we had:
- That cop had very little time to make his shot before he was back behind cover. But he hit his target.
- Compare the dry text of the report (“turned toward the officer and pointed the gun at him… Officer Colliver fires two shots”), that sounds like it happened with all deliberation, like a chess match, with the speed in which the whole thing actually went down, on the video. No time for complete sentences or punctuation in the actual event, was there?
- There’s a long lead up to the shooting and a bunch of stairs. So Colliver’s heart rate was up before the shooting began.
- Compare that dry text again to the uncertainty of the encounter. Was that a gun? (It was). Did the cop hit the suspect? (He did). Is the injury serious? (It was).
- One question not worth asking till the situation’s under control: Why? Indeed, that doesn’t seem to be answered at all. In a defensive firearms use, it’s all about the what; there is no time for why.
- Some people disparage campus cops, kind of the same way some LEOs disparage armed citizens. Felons are remarkably indifferent to what the lettering on a cop’s badge says. They’re equal-opportunity cop killers. Fortunately, bullets stop them just the same, no matter who’s behind the gun. Felons are also equal-opportunity bullet magnets.
- Cuthair does not seem to have set out with the intent to commit felonies and get shot for it. It seems as if this was nuclear mismanagement of some interpersonal situation, in the megaton range.
- Cuthair was compliant after being shot, but seemed… sluggish. Along with his original position, supine against the corridor wall, this makes us inclined to suspect Judgment Juice. In his case, maybe, combined with some Native American ancestry? Make your Injuns and Firewater and Firesticks jokes in the comments if you like, but it’s a real thing that some individuals and some entire races have problems metabolizing ethanol. We’d bet he can’t even recollect the incident clearly.
- The questions Cuthair asks also make him sound drunk. “We’re on the third floor, right…?” and “Who’s in command?”
- Note the cop, once he realized that Cuthair really was shot, and was shot high in the thigh, trying to deploy a tourniquet. Someone in his department has been keeping up to date. (Still, it wasn’t an arterial bleeder, or Cuthair might have been a goner). There are some new TQs and other devices coming for dealing with high-extremity and even groin and torso wounds, but they’re probably too specialized for the individual soldier or law officer to carry — something for your medic’s bag.
- Finally, everybody’s got Glocks… cops, suspect. You can’t get away from the Tupperware Tribbles.
And, is it just our impression, but this seems like an old No-Tell Motel or something; maybe it’s our New England snobbery or something, but it looks like a beastly place to go to college.
Cuthair was booked into the Doña Ana County jail on Nov. 18 after he was released from University Medical Center in El Paso, jail records show.
He was indicted in December on two counts of assault d/w (one against a PO, and one general) and a few related misdemeanors. Maybe the why will come out at trial. We’re glad he lived, but we’re more glad he didn’t shoot the cop or anybody else.
Act like a jerk with a gun, and you’re asking to get shot. If you’re lucky, you live to go to jail.
Hat tip, old blog friend Chris Hernandez, author of the great Afghanistan novel, Proof of Our Resolve. (Update: Dang. We’re sure Chris’s blog led us to this, but can’t find it on Chris’s blog now. -Ed).